Today we interview series romance author Wayne Jordan. Jordan has been praised for his relatable characters and skill at pacing his stories. Now he shares his perspective on what it means to be a man writing romance novels.
What type of romance do you write? I write series/category romance for Harlequin’s African-American line, Kimani Romance.
When did you first get published as a romance author? My first book, Capture the Sunrise, was published in November 2005 as part of the Arabesque line published by BET Books. Ironically, Harlequin purchased BET Book in the December of that year so I automatically became a Harlequin author. Devon Vaughn Archer and I were the first two male authors for that line and the then editor, Demetria Lucas, wanted us to write under our own names. Fortunately, the editorial committee agreed. Our first books, came out in a 2-in-1 volume called Slow Motion.
Do you write in any other genres? Capture the Sunrise was a contemporary romance where the guidelines were a bit less rigid that the category line, Kimani Romance, I currently write for.
How did you first start writing romance? I started writing romance around the mid-1990s. I’ve always enjoyed reading romance, though it is not the only genre I read, but it is definitely my favourite; especially romantic suspense and Westerns. I joined an online writers’ community called Painted Rock owned by Carmel Thomaston (aka Fay Robinson) who eventually signed with and wrote for Harlequin Superromance. Sadly, she passed away in December 2002, but not before she published five books and won two RWA Rita Awards. She was my inspiration and I own each of her books. Capture the Sunrise would not have been completed or published if not for her direction and her unwavering support and encouragement.
How would you describe your writing style? That’s a hard one. I’m a very economical writer, so when I finish my first draft, I have to go back and add specific things. I enjoy writing descriptions, especially when it’s the setting I’m describing. Since my books are set mainly in Barbados, the tropical island where I live, I get to demonstrate my love for the island with very vivid tropical descriptions. I also like to deal with issues in my plots. In One Gentle Knight I included themes dealt with fatherhood and the impact of a preemie baby on the hero and heroine’s lives; in To Love a Knight, my hero, is a grouchy blind man who hates Christmas and has not yet come to terms with his blindness.
How does your gender affect your writing? Do you deal with different themes, is your dialogue different, what about characterization, etc.? As an English teacher, I know males tend to be a lot more economical with language in their writing and maybe that why I’m like that. I rarely make my word count in my first draft and have to go back and add sensory detail, and other layers to each element of the story before I reach my word count.
I also write a lot of my stories from the male point of view. I’m definitely more comfortable there. I also have to be careful to balance the point of view I wrote my love scenes in since I’m definitely more comfortable writing them for the male point of view. It did feel a bit strange when I wrote my first love scene from the heroine’s POV.
Is there anything that you purposefully change about your writing because your audience is primarily women? Not really. I’ve been reading romance since my 20s and I’m 49 this year, so I’m pretty knowledgeable about the mood and feel of the romance novel. However, I would say one thing. My first love scenes were pretty masculine and physical. I have learned that a love scene in romance is more about the sensory experience and the way it’s enhances the physical experience and not only about the physical.
Do you believe that writing romances has given you a different perspective on real-life relationships? Definitely – reading and writing romance has help me to be more appreciative of my own relationships. I’m a lot more sensitive and …eh, vulnerable.
What reaction do you get from fans because of your gender? In 2005, a lot of people (family and friends included) were shocked especially since I’m a Literature teacher and people expect that I’d write literary fiction since that’s what I teach. But that has changed a lot. Members of staff at the school where I teach buy and read my books, especially those in my department (English) who volunteer to proofread my work. Of course, they don’t mind getting to read them before they are published. Since I write under my own name, the surprise is minimized since most of my fans know I’m a male.
Do you believe that it is becoming easier or more difficult for men to get published in the romance genre? I definitely think it’s becoming a lot easier. Authors like Leigh Greenwood, Ken Casper, Monica Barrie (David Wind) and Tom Curtis, set the stage for us to write romance. In fact, some of them are still writing romance today. I’m seeing more and more published and aspiring male authors at the RWA annual conference.
Any advice you have for men who want to write romance? Read, read, read, the same advice I give to women, especially the sub-genre and line you are targeting. Also, never be afraid to tap into that sensitive side. It’s where the emotion that necessary to write romance comes from.
Is there anything you want to tell female readers who might be skeptical that a man can write a satisfying romance novel? Some of the most romantic stories are written by men. Shakespeare, Erich Segal ... and Wayne Jordan ... <G>.
You can find out more about Wayne Jordan and what’s next for this author at his website. And you can click the links below to check out the other interviews we hosted this week with male romance authors.