Posts Tagged Romance

A Disappointment, An Award and Kobo Writing Life

A few weeks ago I told you I was on a shortlist of eight for the Kobo-Silverwood Books-Berfort Open Day Writing Competition. I heard this week that I didn’t reach the final three. Congratulations to those who did: Phoebe Powell-Moore, Edward James and Sarah Channing Wright. Curiosity will definitely make me buy the winning novel when it’s published later this year.

It’s not all bad news though. As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I was awarded the Hwyl Stone (pictured) for Most Improved Speaker by Sutton Coldfield Speakers’ ClubSutton Coldfield Speakers' Club.  This was a nice confidence boost. The stone is supposed to have similar properties to the Blarney stone and was collected in Wales and made into a trophy by a former member.

Finally, to show I’ve no hard feelings against Kobo, here’s some interesting stuff from Kobo Writing Life:

  • A useful blog post looking at Goal, Motivation and Conflict – the three essential things for every character. Without these it’s difficult to move the story forward.
  • There’s also a good post on why you should enter competitions. Take a look at it if you’ve been dragging your feet lately and not submitting anything.
  • Kobo are now running a Romantic Novel competition. It’s free to enter and the winner gets a publishing contract with Mills and Boon. Closing date July 14th 2015.

Kobo do seem to do more to help and motivate writers than Amazon KDP. Or have I just missed the Amazon stuff?

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Can men write romance?

Can a man get inside the mind of a woman as she falls in love? Can he describe the emotional roller coaster we womenRed heart travel when we think we’ve found ‘the one’? If, as many believe, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then how can a male know what goes on in the female mind?

I started thinking about this after reading the latest issue of Romance Matters (the magazine of the Romantic Novelists’ Association) . It features an interview with Roger ‘Gill’ Sanderson. Roger writes medical romances for Mills and Boon and has published 47 books since 1996. He says, ‘Love is a universal emotion. If you’ve been in love you must have sympathy with women.’ However, he does admit to asking for help occasionally,  especially in the area of women’s clothing!

Roger isn’t the only man writing romance.  Bill Spence is also a member of the RNA and writes historical sagas as Jessica Blair. He served in the RAF during World War II and started his writing career with Westerns before moving on to sagas in the early 1990s.

Michael Taylor is another British author who has found success in writing about love. He came to talk to my writing group a couple of years ago and was as far from the pink, fluffy Barbara Cartland image of a romance writer as you can get. His books are set in the past and he spends a lot of time researching his novels.

Michael says, “Men are at least as capable as women of feeling emotion, and are no less as vulnerable in love and out of it.” 

He says that he found the romance, ‘Lorna Doone’  (also written by a man), moving and sensitive and one of the inspirations that started him writing.

In fact in 1906 ‘Lorna Doone’ was chosen by male students at Yale as their favourite novel – perhaps showing that men and women are not as different as we might think.

I haven’t yet read any of Roger’s or Bill’s books but I have read ‘Clover’ by Michael Taylor. I enjoyed the well-drawn characters and authentic period setting but I think it might have turned out to be quite a different book if Michael had been a woman. One of the main protagonists is Ned Brisco, who is trying to build and fly an early aircraft. If the author had been female, I think more emphasis would’ve been given to the heroine trying to make her mark on the world and less on the technicalities of this invention.

But it’s not possible to say which would have been the better book. Men and women can both write well about love because it is a universal emotion. However, the two sexes will give a different emphasis to other parts of the supporting story depending on their own interests and outlook on life.

Variety is the spice of life so – Vive la difference!

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