ASK AN AUTHOR – HAS THE ROMANCE GENRE GROWN?

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Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller, author of the free book Between Boyfriends

August 19, 2016 (San Diego's East County) - One of my favorite local authors, Jan Moran, is helping me to talk about romance and writing. Jan and I “met” on Goodreads.com when I reached out to her because she had recently moved to San Diego and my Between Boyfriends protagonist is named Jan as well. We've since done two local author events together and I've found her to be as smart about publishing as she is talented at writing. We also happen to each have a book included in the Finding Love in All the Right Places romance bundle, 12 novels for 99 cents.

How do you think the romance genre has grown? Is it overwhelmed, growing, dying, or in need of a face lift? – Annelle Willard, author of Frosted Sweets

JM: According to a Nielsen survey commissioned and published by the Romance Writers of America (RWA), the romance genre is growing. Romance remains the strongest genre of fiction sold, with 23% of readers reading more than last year. Aficionados are avid readers and among the most willing to try new authors.

From my personal observation, novels in today’s new romance era are more often focused on a heroine forges her own path and saves herself. Romance is an important part of the heroine’s life, but is no longer the primary way she defines herself.

SJ: I think, like Jan said, romance has gotten a facelift by bringing in more strong female characters as well as welcoming more same-sex love affairs. Diversity in romance is keeping the genre alive.  What accomplishment are you most proud of as an author?

JM: Accolades aside, it means so much to me when I hear from readers that one of my books has touched their heart or lifted their spirit.

SJ: What is your favorite place to read and write in San Diego?

JM: San Diego is full of beautiful spots that nurture the creative soul. Many of my plots have been worked out while strolling on Moonlight Beach or other local beaches. The Carlsbad Library on Dove Lane is also a lovely place to write.

SJ: What are you working on now?

JM: As a full-time writer, there is always a lot on my plate. At present, I’m writing my next 20th century historical novel for St. Martin’s Press. In addition, I’m drafting a screenplay for The Winemakers, my most recent historical novel, which is also being recorded for audiobooks (think wine in Napa, Tuscany, and Paris!).

I just completed Essence, the fourth book in my contemporary Love, California series. It was such fun researching Monaco, Provence, and Formula 1 racing. I also finished a novella, Life is a Cabernet, which takes place in Napa Valley in 1956 (more wine and vintage yachts!). Finally, The Costco Connection is featuring one my articles on the psychology of scents in September.

SJ: What is the best piece of writing advice you have received?

JM: Finish the book! My first novel took fifteen years, but not anymore--thankfully. Here’s what I do now: Working from a rough outline, I write the first draft from start to finish as quickly as I can. Once I have the bones of the story in place, I perform several editing passes through the manuscript to plant clues, enhance characterization, add description, and punch up dialogue. At some point, a writer simply has to scream, “Enough!” and send the manuscript off to the editor.

About Sarka-Jonae Miller

SJ is a local author, publicist, and columnist who writes chick lit and steamy romance based in San Diego and Los Angeles. Her novels include the Between Boyfriends series and the All for You series. The award-winning novel Between Boyfriends is free on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

Check out her Between Boyfriends blog for book reviews, author interviews, TV episode synopses, and giveaways. SJ also writes health and fitness articles for Align Life and Natural News. Talk to SJ on Twitter @sarkajonae, Facebook, and her website SarkaJonae.com.