Ahead of our Romancing the Page workshop, we talked romance and literary lovers with popular novelist Anne Gracie. (Please note that this workshop was originally scheduled for Mother’s Day, but will now take place on Sunday 4 May.)
How did you get into romance writing?
Initially I thought writing romance would be a quick and easy way to fund a more “literary career” – I knew nothing about romance then, only the urban myths that abound about the genre. But once I started reading widely within the genre and saw the huge range of stories published, I realised I could write the stories that I wanted to write, that I didn’t have to write “to formula” as I’d assumed. I found that writing romance isn’t easy, but it is a lot of fun. I’ve never looked back. Sixteen books published!
How do you stay inspired and find fresh stories?
It’s easy. New story ideas come all the time, and the genre itself is constantly reinventing itself and expanding. But at the heart of every romance novel there are people, and people are endlessly fascinating and surprising. The difficulty isn’t about staying inspired, it’s finding the time to write all the things I want to write.
Do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic?
I am in lots of ways. I do believe in the power of love to change people and inspire them to change their lives. It’s one of the most transforming things in our lives. I’m a “Love Actually” kind of romantic, though – the sort that sees all kinds of love in all kinds of people. I’ve spent my life working in underprivileged areas and with people whose lives are often in crisis, so I’m not blind to the problems in society. But I still believe in love and I see it all around me.
Who is your favourite literary lover?
That’s a hard one – there are so many to choose from. I’m going to avoid all the literary lovers that ended up dead – I like a happy ending, thank you. I’ll go for Damerel, in Georgette Heyer’s Venetia. He’s a wickedly funny, poetry-spouting, flirtatious bad boy, a nineteenth century rake who, when he falls for the lovely Venetia, tries to stay away from her for her own good. Of course she’s a spirited heroine who gives as good as she gets, and she won’t stand for such foolishness.
Anne Gracie‘s latest book is The Winter Bride (Penguin Australia).