Today I celebrate the re-release of some dearly loved books of mine from earlier years. The tiny novella Getting to Yes, the Rita-nominated My So-Called Love Life, and The Perfect Blend were the first “category” romances I’d ever written, and they are still reader favorites. It was such a pleasure to revisit them, tweak them into a series I’ve dubbed “Sweet City Hearts,” and give them a new life in the book world.
As a writer and a reader, I learned a few things along the way.
Some things never change. The thrill of that kiss you’ve waited the whole book for, the surge of pleasure you get when reading a line that makes you go “oh, yes!”, the torture of loving something (instead of someone) too much, break-up ice cream binges, and the wisdom of a good friend brave enough to tell the truth.
Some things do change. Phones rarely have receivers anymore. Everyone—or, okay almost everyone—texts. Some exclamations are dead-bolted to certain decades and sound funny years later. And while the breakfast cereal bar was a newfangled thing back when I wrote My So-Called Love Life, it had died off long enough for me to just hear this week that it has enjoyed a brand new resurgence in New York City. Like it’s a new thing. They’re right—there really is no such thing as a new thing; only old things reimagined in new ways.
Voice is voice is voice is voice is voice.
Not to take one molecule away from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tear-inducing Tony awards speech, but the voice I see in these books is just a version of the voice I see in all my books. Sure, snappy first-person dialogue may be my “mother tongue,” as anyone who knows me will attest. But if I do it right, what makes me me as a writer comes through no matter if I’m writing chick-lit, western, historical, small town, or contemporary. Friends say reading many of my books is like “hearing me in their heads”—something I take as a compliment, even if they say it’s a bit unnerving or just downright weird. (I am downright weird, come to think of it…) Reading these particularly unique books has reminded me that my voice is particularly unique to me and something to be nurtured and treasured, not stuffed into a marketing trend. And my best weapon to fight the wrong around me.
Because, above all, they’re just plain fun. And about love. And why love matters. They've been called uplifting, joyful, happy-ending, and even laugh-out-loud funny—and who among us doesn’t need more of that right now?