February 24, 2016

Tour Day: Kirsten Blacketer Shares 10 Things Never to Say to a Romance Author

Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and Kirsten Blacketer can cook and clean with the best of them.  But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.

Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.

Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.

Hi there, I'm Kirsten, and I'm a list addict. I often find myself drawn into Buzzfeed's list links. You know the ones: "25 Times Tom Hiddleston Ruined Your Life." Yeah, anything about Tom Hiddleston or Chris Evans, and I'll click it. What can I say, I find them inspirational.

Anyway, I've compiled my own list of things not to say to a romance author based on my own pet peeves and a few contributions from fellow romance authors. As you'll see, I'm quite passionate on this subject. 

Top Ten Things You Never Say to a Romance Author
10. "I don't read erotica/50 Shades style books." ~ Well that's good, because romance is much MORE than what you just told me you don't like to read. There's something for everything in the romance genre. Don't judge a genre by a current fad. This goes for those of you who don't like "bodice rippers" and "Fabio" books. Haven't read a romance...try one. You might be surprised.
9. "Can you make money doing that?" ~ Google top selling book genres. Romance and erotica are #1. Yes, if you produce a quality book and find a readership, you can make money writing romance.
8. "Romance novels are porn for women." ~ A romance novel is focused on the relationship of the main characters and must have a happy (or emotionally satisfying ending). It never states there has to be sex in the story. In fact, romance novels have varying heat levels from sweet to scorching. And if there is sex in the story, there's normally a reason for it...like character development or progressing the plot.
7. "I bet your fantasize about trying out all the sexy stuff from your books." ~ First of all, yes, the books I write are fantasies. I will confess, some of them are even my fantasies. But no, I have no desire to reenact scenes from my books and neither does my husband. Fantasy is nice on paper, but reality has its own allure. Writers do try to keep the two separate.
6. "Is this book about your life?" or "Is your husband the hero in this book?" ~ Both of these questions are ridiculous. If you're asking if real events or people inspired my book or its characters, then yes, there are always elements from my reality that weave their way into the books. But I hate to disappoint you, I don't live in the medieval, Victorian, or prohibition era. I don't have a time machine, even though I wish I did. And while I love my husband dearly, it's more likely I used Tom Hiddleston or Chris Evans as inspiration for my hero.
5. "You must have a really unrealistic and warped view of relationships." ~ This irritates me as both an author and an avid reader of romance. Do I think some strong, sexy, rich man is going to come rescue me from my life of obscurity? No. Part of the reason we read romance is to escape from reality for a short period of time. We do it with movies and TV shows, why can't we do it with romance novels? Why would a fictional depiction of a fantastical relationship skew my view of relationships or reality? It doesn't, because I'm able to differentiate reality from fiction. Geeze, don't tell me the T-Rex in Jurassic World isn't real too. *sarcastic sobbing*
4. "You know, you should think about writing something popular like...*insert best-selling book title here*" ~ Yup, let me get right on that. Because I want to sell my soul and be miserable while I'm at it. I write what I write because I love it! I don't write my stories to become an international best-selling author. Although, that would be nice, not going to lie. There's a reason I write the stories I do...because they're the stories my heart needs to tell. I don't choose them; they choose me.
3. "You're writing/reading smut." *said in a condescending tone* ~ I included reading here too for one main reason. We get judged hardcore for writing romance, but we also get it two-fold when we read it too. How many times have you gotten "the look" when you're sitting with a good romance novel minding your own business? You know exactly what look I'm talking about too, don't you? Well, romance authors get the same look when we say we write romance. "Oh, you write...romance." Said in a way that makes you think the words are bitter and poisoned. Wow, way to be a condescending jerk, thanks for that. But if they're reading/writing horror, science fiction, or fantasy, suddenly there's no judgement. Really? Wow.
2. "Are you going to write me into your book?" ~ Not unless you piss me off, and I find the best way to satisfy the intense hatred is by making you suffer and die a horrible death...in my book. Honestly, I take elements of people I know and tie them into characters in my book, but I have never written a character who was a based on a real person I knew. I can't say I really want to do that because it would just be awkward all around if they ever found out. Especially when you write romance. Yes, I joke that my characters are inspired by Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston and other actors, but the key word is inspired. It's not them. Again, I like to keep fantasy and fiction separate from reality. It makes for really uncomfortable conversations otherwise.
And the number one thing you should NEVER say to a romance author...okay, there's a tie for first place because they're both equally irritating questions.
1. "When are you going to write a REAL book?" Which often goes hand in hand with, "When are you going to get a REAL job?" ~ Romance authors everywhere just threw their hands up and walked away. Seriously, it takes months to years to write, edit, and publish a book. Don't treat us like we're a bunch of children living in a van down by the river licking windows and begging for handouts. We're doing what we love to do and deserve respect for the work we do.
What should you take away from this list...please be considerate of what you say to a romance author. While you might not mean it to be offensive, we can be pretty sensitive and protective when it comes to our writing. Most of us didn't wake up one day and decide, yeah, I want to be a romance author. No, the stories chose us to be their voice. We don't take that lightly. So you shouldn't either.
Tell a romance author you know how much you love their dedication and their passion. Give them a hug and, even if you don't read their work, recommend them to someone who does. Support goes a long way, and we really do appreciate it. You might not get to be a lead character in their book, but you'll definitely make the dedications page. I promise.
***Thank you to the following people for helping me come up with "things not to say" when I was coming up blank. You guys rock. <3 Leona Bushman, Stella Price, Siobhan Muir, Deadra Krieger, Julie Morgan, Craig Schadt, and Louisa Bacio. And a huge thank you to Brantwijn for hosting me on her blog today. Xoxo.***


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Buy Links for At Winter's Demand and Jewel of Winter:
At Winter's Demand (Book 2)

Jewel of Winter (Book 1)


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