Why I Write Women’s FictionPosted: June 22, 2013
This guest post is by another of my fellow authors over at Turquoise Morning Press, Linda Rettstatt.
When I first began to write, I knew very little about creating a novel-length story or of all the mechanics that went into writing. I also knew little about genre. I knew what I enjoyed reading, so it made sense to write that kind of story. My favorite author at the time was Elizabeth Berg. She is brilliant at writing character-driven stories of women—ordinary women—who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Her characters are the women who live next door or down the street, or who work in the next cubicle. But Berg takes the reader into the emotional and psychological depths of these women who, as they face life changes and challenges, make us—the readers—feel just a little less alone in our own struggles. She makes us laugh at ourselves.
Some might say that my own background as a psychotherapist who’s done a great deal of counseling with women would lend to writing this genre. And they would probably be right. I set out not to write like Berg, but to write stories about women facing challenges and possessing both vulnerability and strength. I targeted women readers and branded my writing as: Writing for Women—Stories of strength, love, humor and hope. These are the elements I consciously try to incorporate into every book. These are the elements I also find in the books of other writers whose work I admire. Berg, of course, Kris Radish, Elin Hilderbrand, Claire Cook—just to name a few. Kris Radish, a bestselling author in her own right, was kind of enough to give me a quote for Unconditional. Now that’s exciting, when one of the authors you most admire comments (positively) on your work. A true ‘squee’ moment.
Although I also write contemporary romance, when I sit down to write a new women’s fiction novel, it’s like slipping my feet into an old, familiar pair of shoes. They just fit right. Some have asked me, “What’s the difference? Your women’s fiction books often contain romance.” What can I say—I’m a romantic at heart. And romance is largely targeted at a female audience. I don’t think that placing my books under either heading locks them into one or the other sub-genre, but gives readers a hint that women are especially going to identify with the story and the characters. At least, that’s my hope.
Linda Rettstatt is an award-winning author who discovered her passion for writing after years of working in the human services field. When she’s not writing, Linda loves travel, nature photography, and figuring out what makes people tick. Her fantasy is to win the lottery, buy an old Victorian home on the eastern shore and open a writers’ retreat. While she waits for that fantasy to materialise, she continues to live and work in NW Mississippi and to write under the constant observation of her tuxedo cat, Binky.
Unconditional (May, 2013, Turquoise Morning Press)
Meg Flores has it all—a loving family, a fulfilling career, and marriage to her best friend, Thomas. She is devastated when her husband announces he wants a divorce so he can pursue a relationship with his secretary—his male secretary. For Meg, the betrayal goes beyond that of a cheating husband. She is losing her best friend and the hopes for adding a child to her life.
Available from Turquoise Morning Press, or at Amazon.com, B&N.com and Smashwords.com.