Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Do Male Writers Bring to the Table When Writing Romance?

     I was asked this question recently in an interview and thought I’d share my answer with you. It’s been an interesting journey because I didn’t start out writing romance fiction. As a youth I was into Tarzan and Buck Rogers, and so I wrote jungle adventures and outer space odysseys. I created a character—Zip Carter—and he many a wild adventure, I can tell you. But in time, after I met and married my wife, I discovered that I liked watching romantic comedies and dramatic love stories with her. My thoughts turned to stories about relationships, and, before I knew it, I was writing love stories.
     So what do male writers bring to the table when writing romance? Well, this may come as a shock but . . . men and women are different! They think and communicate differently. They express their emotions differently. I’m not going to make any sweeping generalizations—like men are more about physicality and women are more about emotionality—but I think male writers bring a different perspective to the table. They have a different way of looking at relationships and a different way of presenting them. No one can think more like a man than a man. Similarly, no one can think more like a woman than a woman. (Although my wife claims that she knows me better than I know myself.) So it’s that difference that allows male writers to bring another perspective to the table. A woman who recently read my first novel, The Anniversary Waltz, commented, “I could tell it was written by a man. Not that it’s a bad thing. But I could just tell.” So even though the difference in perspective is discernable to women readers, thankfully it’s not a bad thing.
     And just who gives me the best feedback on the aspects of my books that are from a female POV? There’s no question about that. My wife! She is my biggest supporter and toughest critic. Everything I write I bounce off her to get her opinion, especially in regards to my female characters and their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Sometimes she laughs at my efforts, and sometimes she just rolls her eyes. But when she doesn’t have a list of suggestions to offer, I know I’m on the right track. Also my editor, Lori Vanden Bosch, is amazing in helping me with the female POV. I wouldn’t dare send anything to my agent for submission to the publisher without first obtaining my wife’s and my editor’s stamp of approval. (But sometimes it sure is hard to come by!)

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