“Her stories have fueled the dreams of 25 million readers.”
One of the great pleasures of summer is dipping into all kinds of relaxing reads that seem tailor-made for long, hot days. A while ago, I was ensconced in a cozy inn where several bookshelves were stocked with paperbacks that were probably donated by departing guests. Perched in the sunny living room with a cup of coffee one morning, I decided to check out the inn’s colorful lending library.
Peeking out at me from a shelf was a novel called Irish Hearts penned by the queen of the romance genre, Nora Roberts. Reading the introduction, I discovered that I had stumbled upon the very first novel that Nora ever published. That was back in 1981; by 2000, she’d written 100 more. Amazing, isn’t it?
Think about it: over 20 years, Nora had come up with 100 plots, 100 sets of characters, 100 star-crossed couples. By now, almost 15 years later, who knows how many more stories she’s brought to life. And along the way, she’s “fueled the dreams of 25 million readers.” With that many loyal readers, she must be doing something right! She may not be Shakespeare of Virginia Woolf, but she had undeniably mastered her genre — and that’s always worth exploring.
Hoping to fathom her secret, I sipped my coffee and dove into Irish Hearts. While I could see that it was a bit rough around the edges, it was still an engaging story. The main character was feisty and engaging, her circumstances were challenging, the hero was flawed but fixable, and the setting was appealing. With more than 100 books under her belt, I’m sure that by now Nora has cooked her genre goose to perfection and happily watches it lay many a golden egg for her. What’s her secret? Hard work. “Ass in the chair” — that’s her writing motto — a no-nonsense approach that we can all benefit from, whatever genre we’re laboring in our literary vineyards to cultivate. Write on!