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Guest blogger: Melanie Milburne

19 February 2017

melanie-milburneDoes becoming a romance writer inhibit or enhance your love of reading romance?

Before I was published I used to read dozens of romance novels every year. I read bundles of category and single titles as well as other genres of fiction. But now with having just completed my 75th book for Harlequin Mills and Boon, I’ve been reflecting on my current reading patterns and they are quite different from the start of my career.

Firstly, I find it almost impossible to read a category romance now (or any romance, really) without my editor/author cap on. It takes a really powerful and well-crafted story to make me take that cap off and get fully immersed in the story.

Do I still enjoy them? Yes, mostly. But that pesky editor inside me is often critical of things like head hopping or overuse of adverbs, or a weak plot or unrealistic dialogue or clichéd characters.

Did I do those things early in my career? Yes. I am ashamed to say that up until my 47th book I was still head hopping, not sentence by sentence but it was still head hopping. I thought that was the way romance novels were supposed to be written but then I started reading more and more books on the craft of writing and found it was considered a big no-no. One scene, one point of view. It took me a while to change but I’m so glad I persevered.

I am sure there are many readers (and writers) who don’t worry at all about head hopping. But I’m noticing more and more of the newer writers are not head hopping and I think it gives their writing a level of sophistication I wished I’d had early in my career.

Secondly, I read category with more caution now, as I’m worried my subconscious will pick up a phrase or scene and transplant it in my mind. I often sit in front of my computer after I’ve typed a phrase that sounds good and thought: Yikes! Is that mine? Or someone else’s?

The thing is, creative people do think alike so there will always be a book on the shelf next to mine with a similar story line or even characters in similar careers.

But is it just romance novels that I am critical of? No. I am just as critical when I read other genres of fiction. Perhaps this happens to most authors, they see things differently because they are now part of the industry, which used to have mystique when they were outside of it.

What are your experiences as a reader or writer? Have your tastes or tolerances changed? One signed copy of The Temporary Mrs Marchetti, my March 2017 Harlequin Presents release for one commenter. (The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Amy Ella.)

Best wishes,
Melanie Milburne

Melanie Milburne loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it. She grew up with a love of reading and reading her first romance book at age seventeen heavily influenced her decision to become a romance author.

She has won several awards for her fast-paced, passionate stories, including Australian Romance Writers Romantic Book of the Year in 2011 and Australian Romance Readers in 2008 and RT top pick and Cataromance Reviewer’s Choice Awards. And a HOLT Medallion winner in 2015. RWNZ Koru Award of Excellence in 2015. As well as HOLT Medallion Award of Merit in 2014 and 2016.

You can find Melanie here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Author Page

the-temporary-mrs-marchettiThe Temporary Mrs Marchetti

The rules of engagement …

hen Cristiano Marchetti proposes to former mistress Alice Piper, the deal has an expiry date. He has six months to fulfil the conditions of his grandmother’s will. But the hotelier has another agenda—exacting revenge on Alice for daring to walk away seven years before!

Alice needs the financial security her enemy is providing, but soon their every clash is a shockingly tempting encounter. Yet as she uncovers the man beneath the hard-hearted exterior, the future Mrs. Marchetti wonders if she could break the rules of their engagement … and walk down the aisle as more than Cristiano’s temporary bride!

Find it on Goodreads | Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks

  1. 20 February 2017 3:43 pm

    I am very new so hesitated in commenting but the truth is my reading has changed. I notice more in others. Sometimes not for the better and sometimes it adds a dimension.

  2. liztyner permalink
    20 February 2017 1:46 am

    That pesky editor inside. A great help for writing just not so handy for reading! Congratulations on your success!

    • 22 February 2017 6:25 pm

      Thanks so much. Yes, the pesky editor is a problem! But its probably a good thing in the long run.

  3. AnneGracie permalink
    19 February 2017 6:06 pm

    75 Books!! Wow, Melanie that’s a huge achievement — congratulations. I did find becoming a writer changed the kind of reader I was, and with some books lack of good writing craft can really put me off. But good storytelling trumps everything, I think, and whenever I get sucked into the world of the story, it’s a blessing.

