Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Romance - Does It Work For You?

When people ask me how I got into writing romance, I shrug and tell the it's because I have a squishy heart filled with flowers and rainbows.  I looooove romance, the schmaltzier the better.  Therefore it should come as no surprise that I adore watching all the Christmas movies featured on ABC Family, the Hallmark channel and Lifetime.  Yup, I am that woman.  Love 'em all.  Maybe it is the emphasis on large family gatherings (I'm an only child), or the way the small towns twinkle under a frosting of snow (I'm from Los Angeles, where it usually hit 68 degrees on December 25 - geez, my childhood really messed with my world-view, didn't it?), but they make me happy.

So why not write a Christmas-themed romance?  The holiday does come every year, so demand would be high for my book, and it would have a guaranteed shelf life.  As a side note, my local library has a wait list 12 people long for Christie Ridgway's Must Love Mistletoe, and it came out five years ago.  It isn't as trendy as, say, vampires, so the road to publication might be a tad less crowded.  And I'm certainly a big fan of the subject matter. 

I thought about it for a few days in August, when I was mulling which project to embark upon next.  Perhaps the sticky heat of the Ocean City beach wasn't the ideal time or place to mull, but I don't think it colored my decision.  I don't want to write a Christmas romance.  At least, not now.  Not because I'd have to play carols for six months straight and drive my husband bonkers.  Not because I'd gain ten pounds from eating spritz cookies and calling it 'research'.  Despite all the sound business reasons to give it a whirl, I'm passing because I don't want to ruin Christmas. 

Romance novels are full of love and sex, sure, but they are also full of conflict.  And I just can't do it.  I can't inject heart-wrenching conflict into my favorite merry season.  Perfectly happy to see the result when others do it, but I don't have it in me.  I can't be the one to knowingly ruin Christmas, even if I'd be the one to make it all happy snowflakes and wrapped engagement rings in the end.  Does that make me a wuss?  Maybe.  But there are lots of other holidays out there for me to explore.  I'll make sure to be open to any stray story ideas on New Year's Eve...

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