Ruocco discusses all her “literary” works (blah blah blah) — Man’s Companions (TS 2010) among them — but to our throbbing delight, she also offers a peak into her blossoming pseudonymous career(s) as romance writers Toni Jones (No Secrets in Spandex) and Alessandra Shahbaz (Midnight Flame), which makes us swoon — and also makes us wonder why we haven’t already launched a genre imprint.
[B]ecause the romance genre is so conventionalized, there’s more that’s given to you as a writer to work with. You don’t have the same pressure to come up with an “original” voice because even the valance of “original” is different. The books are more comfortable with citation and influence and all that. Readers read widely in the genre and read in order to repeat a certain experience—and writers need to fulfill expectations.
As a kid, I used to read lots of Harlequins because you could buy bags of them at a book tent down the street from my dad’s pizza shop. I’d take change from the till, buy fifty Harlequin Romances, and come back and read them sitting on the sacks of flour eating pepperoni.
Writing romance novels is more fun than writing anything else, in my experience. It’s the time that writing feels most like reading.