    • 19 February 2017 6:53 pm

      Hi Anne,
      You are so right- good storytelling trumps anything else. But your stories are always good!
      Thanks for commenting.

  4. 19 February 2017 5:27 pm

    Hi Melanie,
    Congratulations on the release of your 75th book! That’s an awesome achievement. I try really hard to take my editor’s cap off when I read, but it’s easier said than done sometimes. Now I look back on all the books I’ve read since I started reading romance and I can see how far the quality of writing has come, especially in terms of ‘show vs tell’. When I come across a read that doesn’t bring out the internal editor in me, I keep a note of the author’s name so I can read future and past releases. Here’s to many more new releases from you 🙂

    • 19 February 2017 6:55 pm

      Hi Juanita,
      It’s funny how things have changed in the genre over the last few years, isn’t it? I never used to notice things that now drive me nuts in my own writing and that of others.
      Thanks for posting!

  5. 19 February 2017 4:32 pm

    75 books – woot! Congratulations, Melanie. I tend to read our of romance genre too these days, particularly if I want to relax and truly dive into story. Sci Fi/Fantasy works a treat for me.

    • 19 February 2017 6:57 pm

      Hi Kelly,
      Argh! Sci-fi and fantasy are two genres I don’t enjoy at all. Maybe you could recommend some titles that will help me change my mind.
      Thanks for commenting. Always great to hear from you!

  6. 19 February 2017 3:55 pm

    I am so critical of romance novels – much more than womens fiction or fantasy or mystery or the other genres I read…Perhaps I’ll become more critical of those when I write in the genre??
    I’ve also become really critical of TV shows with dreadful plots – and that doesn’t matter which genre!

    • 19 February 2017 6:59 pm

      Hi Bree,
      Don’t get me started on TV plots! But I must say, there have been some amazing TV shows lately.
      Thanks for posting!

  7. Janie Evans permalink
    19 February 2017 11:45 am

    Hi Melanie…I enjoy reading your work. I always look forward to the next one that comes out. I always read with an editors cap on too even though I am not an editor. LOL.

    • 19 February 2017 7:00 pm

      Hi Janie,
      I love that you enjoy my books! I hope you don’t find too much to edit in them but I can imagine there are always things that don’t appeal to every reader.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  8. 19 February 2017 11:35 am

    Hi Melanie

    I have this one calling to me and can’t wait to fall into it I do love your stories woohoo on your 75th book that is fabulous.

    You know many years ago all I read pretty much was historical romance these days I read across all the genres of romance and lots of woman’s fiction as well and love them all I choose mostly on what I feel like at the time 🙂

    Have Fun

    Please leave me out of the draw I already have a copy 🙂

    • 19 February 2017 7:02 pm

      Hi Helen,
      I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of this book. I really enjoy your reviews. I seriously don’t know how you find to time to read all the books you read. You are amazing.
      Thanks for posting!

  9. lynette williams permalink
    19 February 2017 10:54 am

    congratulations on the release of your latest book love the review & have now placed it on TBR list—-LynW

  10. Amy Ella permalink
    19 February 2017 9:28 am

    Hi Melanie, what drove you through your early career to write romance?

    • 19 February 2017 7:04 pm

      Hi Amy,
      I was a trained teacher but I always wanted to write. I chose romance because it was what I mainly read back then. AndI thought it would be easier to write. Ha ha. How wrong was I?!!! It gets harder the more books I write.

  11. 19 February 2017 9:24 am

    Congratulations on the upcoming release, Melanie! The Temporary Mrs Marchetti is a fun story!

    I’m always reading with the editor’s cap on and its pretty hard for me to just enjoy!

    • 19 February 2017 7:05 pm

      Hi Nasreen,
      Ha ha! I know how your mind works. Once that editor thing happens it’s pretty much impossible to turn it off.
      Thanks for posting.

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