Long before I met Brenda, I was impressed with her warmth and genuine care for her fans and fellow authors. When I met her this past week I saw another side of her. Yes, she is very personable and friendly, but she is also a savvy businesswoman, with sharp insight regarding writing and the current market. I was able to attend some of the workshops where she was a panelist and I was impressed with her practical knowledge.
Brenda shares some thoughts with us about attending and preparing for writing conferences, and in particular, Romance Times Convention.
Going to the Romantic Times Conventions always energize me, although I returned this time with a little cold because this Florida girl didn’t properly prepare for the Ohio weather. But while I was there I could not get enough of meeting with everyone, seeing my readers and meeting with fellow authors.
I’m often asked from readers what should they get out of attending a writer/reader conference? First, always remember you can only get something out of it if you put something into it. When going to any convention you should prepare yourself before hand with what will be going on at that conference.
Anyone attending a RT conference should get plenty of rest beforehand. Why? Because you need to be prepared for non-stop fun. One thing I enjoy about this particular conference is that it is so reader friendly and there are so many activities for both the reader and the writer, no matter where you are in your growth as an author.
As a reader it can introduce you to other type of writings than what you are presently reading such as mystery, paranormal, suspense etc, and as a writer it holds workshops to help you perfect your craft.
And then after a full day of various workshops, there are the parties every night to help you unwind. And they aren’t just your typical parties, these are the kinds that get everyone involved.
I enjoy going to RT conference to meet my readers, to discuss with them what they like about my books, what they don’t like, and things they would like seeing more of. And if you’re a reader it’s a place to mix and mingle with other readers and meet your favorite authors.
For authors it’s a place to determine what’s hot and what’s not, and to find out the changing trends. Over the years the expectation in romance stories for both the reader and the writer have changed, and as a writer I need to know that. I shouldn’t assume the way I was writing my romance stories years ago is the same way readers want to read them today. As an author I should be open enough to respect my readers and to believe they know what they want to read, and not particularly what I want them to read just because I might refuse to change my writing style.
For instance for today’s romance stories, hot is in. I’ve always wrote spicy and steamy romantic stories, but once in a while you have to turn the heat up a little more. Does that mean the story will no longer be romantic? Not true. The romance is in the individuals, not in what they do in the bedroom. Boy meets girl and boy and girl get together in the end in a happy ending. How they get from A to Z and how they take care their business in the bedroom and how often, is not what determines whether or not it’s a romantic story.
No one author can define what romance is or assume that they can. I think as authors it is important that we don’t decide that we are all knowing in what readers should be reading. Who are we to make this decision for them? We should make sure we’re flexible enough to change our writing to what people are reading while keeping true to what we’re comfortable in writing. The key to remember is the word change. The only thing constant in this world is change. Be ready for it.
There is a place for all kinds of romantic stories, the sweet to the steamy to the blazing hot. But just because you write the sweet isn’t a reason for you to assume everyone should be writing sweet as well. Or just because your hero and heroine prefer making love strictly in the bedroom is no reason for you to expect others to follow suit.
The same thing for readers. There are so many types of romantic stories out there, and you know what you enjoy reading. Don’t assume everyone should be reading the level of sensuality that you’re reading.
I suggest to readers to know those authors who continue to deliver the type of stories they enjoy reading. And to authors, to make sure you know your readers and write the type of story you’re comfortable in writing, but one that will be embrace by the wants and needs of your readers. It’s not my place to dictate what readers should be reading or dictate to those authors what they should be writing. There is a market for every type or story. Sky is the limit. Know your audience and write a good story for them.
So what do you think about the changing trend of romance going from sweet to hot? Do you think the level of sensuality in a book determines if it’s romantic or not?
Do you think a love scene that’s placed in the first chapter will automatically make the story not romantic?
Who should define what’s romantic and what is not romantic? Author or reader?
What are your thoughts?
Spontaneous Back Cover:
She never saw him coming...
Kimani Cannon knows she's in trouble the second she lays eyes on 6'4" of luscious male. The best kind of trouble, too…mm-mmm! Duan Jeffries turns out to be the perfect man—charming, considerate…and the best lover she's ever had. Too bad Mr. Delicious is just a one-night stand….
Until Kim needs a date to her mother's (fifth) wedding! Duan's willing to act the part of her fiancé…as long as it means full benefits. More amazing sex? No problem!
Then Kim finds out that Duan's got his own private agenda. Suddenly, she doesn't know what to believe. Her head and heart are telling her to be careful. But the sensual thrumming in her blood is turning out to be much more persuasive….Excerpt
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Brenda is a die-“heart” romantic who married her childhood sweetheart and still proudly wears the "going steady" ring he gave her when she was 15. Because she began believing very early in the power of love and romance, she can't help but write stories with happy endings. She is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 70 romance novels and looks forward to increasing that number. She and her husband live in the city where they were born, Jacksonville, Florida, and have two sons. She has a B.S. in business administration and retired from a management position with a major insurance company.
She loves to weave love stories and it is the highlight of her day. She and her husband spend time together traveling and discovering romantic places she could use as settings in her books.
Brenda would love to hear from her readers and you can find her on her website and she's on FaceBook, MySpace, and on eHarlequin (which will give you a list of books available and soon to be released).
SPECIAL PRIZE TO COMMENTERS TODAY!
COMING NEXT MONTH (JUNE 2010): Brenda's 75th book, Hidden Pleasures.
BRENDA WILL BE AWARDING 5 COPIES OF HIDDEN PLEASURES.