Saturday, 14 July 2012

Guest post: Facing Fear by Cheryl Douglas


Facing Fear
by Cheryl Douglas

Writers, especially romance writers, often follow a formula. Readers of this genre will know what I’m talking about. If you’ve been reading contemporary romances for years, you have certain expectations about the characters, plot development, and pace of the story based on books you’ve read in the past. Traditional publishers further defined the perimeters of this genre by outlining taboo topics that editors wouldn’t consider looking at. It was an unwritten rule among authors, don’t cross that line.

With the advent of self-publishing, there’s no longer a line. Suddenly, writers are completely free to express themselves… or are they? Their target audience is still the readers the traditional publishing world has been servicing for years. Readers have a certain expectation, and many authors, myself included, often wonder if readers are more willing to allow writers to cross the line than their publishers were.

If authors write about ‘taboo’ topics, will there be a backlash from their loyal readers? Are readers ready and willing to accept change? Judging by the recent success of The Fifty Shades of Grey, I have to assume that book buyers are more than willing to step outside of their comfort zone to try something new, but are the authors they love ready to take that risk?

I recently decided to tackle a sensitive topic in one of my books and I was really proud of the finished product, but the entire time I was writing it, there was a voice in the back of my head asking how it would be perceived by my readers. Would they be sad? Outraged? Disappointed? The questions plagued me for months as I worked on that manuscript. Ironically, I think it made it better because it forced me to address the subject matter with more awareness and sensitivity, making it a gut-wrenching experience for me that I hope will touch readers in the same way.

I write because I’m passionate about it. I couldn’t wake up one morning and decide not to write, but I also write to make my readers happy. If I’m not evoking some kind of response from my readers, then I’m not doing my job. I want them to laugh, cry, and scream in frustration with their favorite characters. If they do, I’ve done my job. But what happens if I push my readers outside of their comfort zone and they don’t like it? What if I push too fast, too far, and they’re not ready to change? Maybe they like the ‘traditional’ format!

That’s a fear we as writers must face every day as we push our creative boundaries and delve into unchartered territory. It’s scary! It’s not the same world where the writers before us left a map to follow, because now we finally have the freedom to chart our own course and let the readers decide if they want to follow us on our journey into the unknown. With freedom, comes power, but first we have to face our fear.

Reckless by Cheryl Douglas

Book #4 in the Nashville Nights series

As a publicist, Avery Collins knows that mixing business with pleasure is a recipe for disaster so she has one rule. Her bedroom is off limits to clients, no matter how enticing and persistent they may be.

Ty McCall is country music’s newest rising star, but he needs the best team in the business to help him make it to the top. That team includes Avery, the woman who gave him the most unforgettable night of his life only to disappear the next morning.

Avery agrees to work with him, but Ty isn’t willing to settle for a professional relationship with the woman of his dreams. Can this sexy cowboy convince her that rules were made to be broken?

About the Author

It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I'd found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn't imagine doing it for the next thirty years.

My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and storylines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone's never-ending slush pile. After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I'm so thankful I did.

I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.

When I take a break from writing it's to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.

Find me at www.cheryldouglasbooks.com


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