Thursday, January 8, 2015

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Romance Author Joyce DeBacco "Transitioning from Category Romance to Women's Fiction"

Joyce DeBacco, Author
Romance Novels
Having reared four grown daughters and helped run her husband’s business, romance author Joyce DeBacco confronted the problems women face in a real world. A reader of romantic novels for many years led her to want to create her own stories resulting in almost a dozen published romantic novels. Reviewers applaud her romances with their “complex characters and an intriguing story line” that “never descends into the sappy dialogue and thought processes of a swooning nymphette” but offers “a more pragmatic view of love in today's society.”

The following post by DeBacco, originally published on this blog in 2012, differentiates the more traditional category romance approach to writing a romantic novel, from a more modern approach to women’s fiction, which she has adopted.

Transitioning from Category Romance to Women’s Fiction
Joyce DeBacco

There was a time when women’s fiction was synonymous with bodice rippers. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Although romance is still a large part of our reading material, women today want more from their fiction. With more women in the workforce now, either by choice or necessity, our reading time is understandably limited. While it’s fun to occasionally indulge in a fluffy romance or a sexy read, many women prefer to read what’s relevant to them. It’s the reason little girls want dolls that reflect their ethnicity or coloring. And, because we’re strong women, we don’t always want the female to follow the male’s lead; we can think for ourselves. On the other hand, sometimes we want to be taken care of. It’s a fine balance.

It’s not hard to figure out from my writing that my preference is for women’s fiction. Although at one time, I tried my hand at category romance in order to submit to the popular romance publishers of the day, I just couldn’t adhere to their strict requirements as to length or timing. I didn’t want my hero and heroine to meet, fall in love, and live happily ever after according to some arbitrary formula. I wanted to do it my way.

Of course, at the heart of any good women’s fiction is authenticity, and family dynamics is an important part of my fiction. One of the greatest compliments an author can get is when a reader says their characters seem like real people. As mothers, we’ve all dealt with a toddler’s temper tantrum or a teen’s rebellion. And it’s the rare woman who hasn’t experienced sibling rivalry or mother-daughter issues. The characters in my books face these problems as well. They may not always say the right thing at the right time, but that’s what makes it real. It’s also why some of my characters are well-educated and some are not; some are professionals and some are not. They’re a microcosm of society. The important thing is that they’re all motivated by love of home and family.

In the end, women’s fiction is about life. As wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, we strive to keep our home lives and professional lives separate. When they do overlap, we do the best we can to blend them; multi-tasking has always been part and parcel of a woman’s life, from pioneer days to the present. Today’s woman can be the head of a corporation or the head of a family, and women’s fiction has evolved to reflect that. Today the hand that rocks the cradle is just as apt to rock the business world. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

About Joyce DeBacco

After reading women’s fiction for many years, Joyce knew she wanted to create stories of her own. As the mother of four grown daughters, she’s familiar with the problems women face finding love, raising children, and stepping back when necessary. While raising her daughters, she also ran the office of her husband’s sub-contracting business, so she’s quite familiar with multi-tasking. She is happiest when she’s secluded in her office creating new worlds and people to populate them. When she’s not taxing her brain with plot, structure, and grammar, she likes to sew, particularly quilts. When she really wants to rest her brain, she sprawls out in front of the TV and tries not to fall asleep. Please visit her website, for information about her Tea or Sympathy light romance series, her short fiction collection called Midnight and Holding, or her six women’s fiction novels, Serendipity House, named Best Indie Romance of 2011 at Red Adept Reviews, Rubies and Other Gems, Tomorrow Blossoms, Where Dreams Are Born, So Wonderful as Want, and The Mercy of Time and Chance.

About Joyce DeBacco’s Books

Sylvie was a pleaser. She did as her mother pleased, and she did as her fiancé pleased. Then she did as she pleased. Determined to take back her life, she heads to the hills instead of the altar on the day she's to wed.

Spans three generations of an Italian-American family. The first generation is steeped in old world customs and values, living in the manner expected of them by their church and community. The second clings to the old and familiar while the world around them changes. The third embraces the modern but reverts to the past when it suits them.

Lily’s life isn’t going well. Her husband is clueless and her children are rudderless. It's little wonder she seeks comfort in her dreams, unaware that her grandmother’s rubies have transported her back through time to a safer, saner existence.

Dinah’s dream of ever leaving her small Southwest Florida town before and during the land boom of the twenties seems doomed when she finds herself pregnant by an unscrupulous, older man. Young Zach also has a dream. He wants to be his own man, go his own way. But when tragedy strikes Dinah’s family, his soft heart won’t allow him to walk away. Years later, the stock market is soaring, Tyler’s the wealthiest man in the county, and Dinah’s had it up to her jeweled earlobes with the grand life. Then Tyler and Zach decide to enter politics, and she has another choice to make. Will she support the candidate who wants to further develop the sun-kissed coast, or jeopardize her marriage by supporting the one who wants to preserve it for future generations?

When Kate’s husband, Ward, locates the son she put up for adoption as an unwed teen, she’s understandably wary. What if he looks like his father instead of Ward?

Tea or Sympathy Light Romance Series

When Addie inherits her parents’ antique shop, she wonders how she can pursue her New York career and keep the shop her parents loved in her small hometown.

After the death of her husband, Pam devotes herself to raising their daughter. When she meets Barry, she begins to dream again.

Demoralized by a cheating husband, Maggie is determined to prove her worth by starting her own business.

Purchase Links

E-books only

Author Links

Twitter: @JoyceDeBacco

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