I NEVER thought of romance as something I’d want to write. Don’t get me wrong—I am a romantic at heart, but I always equated romances with smut. They were a lower form of literature. Their only purpose was to amuse, perhaps “inspire” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and be light reading on a beach somewhere. Their covers caused me to laugh—heaving bosoms, bare muscular chests, and those titles!
But I was a kid then. I had only seen the “trashier” novels. You know the ones—no significant plots (and certainly no subplots), books that you could stumble across a gratuitous sex scene at LEAST every ten pages, sometimes much more often. They were intriguing and light reads for a teen curious about “romance” and “relationships,” but they were thin on substance and often offended my slightly puritanical views. I often set them down before finishing them.
But romance (or at least sex and those things leading to sex and its aftermath) has always been around and that, in itself, should warrant attention in literature.
So when I stumbled across a particular Scottish legend (I LOVE the Scots) I immediately saw its potential for a sexy and strong medieval romance.
That legend is the tale of “Tam Lane,” "Tom Line" or “Tam Lin.” In short, it is a story of abduction by the Queen of the Faeries. She kidnaps a handsome young Scottish knight and makes him her servant for seven years (according to most versions). At the end of seven years he is to be sacrificed, so in desperation he seeks out a mortal savior (named Janet in most tellings) to break the Fae Queen’s power over him through her newfound love. But the tale is more complex than that—it includes issues of women’s roles in the medieval period, pre-marital sex, pregnancy outside of wedlock, the struggle to decide if abortion’s an option—the list of themes continues.
You can surely see that the tale has amazing potential, and in fact, many other writers have felt the same way. I am not the only one to write a version of “Tam Lin” but I am the only one to tell it with my particular voice.
I have researched my setting, time period and early resources rather extensively (and I intend on continuing up through the final draft) and have written snippets as they came to me off and on for the past year and a half or so.
This blog will show the steps I’m taking to write my first romance novel. It will include links to helpful sites for would-be writers, reviews of romances I’ve actually read, surveys for you to give input about romance as literature, research tips, and bits and pieces of my text as I build it.
Join me on the journey! Learn about this genre and its processes and pitfalls.
I’m a big one on titles as a definitory tool, so here’s what my book’s being titled: Hollow Hearts and Hollow Hills.
My name’s Saoirse Redgrave and I’m here to tell you a spicy and magical tale of love and rescue…
Saoirse (that's SEER-scha)