Monday, January 24, 2011

Romancing the Romantic

Sondrae Bennett is a wonderful blogger and friend! Today she's here guest blogging on why she chose Romance! Her novel Arctic Winds has just been released!

Thanks so much for having me Jen!

I get a lot of questions about why I chose to write romance. The truth is I didn’t
choose romance, it chose me.

My fascination with the genre started at an early age. Strung out on pain killers after getting my wisdom teeth removed, my mom, probably tired of me complaining I was bored, handed me the book she had just finished. I still remember it to this day. In fact I think I still have it somewhere. It was a Nora Roberts romance, and I was hooked. I finished it in two days and demanded more. I gobbled down any romance I could find, falling in love with authors such as Julia Quinn, Johanna Lindsey, and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.

There was nothing as magical as picking up a book and immersing myself in the story. I put myself in the place of the heroine. I saw the castles she rode up to and felt her fear as she was captured. I fell in love with the heroes, and cursed the day I reached the last page because I knew my adventure was over. At least until I picked up my next book and fell in love all over again.

It wasn’t until college that I started reading paranormals. I don’t know why it took me so long. I’d been reading fantasy and horror novels before discovering romance. So looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t merge the two together earlier. But once again, I was hooked.

When I first started writing, I was all over the place. I rarely finished what I started and honestly never intended it to be more than a hobby. At least, not until I saw a romance short story contest. The winner would be published as part of an anthology and I knew I had to try. I guess I’d always had the writing dream, I just never thought I could do it, so I’d hidden it away. But once I let myself believe it was possible, there was no going back.

I never did enter the contest. The story I started quickly outgrew the guidelines but I fell in love with my characters and with their story. I had to finish. What I started that day would later become the first draft of my book, ‘Arctic Winds’ and what I hope will be a long career writing the stories I always dreamed of. When I finished that first draft, I knew I had something special. I felt not just a desire, but a need to share the tale with other romance lovers.

I realize now why I was never able to finish my stories. It wasn’t until a contest forced me to sit down and write what I love, romance, that I was able to do it. It’s so important to write with passion and love. So when people ask me why I write romance, I tell them that I love falling in love.

27 comments:

Jess said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Sondrae! I loved hearing that the contest pushed you to try something different--it's inspiring to read about people finding your writing niche!

Jen, thanks for hosting :)

Bee said...

'..I tell them that I love falling in love' - gah! This is so perfect.

Love this post. Romances are such fun :)

Angela Felsted said...

That's so sweet: you love falling in love.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I still have some of my old copies of Kathleen Woodiwiss's novels. I didn't even know about paranormals until I became addicted to YA. :)

salarsenッ said...

This was really edifying for me. I've been contemplating spreading my wings a bit and looking at other genres. But you're right; romance chose me and so did the paranormal. Love, love, love both. So why shouldn't I keep writing them??

Great post.

Matthew Rush said...

I don't really read romance, being a big strong man and everything, but I don't mind a romantic subplot. Nice post, thanks ladies!

LTM said...

Thanks, Sondrae! I agree so much that you have to write what you love! Great post! OK, now I just glanced at what Matt posted above, and I'm *snorting* LOL!!! :D

Carolyn V. said...

Aw!!! I love the falling in love with love! <3 Awesome post.

Meredith said...

Such a great story! I love when everything just clicks and you know what you want to write. Can't wait to read this one!

Ellie said...

Thanks Jen and Sondrae. It was fascinating reading how you came to your chosen genre!

Sondrae Bennett said...

Thank you so much everyone!

Bee, Angela, and Carolyn - who doesn't love falling in love? I think it's why people read romance and probably always will. There's just something magical about a good love story.

Jess- you never know where you're going to find your next inspiration. My current WIP was just supposed to be a writing excersize but the ideas just kept coming.

Salarsen- I do believe sometimes it just clicks and you know it's right. If you love what you write then just keep at it!

Matthew- big strong men can't read romance?

LTM- I snorted a little, too.

Meredith- Thanks! Hope you enjoy it!

Teenage Bride said...

even the title of this post just made me sigh haha

be honest Jen I know this post was specifically for me hahaha

Norah Robert is enough to turn anyone into a romance fan!!!

Sondrae Bennett said...

Thanks Ellie!

Teenage Bride - She certainly is a master at it. I'm sorry to say I haven't read many of her more recent works but a few of her books will always be among my favorites.

gideon 86 said...

I'm not too big on romance, but I do like like it sprinkled in between a good mystery or fantasy.


Michael

Talei said...

I'm in love with love itself! ;) Great post, I'm definitely looking out for Arctic Winds.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a great story! My favorite line: "When I finished that first draft, I knew I had something special. I felt not just a desire, but a need to share the tale with other romance lovers."

Perfect! :-)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I love reading for the same reasons. It's also why I write - to be able to experience firsts again - first kiss, finding the one, first love...

Lisa Blandford said...

I'm impressed that the first romance novel you wrote is the first one you got published. YOU ROCK! Nice work. I am a HUGE fan of romance. Whether reading it, writing it or living it. Thanks for sharing Sondrae and Jen!

Sondrae Bennett said...

Thanks Talie and Shannon!

Nicole - There is nothing like sinking into a good story.

Lisa - I feel very blessed. There were plenty of stories before 'Arctic Winds' but it was my first romance.

Guinevere said...

Sondrae, what a great story! It's neat to read about how you found your niche.

Jen, thanks for bringing us such a great interview! :)

Talli Roland said...

Great post, Sondae! Funny, sometimes we just need that little push to get us started on our dreams...

Rachael Harrie said...

Fascinating interview, thanks ladies!

Rach

Kass said...

What an upbeat, positive writer. I like her.

Kimberly Franklin said...

What a great story. Love is the best!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss jen and miss sondrae! that was soooo cool. mostly i like how you write cause you like falling in love. for me its just the same only not for lovey dovey stuff but i love being on adventures with my friends so that what i write. its soooo neat when you love what you write.
...smiles from lenny

Ann said...

Love falling in Love. A great reason to write romance. It makes all the difference when you love what you write. Things just fall into place. And it is so satisfying. Loved your post.

Nerine Dorman said...

Romance is such an important motivating factor. Hell, I want the swash-buckling adventure but I want love as well, and if it's tragic and ill-starred, all the better for a happier outcome once the hero and heroine have worked through their woes.