Unlike those who have been writing and dreaming of publication since they learned how to clutch a pencil, I came late to this party. I'd never written a word of fiction until five years ago, when I was 44 years old. Since then I've known quite a few awkward moments as old friends and extended family members who thought they knew me pretty well have expressed surprise (and not always the good kind) to learn I'm now writing romance fiction.
Why do I do it? How did I get started? Here's the way I explained it on my website:
Honest, I had no idea there was a romance novel in me, just waiting to be let out. At the end of the year 2000, I hadn't any inkling that a book was about to "happen" to me.
On a rainy afternoon I came across my first inspirational romance novel. That particular book was only mildly entertaining, but I was instantly captivated by the idea of a love-conquers-all story with a golden thread of faith woven through it. I began to wonder if I could write something like that. Something that could make a woman sigh and feel good about life and love...and herself. Something that might draw her heart closer to God.
I plucked two characters and a situation out of thin air, then sat down at my computer and began writing dialogue. Within half an hour I was totally absorbed, sucked into an imaginary world that never existed until I called it into being! I had never tried my hand at fiction, but this was a creative rush unlike anything I had ever experienced. I couldn't stop.
I had never dreamed of becoming a romance novelist. In the beginning, I wrote only because it stretched my imagination and kept me entertained. It wasn't until I realized I was writing stuff good enough to be published that I began thinking of trying to sell it. But I didn't show my work to friends or brag about it to my family. I just quietly did the research, figured out where and how to peddle my work, and then fired off a query letter and synopsis to a Steeple Hill editor. (Who later became my editor, bless her heart!)
Because I had never cherished the dream of writing a romance novel and seeing it in print, maybe I was a little laid-back about having sold my first completed manuscript. (I understand that's a very rare accomplishment.) But I was pleased, because an enjoyable pastime had morphed into an exciting new career opportunity. It's the dream job I never thought to dream of: I now get to spend several hours each day immersed in imaginary worlds where everything goes my way and every ending is a happy one.
Do you write? If so, why? And how (and when) did you get started?