RIP Michael Crichton

Holy shit!

Came across the news in PopDose while looking for something else entirely: Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

Washington Post: ‘Jurassic Park’ Author Michael Crichton, 66

[More news]

Judging by the timestamps on the various articles, the news didn’t come out all that long ago.



Writing a romance

Watching the BBC Time Shift episode “How to Write a Mills and Boon” (which chronicles author Stella Duffy‘s attempts to write a romance book for Mills and Boon, the UK arm of Harlequin/Silhouette) today reminded me of my days of reading romance novels.

I started reading romances when I was in my teens, nearly 30 years ago. A friend of the family had a pile of old books that she passed on to my mother and I. They were the stereotypical 70s romances: tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, and cynical (always cynical) man, sometimes a widower with a child, meets young, 18-19 year-old virgin who comes to work for him as a governess, nurse, or secretary. Not at all what I was looking for myself even back then but it was titillating reading for a teenager. Later, Silhouette in particular started publishing racier fiction that featured more experienced, stronger women and slightly less overbearing tall, dark, handsome, wealthy, and cynical heroes. At one point, my mother and I belonged to the monthly book club for several of their imprints, going through dozens of books a month. (Romances are light reading.) Some have stayed with me through the years.

I stopped reading romances years ago, when it became apparent that I was no longer in their target audience. I’m not interested in stories about estranged or separated married couples, single parents, babies, children, families, etc. That’s not my life nor is it my fantasy life. But that seemed to be most of what was being published.

I see now that Harlequin again has a number of imprints for fantasy-type story-lines. One of those imprints is Silhouette Nocturne, which specializes in paranormal fiction involving creatures like vampires and werewolves. Another is Luna, which features more fantastical, magical stories. I was quite surprised to see that Mercedes Lackey, one of my favourite fantasy writers, is actually writing a series for Luna called A Tale of Five Hundred Kingdoms.

I had always thought that my history of reading romances and my love for writing would make me a good romance writer myself. Maybe it’s time to consider that more seriously.