Thursday, January 26, 2012

Welcome to my world

Hi everyone,
Well...I’m blogging, scary really. I mean I have to have something to say. But then I’m a wordsmith, a writer whose job it is to put words to paper, or in my case to fill a blank computer screen, so it should be easy. Yeah right!

But firstly I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Jane Beckenham and I'm a romance writer from Auckland, New Zealand, where by the way it's meant to be summer and it's been raining since Christmas.

I began writing romance about 11 years ago after chatting to someone on line. With her encouragement I sat down and started writing...and I haven't stopped yet. Like most writers, I was an avid reader and particularly of romances, though I don't know anyone in my family who reads them, but since I began writing I’ve discovered that my uncle was a writer and my mother too wrote lots of short stories about her life during the war years. But why write romance?

I suppose it's because you start out writing what you like to read.
But then what is romance? I wonder if that word means different things to different people, a bit like how things taste to each of us, or the way the same fragrance can smell differently from one person to another. The Oxford Dictionary online states that romance is...(paraphrased)

• a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love
• a love affair, especially one that is not very serious or long-lasting:
a holiday romance
• a book or film dealing with love in a sentimental or idealized way
• a genre of fiction dealing with love in a sentimental or idealized way
• a feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life:

This sure works for me. Excitement. Taking oneself away from every day life. Isn't that what the first flush of romance or love (heck even lust) is? That excitement of the possibility of what could be.

And I think as a writer this is what excites us each time we start a new story. The thrill of what could be, what is going to happen to these two characters who have hurdles to charge over if they are ever going to find true love.

In my book Secrets and Seduction, the heroine Leah is totally off marriage after a disastrous one which has left her crippled with debt, but also so untrusting of men and the choices she made. Then she meets her dead husband's brother. Attraction is there. So too is lust – big time. But how do you trust a man who is related to the dead husband who bullied and blackmailed you. It's a big road to cross for Leah if she is to find love again.

Then there's Taylor Sullivan in He's the One. Everyone in her family are geniuses, and they think she should be just like them. But she's not. She's a wedding planner. Taylor doesn't fit the mold, but then she's also desperate to lose her virginity. I mean who ever heard of a wedding planner who hasn't experienced what it's all about. Best business idea – hire the sexiest commitment phobe guy in town to do the deed, but then of course, romance gets in the way.

All this talk of romance got me thinking. What about my own life? I mean I write romance, so I have to have experienced it- right.

Dead right. I met my darling nearly 30 years ago on a blind date – tick that off as romantic – it wasn't a dud date. Then we married 11 months later. - that's another tick to romance.

But what happens when the flush wears off. Well, there are 2 moments I will tell you about that I think are really romantic. Let's see what you think. On my 30th birthday – unfortunately now a very long time ago – I awoke to find a lovely ruby ring on my pillow – an eternity ring – so I reckon that's pretty high up there on the romance stakes.

But wait...there's more.

We'd been married for about 13 years when we adopted our daughters from Russia. I flew off and was away for 6 weeks. Arriving home with our two little girls was so exciting, (and exhausting after a 40 hour flight), but lo and behold the next morning I awake to another ring on my pillow... This time it's four sapphires, and my darling says “there's one stone for each of us”. Now I’d say that that tops it for romance. What do you think?

I asked a few fellow writers what they think romance is – here’s their answers.

Yvonne Walus (http://yewalus.kiwiwebhost.net.nz/) - an award winning writer of SF, crime and romance books says: "What does romance mean to me? Married for 20 years to my childhood sweetheart, I ponder the question as I balance the laptop on my thigh in my husband's family holiday house. I've spent three weeks here, among 6 adults and 5 small children, so you will forgive me if romance is not at the forefront of my mind. Deep in the recesses, however, I'm dreaming about an island with palm fronds and white sandy beaches, a candle-lit dinner table set for two, a Jacuzzi, a chilled bottle of champagne.... Back to reality, however, my husband is shouldering the suitcase-packing chore and the children's bath, so that I can write in peace. This, on a very prosaic level, is also extremely romantic."

Abbey MacInnis (www.abbeymacinnish.com) says "I love creating flawed heroes and heroines who are perfect for each other. I love the process of discovery that each character goes through. In fiction, as in life, loving yourself is the most important thing because you can't love anyone else otherwise. I hope that perhaps I'll give a reader somewhere the courage to change their life for the better, even if just in some small way. I started writing romance because I love how reading them makes me feel. I'm happier, lighter, freer. My worries disappear for a while. And when I return to the real world, I have a different outlook on my problems/ Love can inspire hope and optimism. And sometimes, all we need is a little hope that everything will be alright."

So I guess I'll keep on dreaming of knights on white chargers (or at least a white Mustang) and happy endings. Because that's what we all want, right? If you want to check out my latest romance - Secrets and Seduction - go to www.janebeckenham.com

Happy reading
Jane Beckenham


Tina Donahue said...

Great post, Jane - your hubby sounds wonderful. Kudos to both of you for adopting. Are the girls siblings? Hope they're doing great!

jean hart stewart said...

My dauaghter is adopted too. Now grown and the joy of my life, although I won't deny there have been moments when she was a teen-ager I wouldn't want to repeat. It's all so worthwhile, though. My husband gave one look at her when we brought her home and said "she's lovely" and she remained daddy's pet.

JaneB said...

OH the Teen years - just gross!

Girls are always daddy's girls, i think


Phoebe Conn said...

Wonderful thoughts on romance. I began writing after Ricardo Montalban did a commercial for Silhouette Romances. I thank him every time I'm a speaker for any group. I owe my entire writing career to one lovely commercial. Ricardo knew how to embody romance.

Fiona McGier said...

Phoebe, I agree! He can spread me out on "Corinthian leather" anytime!

Jane Beckenham said...

Think i;m showing my age, i know the name of the actor but no idea who he is.

Jane - who is actually really feeling her age today- plus another 40 years on top of it.

Fiona McGier said...

He was "Khan" in the 2nd Star Trek movie, and oh, so hot in that, as a twisted genetically-improved man. He had a commercial for a car (Chevy, I think), where he raved about the "Corinthian leather" seats!) And he was the host on "Fantasy Island". Of course he was in lots of movies before the Star Trek one, and always good-looking, but never the lead...usually the bad guy. That was back when "foreign-looking" meant you had to be the bad guy, because, heavens, we can't have white women thinking you're sexy and all! (grin!)