Yesterday I received an e-mail from a reader with a common complaint: why are there no romance novels (or very few) where the lead character is legitimately struggling with her weight or physical appearance? She has a point–one that I as an author ith a non-perfect body or face–have longed to address. What if there were a story where the hero was hot and hunky and he fell for the heroine who was less than perfect and gorgeous? What if she struggled with her weight and had finally come to terms with her body only to have Mr. Perfect walk into her life? What if her first instinct was to lose the weight and remold herself into what she thought he would want? What if he loved her for other reasons–her quirky sense of humor, her love of children, her brain? And what if instead of wishing she could change how she looked on the outside, he loved her for the woman she was?
Talk about fantasy fiction!! The truth is that market research among the 18-34 yr. old demographic that publishers cherish seems to report that what women want from a romance is the hot hunky hero and the beautiful (although, of course, she doesn’t realize that she’s beautiful)quirky, sassy, fill-in-the-blank heroine. So if you like the reader who wrote me are perhaps older than that 18-34 range and perhaps not cover girl material and you are a fan of romance who BUYS books and you would like a dose of real world when it comes to your characters, write to the publishers, not the authors. Authors have little power (unless they are Nora Roberts or Debbie Macomber). But YOU have enormous power–let the powers that be know what you want and back it up with stats that say how many books (e-books or print) you and as many friends as you can round up buy. Tell them what you want as well as what you are weary of in terms of characters and storylines. (Do you really truly want to read another book with a billionaire cowboy who needs to get married for reasons having nothing to do with love?)
Okay, stepping off the soapbox–your turn!!! Let me know what you’re thinking! Anna
Today I received my “author” copies of my novel: THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN--a story I wrote several years ago now all dressed up with a new cover and a novel that is still dear to my heart. In the first place the setting moves from NYC to Madison WI which are two of my favorite places in the world. In the second place it follows a 40-year marriage from the first meeting to its heart-rending end. Thirdly it reminds me a lot of my own marriage–the ups and downs of two opposites who were attracted from day one but who had to navigate the highs and lows of any long-term marriage. I hope you will pick up a copy of THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN and let ‘s see how many of us have been married as long as ZOE and SPENCER!! [SEE POLL BELOW!]
One of these days I am going to learn that if I would just stick to a schedule of writing x-number of words per day I would complete a novel WAY ahead of schedule. Instead I always seem to be coming right down to the wire. It was the way I worked all through school–I was the one who started a term paper the day before the due date. But what I find is that the closer I come to deadline, the more active my imagination becomes. I have dreams about the characters and they play out scenes I had not envisioned before. The story often takes a new and more interesting direction and the words begin to flow again. Right now I am completing the third book in my PEACEMAKER series. Book One: ALL GOD’S CHILDREN is available now; Book Two: SIMPLE FAITH will be out in the spring and this one–SAFE HAVEN–will be available a year from now in Fall, 2014.
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Last fall I was looking for a tangible way I might honor the memory of my late husband and a friend mentioned the Little Free Library movement. [Google them if you don't know about this!!!] So I decided to donate a “library” for the condo community where I live in Wisconsin. The results have been incredible–neighbors I have never before talked to or met over the five years we have lived here are calling to thank me; people are gathering at the library to drop off and pick up books and talk about what they are reading; and the guy who designed and built this particular unit has been asked to help some local Boy Scouts build and install four community liraries in the greater area. It has truly been a labor of love and remembrance and it will serve as a reminder to me and others every time we pass it of L’s love for me (as a writer) and for books and reading!!
“The activities of the White Rose resistance group, as well as the prisoner uprising at the Sobibor concentration camp, are more than simple historical context. Schmidt seamlessly integrates these actual events, and the courageous real-life individuals who fought against Hitler’s regime, with her fictional characters and their story to produce a strong tale of hope and love in the face of insurmountable obstacles.”