Hi everyone! We have a special guest post for you from Melissa Chambers, author of FALLING FOR FOREVER!
Today, Melissa will be talking about discovering and writing romance. You can also find out more about their book and enter a giveaway at the end!
So often, when I hear romance authors talk about their path to writing, they say they would sneak their mother’s Harlequin novels as preteens and teenagers, or they would ditch class in college to read a new romance novel from their favorite author. They talk about how they have read romance novels since the dawning of their time…and I sink down lower in my chair.
Here’s a secret I don’t tell very often. I read my first romance novel in 2011. It’s true. I would read chick lit like Bridget Jones’s Diary and Sex and the City, but it never would have dawned on me to go purchase a romance novel. I don’t know why, really. I guess I thought they had a stigma attached to them. I can’t really remember now because at this point, it seems impossible for me to not have known about the wonder of the romance novel. But there was a time, and it wasn’t that long ago in the scheme of things.
I finished writing my first book in 2011 and had no idea what to do next. I believe that book would be categorized as chick-lit, but it had strong romantic elements. A friend of mine had a cousin who wrote paranormal romance and was published. She was so kind as to connect me to this writer who pointed me in the direction of the Romance Writers of America which is a large national organization that supports and works to advance the careers of romance writers. This author told me to join, and then to join my local chapter. Again, I wasn’t a romance novelist, so I was skeptical, but thrilled to have the help. I otherwise had no idea help like this existed, and that writers as a whole worked to help each other rather than feel threatened by one another. After I went to my first meeting, I came home and said to my husband, “I think I found my people.”
The next thing I did was go to Barnes and Noble. I went to a section where the book covers resonated with me, what I learned to be the contemporary romance section. I randomly selected four books based solely on title and cute covers: “How to Knit a Wild Bikini” by Christine Ridgeway, “Charlie All Night” by Jennifer Crusie, “Sex, Lies, and Online Dating” by Rachel Gibson, and “He Loves Lucy” by Susan Donovan.
As I dug into these, I studied the patterns…the points of view and how they switched off, not necessarily by chapter but by section. I learned quickly that there was a formula. Boy meets girl. Couple falls in love. Couple breaks up. Couple gets back together and lives happily ever after.
I found that they were good…very good. The characters were complex, and the emotions were intense. They were dealing with some serious issues, too. These books left me feeling contented and heart-warmed…a guaranteed happy ending. I was sold.
It wasn’t long before I started shifting my writing in this direction. I loved the dual points of view. I hadn’t even considered writing that way during my first novel, but I found that it helped me deepen the story from the hero’s journey and make him more relatable. I also started taking advantage of the vast amount of education that was offered in RWA national and in my local chapter, the Music City Romance Writers. From the time I joined RWA to the time I was offered my first publishing contract, four and a half years passed. During that time, I wrote ten novels, read an assortment of craft books, took dozens of workshops, and allowed my work to be critiqued through contests and critique partners.
I’m so glad I discovered this industry! I do love women’s fiction, and as soon as chick-lit comes back around in popularity, I’m not promising you won’t see one of those with my name on it, but romance is definitely my thing.
About the book
Falling for ForeverAuthor: Melissa Chambers
Series: Before Forever #2
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: July 3rd 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | Kobo
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The second Jenna Quigley turns eighteen, she’s headed to L.A. to extend the timer on her fifteen minutes of fame. Too bad her dad made her promise to graduate high school first. Silver lining? Her new school has a serious talent competition with a $25,000 cash prize, which would go a long way in L.A. Jenna’s got plenty of talent—she didn’t almost win America’s Newest Sensation for nothing. But it’ll take everything she’s got to bring down the music nerd with a stick up his butt…no matter how cute he is in those glasses.
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