Thank you J.C. for letting me crash your blog! (I totally promise to be good!). First of all, I want to say, “Hi!” to all of you out there and introduce myself (because it weirds me out when I read guest posts and I don’t know anything about the person writing.) My name is Alexis Anne and I write books!
Q: What kind of books do you write?
A: Well… I keep trying to write all kinds of books, but the ones that keep getting published are the super sexy ones! So the short answer is: I write Erotic and Contemporary Romance. The long answer is: I write Erotic and Contemporary Romance, as well as Action Adventure, Science Fiction, and Non-Fiction!
Q: Why do you keep publishing romance if you are also trying to write in all these other genres (and are you really tired?)?
A: YES! I am very tired and possibly suffering from delusions of grandeur. It’s kind of insane to think you can write and balance multiple books—let alone multiple genres. But to answer your question, I keep coming back to romance for two reasons. Number one: it sells. In 2014 it is estimated that Romance was a $1.44 billion dollar industry. (You can read all about how kickass the romance genre is here: http://www.bustle.com/articles/76077-romance-novels-are-primed-to-make-an-impact-on-society-so-stop-calling-them-trashy-ok)
And that isn’t out of the norm, either. The numbers are only growing. It is an industry of women, by women, and for women. Who make a lot of money. I feel at home here and when I go to conferences I am standing side by side with other women discussing marketing, industry share, and business plans, at the same time we discuss the art of writing, critique, and fiction as art. Compared to other genres there isn’t anywhere else I can imagine being this empowered to grow my own business, or more welcome to be innovative and creative.
Basically, romance kicks ass.
The other reason I keep coming back to romance is life. I’m an anthropologist by training and I try to weave the intricacies and realities of real life into the pages of my fiction. Especially topics that affect women. They are woefully under represented in just about everything, so to be part of an industry that not only welcomes diverse storylines (from the fantastical to the dark and gritty) but also diversity of women, is kind of an honor.
Q: But you said you write super sexy books…
A: True! Romance is also fun because you can include super sexy stuff! There are two things about romance novels that are important: a love story and a happily ever after. If you are writing a love story, it is inevitable that kissing—at the very least—is going to show up somewhere. I love love, I love all the ways in which sexually attracted people love and interact, and so I love feeling free to explore that in the course of a story. It feels inauthentic to close the door when sex is an inevitable and hopefully fulfilling part of all of our lives.
Q: What is this happily ever stuff you mentioned? It sounds like Cinderella.
A: For some of us real life is hard enough as it is. We don’t need to fantasize about struggles. And we don’t need to imagine hopelessness or darkness. It lives with us—or inside us. When we turn to fiction we are looking to escape and knowing there is a guaranteed happy ending at the conclusion of a story creates a safe environment for the reader who doesn’t like a surprise (miserable) ending. This isn’t exclusive to romance. You’ll find your fair share of science fiction and action adventure fans who demand that everything work out in the end.
Q: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re saying a lot of things about fiction here. Fiction is reality and fantasy, it’s art… what’s going on here?
A: Fiction is a perfect playground to explore. You can experience things (safely) through someone else’s eyes. Studies show again and again that reading fiction (particularly literary fiction) makes the reader more empathetic (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201412/can-reading-fictional-story-make-you-more-empathetic). It allows the reader to experience things they may never otherwise experience, or (possibly) work through problems they would never otherwise be able to safely experience.
So it’s a great place to write about gritty reality. It’s also a great place to expand and explore fantasy—to allow creativity to run wild and see where imagination can take us. It’s also art because it takes the right combination of words, in just the right way, to evoke emotions in the reader. To paint landscapes that can only be seen in the mind’s eye. To describe times long since past (or yet to be).
Q: Do guys read romance? I mean…guys don’t really like reading about love stories.
A: Yes, guys read romance. And the ones who don’t, should. But let’s take a nice long look at a lot of those spy novels, mysteries, and science fiction books the “guys” are reading.
Love story. Love story. Love story.
Love stories are everywhere. Love is one of the things that drives us as a species. Romance gets segregated out from the other genres because the focus of the story is on the burgeoning relationship between two people.
But almost every story is ultimately about the developing relationships of people. And this might be exactly why more guys should get over the stigma of reading love stories. They need to read about love and life just as much as women. And if he’s the kind of guy who likes sexy times… well, there is quite a lot of that in the pages of romance novels.
I think guys scoffing at romance is kind of dumb. If they need a reading list, have them shoot me an email. I’ll get them some great starter books!
Plus, I know a lot (a lot!) of couple who read erotic romances together. It’s fun! It’s an easy way to spice things up and share in an experience together. It’s way better (and more satisfying) than certain short movies, and less expensive than a date night!
Q: Alright. Let’s see if I’ve got all this right. Fiction is about real life and fantasy. It’s art. It can be super sexy, make you more empathetic, and give you a break. I think I see why all you writers like your job.
A: That’s not really a question, but yes! You’ve got it. Being a writer is the best job in the whole universe and everyone should read books.
I want to thank J.C. for having me around and letting me interview myself. I’ve been really busy lately and have (apparently) finally started talking to myself in public.
Alexis Anne is the author of The Storm Inside, Reflected in the Rain, When Lightning Strikes, the Tease serial, and Filters. She holds a master’s degree in Applied Anthropology and uses her experiences as a consumer ethnographer, archaeologist, and oral historian to write emotional, character-driven romance. She loves the beach, whiskey, good music, and binge watching entire television series over a long weekend in bed with her husband.
Alexis Anne Links:
First Draught Writing: http://firstdraughtwriting.com/