Everyone’s an Expert
One thing you learn fast when you start to write is that everyone around you is an expert in writing fiction. You get advice on length, content, style, covers, marketing…you name it—all unsolicited and mostly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about, i.e. family! Because of this, I thought I’d compile a list of the most memorable advice I’ve received and share it with you here, so that you too can learn from this wisdom.
- My mother:
Mum: “You should write those romance books that don’t have sex. You know the ones with the crimes.”
Me: “You mean crime novels?”
Mum: “Aye, but now that I think about it, you were never any good at getting away with things as a child. Maybe you should write something that doesn’t have sex or crime. Something friendly.”
Me: “Something friendly?”
Mum: “How about a nice poem? You could write a poem about flowers?”
Me: “I’m hanging up now.”
- My eight year old daughter:
“Why don’t you write something people read? Like Harry Potter books.”
- My twelve year old daughter:
Me: What do you think of this cover design? (Shows her image of shirtless guy with title art.)
Her: He looks cold. Have you thought of putting cats on your covers? Everybody loves cats.
- My husband:
Him: You need to write faster. All the experts say you need to put out a book a month.
Me: What experts?
Him: I saw it on CNN.
Me: How long did the show last?
Him: Five minutes. They knew what they were talking about. You need more books. You should think less and write more. The thinking is slowing you down.
Me: How many books have you written again?
Him: This is the problem, you won’t accept advice… (Goes off to watch more CNN)
- Random stranger:
Her: You’re a writer? I’ve got a story for you. Where’s your notebook? You’ll want to write it down. You write romance? Never mind that, this story is way better. It all started long ago…
Me: (Mentally bangs head off wall repeatedly…)
- My sister:
Her: I don’t understand why you write romantic comedy. You aren’t funny.
Me: I don’t understand why you’re still breathing. I should have dealt with that when you were a kid.
Her: Now I get it.
- My pet goat:
Goat: takes one look at the manuscript and eats it…
The moral of this blog post? Unless they read your books, are invested in your career and know what they’re talking about, just smile and move on. Then write about them in your next novel! If I had a dollar for every time I’ve killed my husband off in a book…😉 Happy reading everyone.
About Janet Elizabeth Henderson
Janet Elizabeth Henderson is the author of fifteen romance novels, including the award winning Benson Security series (romantic suspense) and the Scottish Highlands series (contemporary romantic comedy). Her novel, Rage, is currently a finalist in the romantic suspense category of the prestigious Holt Medallion competition. Although born and raised in Scotland, she now lives in New Zealand with her Dutch husband, two kids and far too many animals to list here. She’s currently working on a series in a new-for-her romance genre that will be released by Entangled later this year. She’s represented by Nalini Akolekar at Spencerhill literary agency.
Who are some of your favorite authors and books?
I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips. My favorite one of her books is Dream a Little Dream. Love it. I’ve read it so many times I feel like I’ve lived it. Apart from that I love, love, love Christine Feehan, Nalini Singh and Lora Leigh. (I’ve been in a paranormal romance reading phase for the past few years and don’t see it ending any time soon!)
What’s your favorite genre?
Paranormal romance. I started reading it because I didn’t write it and got hooked.
What gives you inspiration for your books?
My life. Which is a chaotic mess of rescued animals, young kids and a husband who is obsessive about DIY. (Obsessive, not skilled!) I’ve also travelled a lot and worked abroad for a huge chunk of my career. Those experiences feed into my romantic suspense novels. The last book, Ransom, is set in the Amazon rainforest where I once worked for a few months. I felt like I was visiting it again as I wrote the story—one of the perks of being a writer!
What is your biggest pet peeve? Heroines that are too stupid to live!
Do you have anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for reading my books! <3 And thanks for talking to me about them. I love to interact with you on Facebook and I love the emails you send me. Keep it up! 😉
Thank you Janet for taking your time to do an author guest post on my blog! I’m looking forward to checking out your books!