I went to go take a picture of the most romantic book I own today for Instagram, but guess what? I don’t actually have anything that would be categorized as strictly romance. (Well, until Tuesday when my writer copies for LOVE ON MAIN showed up.) That’s because, while I didn’t always know this, genre romance has rules–a lot of them.
I’d heard this about romance quite a while ago actually. I’d seen Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series referred to as romance and watched as she neatly explained how it is not. So before setting out to write a short love story I knew I needed to make myself familiar with reader expectations. It turns out many a blogger has tackled the subject, so I’m not going to be blowing anyone’s mind here. There are endless opinions about when people should meet, the role of secondary characters, vibes regarding insta-love, how hot is too hot, and a fair amount of heteronormativity in the language being used to describe these must-haves, but the main idea usually came back to the happily ever after.
So I thought okay, no problem. I can do HEA. I actually love happy endings. I’m a proponent of hope. I love love.
But all of this actually turned out to be more difficult than I imagined. You see, I legit hate being boxed in… by anything. Recently, I was talking with friends about those personality tests and there was this line in the supposed description of me, “…rebels against any system that tries to define or explain them.” I mean, this is so true that I even get a little bristled reading that. And that rebellion kept showing up every morning I sat down to write this 10K word sweet love story. I kept veering away from building chemistry or would get distracted by the main character’s fun best friend or get really into the setting. My MC was reluctant to do her own thing, but whyyyy? I needed to know. So I wrote and I wittled. Again and again. Until I had something that kind of fit within the constraints of what a romance story is supposed to be.
I hope readers like complicated, introverted Freddie and her second-chance at love with crush, Austen. I did my best! And honestly, looking back now, challenging myself to write something short and out of my norm was refreshing as hell. 10/10, will recommend!
LOVE ON MAIN is available now through most major retailers. Happy reading, no matter the genre or the rules!