I had so much fun with this project and I still have a long way to go. There is a lot of freedom when writing a romance novel, but I didn’t choose story, characters, motives, and scenes randomly. I wanted to ensure SomebodyToLove.com had the best shot at being sold to a major publisher. Romance Writers of America reports “Contemporary Romance” outsells “Historical Romance” and the “Friends to Lovers” trope sells best, indicating high demand for a realistic love story. Find what publishers and audiences want, then find the publishing gaps. A male romance author is rare enough, but there are other fun elements to make this book new.
For better or worse, I’ve been on a ludicrous number of Online Dates. Online dating is barely covered in romance novels. It’s not romantic. It is romantic if my heroine, Emily Fountains, operates an online dating sight and she hires hero Joshua Mile to bartend at her social mixers. I won’t ruin the end for you.
I crack myself up sometimes when writing this. For fifteen hours per week, I’m alone in a room, mostly sure where the scene must go. What takes the most time is writing delicious lines I hope will slay readers. Indulge me and check out the beginning of an unpleasant sex scene: “She crammed her tongue in and out of my ear canal while I fished through my dresser for another condom. Normally, I adore a tongue in my ear-- but instead of slow strokes and heavy breathing, her tongue was a rapid toilet plunger in the hands of an enraged plumber. I heard jellyfish swarming and thrashing.” If I like it, millions will.
One of the best things I learned in the OSCAR program is how to speak confidently about my project. I’m intimidated by OSCAR scientists and researchers with hard evidence and I need to show why I’m here. I discovered my project is about selling fun. It’s about selling my voice. Don’t be afraid to be you and try something wildly different. At first I was surprised people liked my product. I’m not surprised anymore.