Friday, 23 April 2010

Guest Post: Jamie DeBree - Why I Write Romance?

Throwing Back the Covers: Why I Write Romance

The first page of prose I ever wrote was a literary-style piece describing a cabin in the woods. Every detail from the grain of the wood boards and bird song to the moss on the forest floor was accounted for. Back then, I saw myself someday writing grand, sweeping literary works that would contain such beautiful descriptive passages that people would weep at the sheer genius.

Now I write stories that would make my mother blush. I fully intend to give her a copy of my first published book someday with the caveat that she’ll probably want to skim pages xx – xx. Oh, and xx – xxx as well. Hopefully she won’t be too embarrassed to pass a recommendation along to her friends…

There are a lot of stigmas that come with being a romance writer – and even though I’ve been reading romance novels all of my life, I wasn’t at all sure I was ready to handle what people might think of me if I started writing them. So I tried everything else first.

I started a sci-fi story with only an underlying romantic element. The romance took over within the first chapter.

I plotted a sweeping adventure/thriller story – and couldn’t keep my characters’ out of bed and in the game, even in the synopsis.

I wrote a bloodbath of a horror novel (strange things happen during NaNo) wherein the bodies were stacking up by the hour in a very intense, closed off, gruesomely paranormal situation – and my main characters still managed to fall in love, even though they both died at the end!

I tried to write a mystery/suspense wherein my heroine would never fall for a man, because she was far too focused on getting sensitive information away from her abusive ex. I wanted her to be the snarky “tough chick” who rides off into the sunset on her Harley at the end of the novel, content to be alone. Yeah, right. In my world, women enjoy men. A lot. Even if they don’t want to at first. It’s probably because I have always related well to men – more so than women.

At that point, it was pretty clear that I was meant to write romance novels. I quit fighting it and just let my stories come out as they needed to, complete with sizzling bedroom scenes, a dash of suspense and many happy endings (pun intended). I still feel a little funny admitting that I write romance novels when people ask what type of books I write (most people who ask are men), but I’m getting over it. Most of my stories have a suspense element in them, which seems to make the guys feel better about the whole thing.

I think the reason that romance comes so naturally to me is that I’m fascinated by emotions and the connections people form (probably should have been a sociologist). I’m interested in why people act or react the way they do to others, and how that affects relationships. I’m a total sap for a “happily ever after”, which is a guarantee in a romance novel. I want to believe that everything works out in the end, no matter how tough the journey is. In my stories things always work out, even if it’s not the expected outcome.

With any luck, I’ll join the ranks of the published in the next few years. I’ll be sending out queries this summer.

To follow my writing journey & connect with me, I blog at The Variety Pages (, I’m on Twitter as @JamieDeBree or Facebook as (you guessed it) Jamie DeBree. I’m always looking for new friends…

Thanks so much for having me, Dolly – I love this series, and can’t wait to see who’s up next. :-)


  1. Great post, Jamie! :D

    I'm loving this series of guest posts. :)


  2. This is a great post! And I relate to what Jamie's saying, why such stigma about romance? What's wrong with love, huh? :)

  3. At a dinner for the Montana Storytellers Roundup last night, they introduced me as an aspiring writer. I started to describe my books and one of the ladies said, "I suppose they have some of THOSE scenes!" And I said, "Yep. Plenty of those."

    So proud of myself for not quibbling in front of a roomful of my parents' peers!

  4. Thanks Adam! :-)

    Hi Crystal, and thanks! What's wrong with love indeed. Harumph.

    Way to go, Kari Lynn! I'm getting to that point too, though I've found it's easier to be brazen with strangers for some reason...

  5. Adam,

    I am loving the series too :-) Great to get into authors minds.


    Great post. Thanks for doing it.


    Thanks for stopping by :-) I have the opposite problem. I actually started out wanting to write romance novels, but realised they are not for me. Though all of my books still have strong romance element, just romance writing didn't quite work out for me.


    Good for you. :-)


    I am not surprised that you have no trouble being brazen with strangers. ;) Neither do I.

  6. Fascinating. I love how all of your stories franken-noveled into romance tales in the end. You can't get any cleared signals from your subconcious than that. :) Glad it worked out, so that we get the fruits of all of this struggle.

    Thanks for the post.

  7. Great post Jamie!! I love this series too, what a great idea Dolly ;o)

    I didn't know that you tried all those genres first. That's so cool. Yeah, I think romance is the right place for you & we will all ahem "eat the fruits?" LOL Heidi. *bites into a big juicy apple of a story*


  8. Cool series of guest posts. What a great idea. I followed you over from Jamie D's blog. Now a follower :)

    Jamie, I think we have to write what we are most drawn to write. I tried writing literary fiction for years and years. It's what my creative writing education had trained me to do--there was no room for genre fiction in academia, even in creative writing. And the thing is, I'm not bad at it. I think if I were to devote more time to it, I could possibly even be good, but in all those years I've been writing, I could never once finish a book. I'd get to the last few chapters, and it would just die. Total blank. I knew how I thought they should end, but I just couldn't do it. Then one day, a story I'd sort of been thinking about, had pushed away for a long time, finally started to take shape in my head and I gave myself permission to write it, and guess what? I not only wrote it--nonstop, sleeping maybe 3 hours a night--I wrote it in 6 1/2 weeks: all 213,000 words of my YA fantasy romance. Ha! Ok, so it took me 7 months to more than cut my book in half and polish it, but the fact is, it wasn't until I allowed myself to write what I was intended to write that I found my niche. So bravo on you, luv for writing what suits you. And it so happens, I think romance is pretty dang fantastic. It's something everyone wants in his/her life. Never be ashamed of writing something that has significance to you, and sure as heck will bring enjoyment and possibly more to others.

  9. Heidi,

    Thanks for the comment :) We've got to love the signs from the subconscious.


    I am really enjoying this series too, because I have got all you wonderful guests. :-)


    Thanks for the follow :-) YaY for you for finding your genre.

  10. Great post Jamie, and not just because it sounds so much like what happened with me - everything thing I tried writing turned into a romance until I gave up and started writing romance.

    I can't wait until you're published and I can point to your books and say: "I know her!" :-)

    Another great addition to the series Dolly.

  11. Love the post Jamie!

    I think you're in good company writing romance. Some of my most well-fed writer friends are romance writers.

    Best of luck to you on your query process.

    If anyone can do it, it'll be you -- you are on a mission (with a plan).

    Thanks Dolly for this series. Really love the mix of genres.

  12. Hi gals...and thanks! Heidi & Erica - there will be no "fruits" in my novels, thank you very much. Protection always. LOL

    Carolina - exactly. That's exactly it, isn't it? Writing what we're meant to write, not trying to force ourselves into a genre that's just not "us". And I'm glad I could introduce you to Dolly's blog're going to love it here. :-)

    LOL Carol - you'll have your own signed copies to point at, rest assured (and of course I expect the same from you...). ;-)

    Thanks Karen - I appreciate the vote of confidence. You're always an inspiration. :-)