This post may seem familiar but at the encouragement of my writing bestie, Liz Flaherty, I’m repeating the one I posted at Word Wranglers this week. I think my audience is different here, but I’m not sure. Anyway, she feels the words bear repeating. I hope you think so, too.
I love to bake. I love that if I mix together butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and other sundry ingredients, I will get a basic cookie dough. If I add chocolate chips or nuts or oatmeal or raisins, I’ll have a special tasty treat. Baking is relaxation for me in a way that nothing else is—not even reading or swimming or walking or biking. I think that is because there is a creative element involved in making a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or an apple pie or a pan of sinful dark chocolate brownies with sea salt sprinkled on top.
I realize baking has nothing to do with writing, but I promise, I’m going to connect the two. Here it is—the creativity involved. When I bake, I follow a recipe—a set of rule that I know will make the cookies or pie or cake rise the way they should or taste a certain way, but when I add my own touches, the cookies become my special creation.
When I write a romance novel, there are rules—a recipe, if you will—that make that story a romance rather than a horror story or a sci-fi tale or a murder mystery. For my stories to turn out as romances, they have to have a happily-ever-after at the end (an HEA) or at the very least, a happy-for-now. I start with two people who fall in love, face challenges, overcome those challenges, and go on to their HEA. That’s the recipe.
But the special touches, the spicy, the sweet, the sensual, the emotional—my own voice—that is the creativity. The characters I create, the settings I invent, the dialogue between my characters, the conflict, the secondary characters—all those things make my stories uniquely Nan Reinhardt books.
Every romance author has a recipe of their very own—one that produces stories that are uniquely theirs. Readers recognize an author’s individual voice and come to know what to expect when they read a book by a favorite author. That’s not a bad thing—that expectation—it’s what brings readers back to an author, it’s what makes them write authors whose books they love begging for more stories, it’s what makes series sell so well.
When an author finds a setting they love writing in—like my little town of River’s Edge—it’s a pleasure to stay there, to invent stories for the characters who populate the town. Don’t think it’s always easy, it’s not, and there is the constant worry that maybe you’ve run out of stories for that town. But then, that charming place speaks to you and new characters come to life and you fall in love with your setting all over again. Each story is like coming home to a place and people you know and who seem to know you.
I love writing about River’s Edge and I hope my readers will always love it as much as I do because I’m going to stay there for a while longer.
Stay well, stay safe, and most of all, mes amies, stay grateful,