I'm a rulebreaker. Yep. Sadly, it's true. I just can't seem to follow other people's strictures for my life, but particularly for my writing. Like I remind my doctor, I'm not a statistic and just because something works for the majority does not mean it will work for me. And vice versa...simply because a path is not a widely accepted one to take doesn't mean I won't be glad I traveled it. In fact, considering my sometimes contrary nature, I'll probably be happier taking the less trodden path.
I'm not sure if that makes me courageous or just plain dumb, but there it is. :) It's also probably why I fought so many of the "rules" and "accepted wisdom" when I first started writing and continue to do so. But lest you call me a rebel without a cause, let me share mine with you. I want to touch readers hearts. I want to share the stories that come from deep inside me with others and in doing so, sometimes I just can't follow the rules.
When I first began to pursue my dream of becoming a published author, I was told by many that it would not work to write more than one subgenre of romance when trying to build my career. I heard and understood the advice given to me in this regard. I even saw the legitimacy to it, but I could not dismiss the stories clamoring in my head to be written merely because they didn't all fall within the same easily identifiable categories.
How could I tell one set of characters they were more worthy than another? So, I wrote the stories I had to write and amazingly enough (to me anyway), I sold those stories to four different publishers as time went on. No, I don't recommend writing different subgenres if you are not a fast writer, but if you are...it may be the only way for *you* to stay fresh and...well, uh...sane. :)
So, in the last four years (plus a couple of months but who is counting?), I've published nearly forty books in five subgenres. And along the way, I've broken a few more strictures and instead of turning readers off, I've been lucky enough to connect with a group of them hungry for the kind of stories I want to write. I can't tell you how grateful I am that is true. One thing you have to accept when breaking a rule is that there can be and often are negative consequences. I won't pretend I haven't run into any. I have. Has the cost been worth it? Absolutely. I find a lot of joy in pushing past preconcieved notions regarding what belongs in a romance, both in the writing itself and discussing it with those igorant of the power and depth of romance novels.
My most recent foray into the territory of "Do Not Travel Here" is with my November 27th release, DEAL WITH THIS. Popular convention says that writing a hero or heroine who make their living as an actor is not a great idea. I'm by no means the first author to take a chance on a character she loves despite naysayers and will not be the last. But readers asked for Jillian's story, my muse clamored for it and my editor was more than willing to have it told. Yay, team!
DEAL WITH THIS breaks a couple more rules...but in order to discover what they are, you'll have to read it. Trust me, it's fun...it's hot and it'll leave you feeling good. Who knows, maybe it won't even seem like I pushed any boundaries at all. Okay, that's not likely because advance readers say the intimacy is the hottest I've done yet, but still... Things change - readers likes, dislikes and what we find compelling in a story - none of it is static. And I'm glad.
I want to keep trying new things and writing stories that touch my readers' emotions. Because of that, although I'm happy to break rules, I never want to break a reader's heart. So, I guess you could say one rule is still sacrosant for me: my romance novels end with an HEA that sticks and they always will. I guess you could say that's *my* rule.
What are some rules you think should never be broken? Ones you wouldn't mind seeing trampled, or at least stretche a little bit?