Why do I love romance? It’s simple – the women! Ever since I became a published Harlequin M&B historical romance author a little over a year ago I’ve been surrounded by women – my editors, my fellow authors, and almost all my readers (well, aside from my ever supportive husband). Just this weekend I was at the annual Romance Novelists Association’s annual conference. From the moment I arrived to the moment I left I was laughing, talking, listening, learning – totally engaged. Sounds like love to me. The women are amazing – intelligent, funny, deep, and endlessly fascinating. After a full day of lectures and workshops we gathered in the shared kitchens and descended from the sublime to the ridiculous over tea, wine, and chocolate. We talked about everything – family, work (many of us do have other jobs), writing, publishing, our past and our future. The kind of discussions you usually have with your best friends after a glass of wine (yes, wine is heavily featured at romance conferences).
5 of the 9 Unlaced Book Club ladies at the RNA 2017 conference last week
Wearing my auth
or hat I spend most of my time alone, happily transferring tales from my head into my laptop, agonizing over my character’s conflicts and needs and delighting in their transition from pain to love (and sometimes back again a few times). My main points of interaction with the world in this new profession come from contact with readers and other authors on social media, my amazingly prescient editor, and perhaps twice a year at events like the RNA conference.
I’ve been to umpteen business conferences but this is different – this is pure, unadulterated fun. It feeds back in to my writing – I can feel it filling out, gaining color and warmth, thanks to the women who are constantly amazing me with their intelligence and generosity. This isn’t just theoretical – we are putting it into practice all the time – imagine the kind of collaboration required for nine women to write a short story together simply by passing it from one to the next, each on adding her twist – this is precisely what I have recently done with eight of my wonderful fellow Harlequin Historical authors (members of the Unlaced Book Club on Facebook – check out our ‘Captive at Cragdale Hall’ on the Blossom Twins blog at http://bit.ly/2u14Txf).
The Unlaced Book Club ladies - my alternative family of mad, bad, glad and stunning gals
This sense of wellbeing at being surrounded by women isn’t just my gut feeling, apparently – it’s also science. A Stanford University professor was discussing longevity and he noted the usual point about married men statistically living longer than unmarried men. When a woman from the audience asked for the comparable statistics about women he said with perfect seriousness – women who spend time with other women tend to live longer. In other words – being around women, interacting with women, tends to release those feel-good and intimacy hormones serotonin and oxytocin. This is precisely what I feel after this marvelous weekend – even squashed on the train to London with not a spare seat in sight and finally tucking myself onto a corner of the corridor between trains, I was still full of the pleasure of having spent a weekend with that not just women but that most wonderful breed of women – lovers of Romance.
I hope my romance affair with romance never ends.
Check out the Unlaced Book Club on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheUnlacedBookClub/