Writing What You Enjoy
by Georgina Penney
“I expected so much better of you!”
My brain went plink and I tried my best not to have an over-dramatic moment at the friend reading the first page of a manuscript I’d just spent years working on.
“Ah… what did you expect?” I asked.
“I don’t know… something more you. Have you read God of Small Things by Arundharti Roy? Something like that. You’re so good at describing things! I wanted that. I wanted something more… more…literary”
If you’re a chick lit writer or romance writer who has a history in literary studies like I do, this whole “coming-out-of-the-closet” conversation is probably your worst nightmare when you’re first starting out. It was definitely mine and I’d been anticipating it for ages.
Although, expecting it and experiencing the hot-cold flush of having my work judged against a spectacularly talented Man-Booker Prize winner was vastly different. For one thing, in my dreams I’d come up with a wonderfully witty and quite bawdy defense. What I managed was the kind of noise that a cow makes when its tummy’s too full of fibrous grassy goodness. Kind of a blaaart sound if I remember correctly.
And then, unexpectedly came a massive wave of relief. I was out to the last of my friends and it wasn’t a big deal. I’ve never written with aspirations of winning the Man-Booker. (For starters, can you imagine how stiff and proper that awards ceremony must be? I shudder at the thought of wearing Spanx to contain my square bottom for that long). I write chick lit and romance; fluffy stories with a bit of naughtiness, a bit of sadness and a giddy, joy-filled ending all rolled into one. I write books for people like myself; people who have way too much going on in their lives to digest a whole lot of seriousness along with their morning cornflakes. And that’s awesome.
Since my debut novel Irrepressible You has been released, I’ve discovered that there’s a whole lot of ladies (and a surprisingly large number of gentlemen) who are looking for the same thing I am in their reading. Like me, they’ve got Kindles, Kobos and nooks stuffed full of stories that make their busy days just that little bit happier, the stress-weight in their chests that little bit lighter and that cause their happy hormones to do a tap dance instead of hiding truculently behind the bike sheds.
To be able to write books that can do that for people, I think, is one of the most wonderful things in the world.
Georgina Penney first discovered romance novels when she was eleven and has been a fan of the genre ever since. It took her another eighteen years to finally sit in front of a keyboard and get something down on the page but that’s alright, she was busy doing other things until then. Today she lives with her wonderful husband, Tony in a wooden stilt house on the edge of the Bornean jungle along with a contrary stray cat named Milli Vanilli.