by Angela Kay Austin
When I sit down to write, I honestly can’t say that I intend for it to be anything. I am what they call a pantser. Which is just a way of saying, I don’t outline. I’ve tried it many times, but by the second bullet, my story is completely different.
So, it’s funny to me that everything I’ve written lately fits into the Romance genre. When I first began to write, I was a pre-teen scribbling in my diary about my secret crush, and how much I couldn’t wait to get to high school. I also wrote a ton of articles and blasted them off to every pre-teen and teen magazine I could find. How cool would it be to say they were all published, but that is so not the case. It’s been about, hmm, twenty-something years of scribbling in my journals before I finally decided to begin to ‘get serious’ about my writing. And, wouldn’t you know it…someone gave me a chance to be publish. My first novella, Love’s Chance will be published by Red Rose Publishing February 11th, 2010.
But as I sit here and think about it all, it’s amazing how it all feels so connected. I was such an introvert as a child. I expressed myself through my fat pencils then, and through my keyboard, now. I dreamed of fairy tale places and Prince Charmings at 10, and now, I write about them. Well, at least, my version of them.
I use my urban African-American childhood and heritage. Hopefully, to create a unique voice that people will be interested in hearing. One critique partner of mine, not African-American, once told me that she had never read an AA Romance novel. When I asked her why, she said, “I didn’t know if I’d get it.” Why? A judge in a writing contest sent me a critique with a statement that said, “The characters don’t sound Black.” Why?
I read books by all types of authors, but it did take me time before I branched out. There was a time when only Toni Morrison, Terry McMillan, Connie Briscoe, etc. would be found on my shelves. Do you see the common factor: African-American women? I didn’t even have men, except for poetry—Langston Hughes, but still African-American. Now, oh my God, you’ll find everyone: Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan, Karen Marie Moning, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jane Green, Wally Lamb, Barbara Kingsoliver, and more. I cross genres, too. Whoa!
Comments like the ones mentioned earlier have made me understand that every writer’s voice truly is unique. Our experiences, backgrounds, heritage, religious beliefs, education, and more influence every single scribble or keystroke. And, those influences can win or lose readers. Now, I have to say, I don’t mind losing that judge as a reader, but I love picking up my critique partner, a multi-publisher author, as a reader.
What influences you as a reader or writer? Have you ever thought about it?
Angela Kay Austin is an author of contemporary romance novels. Her books feature strong African-American women whose love can not be bound by race, bank accounts, age, religion or gender.
Love’s Chance – Coming February 11th, 2010 from Red Rose Publishing