There is an author whose works I used to love, that was one of the first to really get me excited and willing to read ‘romance’ novels. Anyone who knows me knows who she is. If you don’t know me, you don’t care who she is. Or if you do, you care for the wrong reasons and I’m not going to dis her by naming her.
I’ve realized lately that I buy her books with no intention of reading them. They’re just not that great anymore. Her batting average for me has dropped to about 30%… one of three books she’s published in the last four years was readable. Every time I am full of hope… and nearly every time I can’t muster up the interest to read past the first few chapters.
Why do I keep buying her books? For a few reasons: Her first books were amazing, and showed me a whole new type of writing (that I have adopted and twisted to make my own) and I owe her loyalty for that; she has given hours upon hours upon hours to wanna be writers and fans and for that, I owe her loyalty; and three, I just plain like her as a person (well, as much as I can see through the oh-so-personal world of technology and the occasional writing seminar) and for that, I owe her loyalty. So if I can spend $8.99 a year to keep her in business, I’m willing to do it.
Some of the things I’ve learned from her I won’t share because they’d instantly identify her to any writer out there, but some are definitely worth sharing:
1. Humor doesn’t have to be of the Three Stooges variety.
2. But it can be.
3. Relationships-all kinds, not just romantic ones-are as important to a story as setting.
4. Dialogue ROCKS.
5. Not all heroes have to be Alpha to be sexy as hell.
6. Snark is good.
7. People can experience difficult challenges without 250 pages of hand-wringing, sobbing, and misery.
8. Drama does not necessarily equal trauma.
9. Angst is not a vital ingredient to a good story.
10. Strong women can be very flawed. In fact, the more flawed they are, sometimes the stronger and more interesting they are.
For these lessons, and more, I will continue to buy every book that appears with her name on it. And if I’m lucky, every once in a while I’ll fall in love with one of her stories, like I did ten years ago when I first made her acquaintance. If I’m not lucky, that’s okay. Because somewhere, another writer is reading her for the first time, and loving that voice, and realizing that not all books are the same. And maybe she’s deciding that she wants to write like that, and she’s looking around, and she finds support and encouragement from others like her.
And that’s a great reason to buy a book.