Why I write romantic fiction

Those who know me personally already know the answer to this one. Sometimes, though, it’s good to lay it all out so everyone knows the same thing.

For most of my life I’ve loved reading mysteries. As a kid I read Nancy Drew and the Trixie Beldon mysteries like they were sustenance for my starving body. As I got older I discovered Agatha Christie and by the time she died I had read every one of her novels and short stories at least twice. I never really read what was called “love stories” until after I had my daughter. I was browsing through the book store one day, looking for a new author – since most of the ones I liked had died! – and I spotted a Nora Roberts paperback. It was Irish Thoroughbred. I read the back jacket and it seemed like I’d like it, so I took it home and read it. In three hours. I was absolutely hooked by the way she wove a story. The same day I went back to the bookstore and bought the other three titles they had in her name. They were devoured within three days. For the past 25 years I have read everything published by Roberts, including her JDRobb works. By opening my reading world to romantic fiction, Roberts introduced me to a wealth of  other  romance novelists who have made my life so much sweeter and more exciting with their writings.

When I decided I wanted to try and write romance, I sat down and made a list – really! a list – of why I loved reading it so much. These were the highlights:

  • there is usually a happy, relationship-resolved ending. And who doesn’t like a happy ending?
  • the female characters are always independent, smart, many times funny and witty, go-getters, nurture-ers, thoughtful and someone I would like to be friends with.
  • the male leads are usually – but not always – alpha males, successful in almost everything but love ( hence the heroine!), smart, charming, family oriented ( usually) and someone I would like to have in my life. The beta males are pretty hot, too.
  • the secondary characters seem real to me, not walk on’s who come in and then go, usually just to deliver a message, like so many other kinds of novels I’ve read. You never see them again and they serve no purpose in the character’s life except to tell them one piece of info. In romance writing, the secondary characters are real people, just like you’d have in your own life. And they serve real purposes in the main character’s lives.
  • the sex is written from an emotional viewpoint, and not a clinical one. I’ve read enough “popular fiction” where the obligatory sex scene describes a going into b and then c happening. Boring. In romance, we get to hear and witness the character’s emotions, responses, desires and dreams. And a really good author will make you feel like the character’s emotions could be yours as well.
  • the stories told around the romance are fun, sad, exciting, mysterious, thrilling, though provoking and sometimes even just sweet.
  • who, after all, doesn’t love LOVE? Being in love, feeling loved, loving someone else. Even the Bible says “Love one another.”

Those are the main reasons I like reading – and now writing – romantic fiction. I’m sure if you ask ten different romance authors their reasons, you will get ten or more different answers than mine.

Some of my favorite Romance Novelists:

Nora Roberts, Tami Hoag, Julie Garwood, Linda Howard, Lisa Kleypas, Kasey Micheals,


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4 responses to “Why I write romantic fiction

  1. Nice site Peggy. I never gave romance writing a thought before I joined RWA two years ago. I had never picked up a romance title before then. Before RWA, I considered myself to be just a fantasy and a YA Contemporary writer. Since then I have read some great romance novels that have sparked further interest in this genre. I think it has a lot to do with the depth of the development of the characters, making you want to care about what is going to happen to them. You keep reading even though you are sure you know how the story is going to turn out, but you just can’t help needing to confirm your suspicions.
    Did you know that most fantasy books are not romances?
    I now consider it a challenge to incorporate romance into all the stories I write.


  2. Peggy Jaeger

    Linda- I couldn’t agree more. I love the way my favorite authors draw me into the story with the way they weave their characters. I know the ending, but I love the journey!


  3. Jennifer Parris

    Peggy – great insight into why romance novels are meaningful and absolutely worth reading.


  4. Peggy Jaeger

    Jennifer – I agree – romance novels ARE absolutely worth reading!


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