Speaking Up for Romance Readers Like Me

Speaking Up for Romance Readers Like Me

(The following blog debuted on Chris the Reading Ape’s Blog, an author-focused blog in 11/2013.)

When Chris Graham gave me the opportunity to introduce myself to you, I was over the moon. For one thing, as someone who spent over a decade of her professional life in marketing and the past eight years writing for media, much of my “day job” has been spent promoting other people’s “babies”, those things that mean so much to them than to the rest of their team. But this was finally the chance to tout something that truly means so much to me, more than anything else I’ve ever promoted before. That’s quite an opportunity and one that I don’t take lightly. So thank you again, Chris, for your generosity.

 

So who am I? Well, I’m you. A voracious reader. But technically, my name is Chris Kuhn. Christine, by birth, but only call me that if I’m in trouble. After years as a marketer, I was finally able to put next to my name, writer/editor and now I’m thrilled that I can add to that “published author.”

 

How did I get here? I spent an entire summer getting lost in a genre a few years ago – contemporary romance. I didn’t expect to enjoy it either. After all, I had given up on reading fiction for years, sinking myself instead into juicy biographies of famous entertainers or sticking my nose into useful, practical non-fiction revolving around personal finance, home organization or travel. And then, one day, all of that changed. I had to read what everybody was talking about: the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. Like many women, I was enamored by this new book boyfriend Christian Grey, who we all were convinced if placed in our hands, could lead him to a much healthier, happier home life with us. But it led me to other books and authors under the contemporary romance umbrella who I soon discovered *whispers* wrote better stories than what had become the most talked about book series since Twilight and Harry Potter.

 

So I read. And read. And read some more. And about 50 to 60 book titles later (at least), I was still in love with this genre that celebrated love and lust and everything in between, but something was missing for me. My voice, for one thing. And I don’t mean my voice as a writer, I mean my voice as an early 40s college-educated professional woman. Within the genre I had been immersed, many of the lead characters were young women in their early 20s who lacked confidence or hadn’t found their professional place in the world and were being “rescued” by older men. A majority of the books lacked any humor and fun when it came to love and sex that any great romance novel should have (at least in my opinion). And while I had seen plenty of thirty-something and forty-something men sweeping away a fresh-out-of-college (or still in college) twenty-something heroine, I had not seen the reverse: the older woman, younger man. So I started tinkering – I wrote one scene, liked it and wrote another and another. Soon, I had what ended up being three of my first six chapters. I liked these characters and wanted to see them meet but in order to do that, I had to fill in the rest of the story, and that’s what I set out to do last summer through this past spring. The result? My first book, a contemporary romance, The Muse Unlocked, which just released in late August 2013.

 

So far, the response from readers, across the board, has been very positive – women from ages 20s through 60s have told me how much they loved meeting Cate and Oliver, the story’s two leads and following their journeys, and they have embraced the book’s underlying theme which is – we are all desirable the moment we can allow ourselves to see and believe in our own unique beauty.

 

I’ve even received positive feedback from male readers who have picked up my book, which has been a wonderful surprise since admittedly I did expect my reader would likely be a female, but it is also a demonstration that you do not have to be of a particular demographic or even a regular reader of the genre to appreciate what is a multi-layered human drama that yes, features love, too, but also humor, an appreciation of the arts, movies and other popular culture and a seriously good soundtrack.

 

I hope that you will stop by my Website or interact with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or GoodReads and please say hello. I’d absolutely love to hear from you. And if you are interested in checking out my new book, click this title, THE MUSE UNLOCKED.

 

So mind your muse, listen to your heart and embrace every opportunity that presents itself as a gift just waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed. To quote one of my characters, “Here, here, no fear!”

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