My guilty little secret

So there I was at work, pulling an all-nighter because I suddenly found myself writing and editing a newspaper totally by myself, and my computer didn’t work and it was 2 a.m. and I was hungry and tired and I just wanted to go home.

Then I discovered this in the area where we keep books that come in for review:


Oh-oh-oh! A delicious and hot romance.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Cinthia, I didn’t think you read romance novels.

Well, I usually don’t. Oh, I used to when I was younger, and I remember reading a thick romance book while hitchhiking out West years and years ago. I sat in the back of cars, the windows rolled down, warm wind across my face, and I read so I wouldn’t have to talk, read so I wouldn’t have to listen to the stories told by lonely people who pick up hitchhikers.

This romance is different, though. I noticed it as I flipped to the back to check out the author bio (does anyone else do this, read the author bio before deciding whether to read the book?).

For one thing, it’s tastefully hot and not porn-in-your-face hot.

But that’s not what grabbed me. It’s that the author lives in Alaska. And she graduated from Harvard.

Yes, Harvard. And she doesn’t write literary fiction or poetry or deep and complicated essays.

She writes Avon paperback romance novels with a bit of steam.

Jennifer, you are my new hero. I swear! (Please, please, please can I interview you for my blog?)

I often feel guilty for writing women’s fiction. I feel as if I should write deep and lyrical literary fiction. And I do write literary essays and poetry but when it comes to fiction, I want it to be fun, I want it to be homey, I want it to feel like sitting with a girlfriend and drinking tea and talking about life.

Mostly I read women’s fiction: Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Mary Gordon, etc. There’s something about cozying up with a women’s novel that makes me feel warm and snuggled inside. Which is exactly how I want readers of my books to feel.

Hi, Jennifer! Can I come and drink tea with you the next time I’m down in Homer?

The other thing that bothers me about literary fiction is that it’s written for an educated public, for those with literature or academic backgrounds, those lucky enough to have graduated from college. While I am included in this group, I also grew up on a farm and value the simple life, the simple thoughts, the simple books.

It’s something to ponder about. And I’d ponder longer except I really must get back to Sex and the Single Fireman. Sabina is about to find out that the hot crush she almost fell into bed with is actually the new fireman assigned to her station. So. Much. Fun.

10 thoughts on “My guilty little secret

  1. Cinthia – I love this post, and I’d love to appear on your blog! Don’t get me started on the literary/genre dichotomy though. You might get a rant. 😉 I’m excited to discover you, your blog and your book. 🙂


    1. Jennifer! I’m so excited that you wrote on my blog. I am going to stalk you the next time we’re down in Homer (we have a cabin off East End Road but haven’t been for a bit since our dog is very old and can’t travel and we can’t leave her with anyone else, either, because she poops all over the floor). And how cool that you’ll be appearing on my blog–that will be so much fun. Can’t wait to pry down inside your mind. Until then, happy writing.


  2. Oh I love this–discovery both of a book and of its author! Of course I look at the author bio, maybe not very first thing, but definitely second thing. I’ve been thinking about the “literary/genre contrast,” as Jennifer so neatly summarized it, quite a bit myself lately. I see both sides having merit, and I’m sad sometimes that the ‘literary’ side has to be so defensive in a snobby way, and the ‘genre’ side has to be defensive in a ‘we’re the real thing’ way. Now I’m going to sound trite and redundant, but I do truly believe there is space for both–and in nonfiction and poetry too. And I think that’s where you land with your book.


    1. Ah, Ela, I love you so. Truly! Miss you, too. Hope you’re heading up to Anchorage soon. Cheers, happy writing and literary (and mainstream, hee, hee) reflections, and take care of yourself. Big, big hugs,


  3. Loved the blog post, then the meeting in the comments. It’s such a storybook—bloggybook ending?!

    I read the author bio, and also the blurbs, what another author says about a book–that has made me read books before. And also has made me mad, so if you blurb about a book, make it a good one!


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