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Writing for market…or not? by Joanne Dannon

How do you write a Romance Novel?

When I first started writing and learning my craft, I read my first “how to” book called Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies by Leslie Wainger. Even though my copy is 13 years old, it is still relevant with plenty of useful information.

At the time, I aspired to write for Mills and Boon, and because Leslie was an Executive Editor for Harlequin Books, I followed her advice. One thing that she noted was that certain heroes are a proven hard sell. She writes, “Heroes from Germany, Scandinavia and the former Soviet Union and its current states have all proven a difficult sell.”

Interesting. Note to self, don’t create men from these countries as heroes.

You can write what you like

So imagine my surprise, soon after, when one of my favourite Mills and Boon writers, Carol Marinelli created a <shock> Russian hero in “Expecting his Love Child”! I think she was one of the first Presents writers to do this.

Since then, there have been heaps of Russian heroes, in fact, my author friend Rachael Thomas’ latest features a tortured Russian hero in “A Child Claimed by Gold” (an excellent read in case you’re interested!)

When I asked Carol about her writing a Russian hero, she told me that it was never her intention to push the envelope, so to speak. She had the idea and wanted to write it. Hats off to her editor who told her to write the book, which Carol did.

As well as Presents, Carol writes Medicals, and she’s created an infertile, divorced hero who specialises in geriatrics (Baby Twins to Bind them). Not sexy? No way. Carol has done it again with a sexy hero because she created him that way. As she said, if you have good, well-developed characters, and good reasons for them to act the way they do, then you can write what you like.

Another author friend put mermaids in space. You think I’m joking; I’m not. Demelza Carlton has a wonderful series of mermaid books, the Ocean Gift series. But when invited to be a part of a sci-fi series she needed creatures. Most of us wouldn’t have chosen mermaids, but Demelza did. So if you love sci-fi, I recommend you check out Halcyon which features mermaids in space!

In fact, you should write what you love

It made me realise that you can write something different and unique, but you have to love it. If you don’t love what you write, the readers won’t love it. But in saying that, the book must be good. You must have well-defined characters, GMC (Goal/Motivation and Conflict) as well as a good story. Being different with boring characters will not get you far.

I love jazz, tap dancing, Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jnr. It was only natural that I create a hero that I love. Ta da, I have Alex Jackson who has millions of fans, is talented, can dance and sing, is wealthy, handsome (of course!) and not interested in falling in love.

Kisses under the Spotlight is the first book in the Alex Jackson series, and I love it. Not only have I got a fan-girl crush on Alex but I’ve poured my love for music and dance into my book. So far, my readers have loved my hero who is different to the musicians out there. I wrote what I love.

But there’s nothing wrong in writing great stories with “tried and true” tropes and themes. The publishers know the market and know what sells. If these books suit your voice and your genre, then write away. But if you want to write outside the box, you can. Thanks to the opportunity to self-publishing, you can write what you love, not write for the market. But not only must you love what you write, but it must also be a good read.

Until next month, happy writing!!


Fairy tales aren’t just for princesses.

Superstar Alex Jackson steers clear of any emotional involvement after a series of life-changing events turned his life, and heart, inside out and upside down. Broken and deeply scarred, he has sworn to remain single and emotionally aloof to all women.

Physiotherapist Violet McKenzie, is distrustful of men—famous men being at the top of her list for good reason. She’s learned a thing or two about them and has made a conscious effort to stay as far away as she possibly can.

Until sexy Alex needs her professional assistance after a stage mishap and she becomes his personal physio. Violet has sworn off love, but when Alex’s hot kisses keep her up at night longing for more, she wonders if she can remain steadfast to her personal promise to never fall for the wrong guy again.

Can a superstar and an ordinary girl have a happily ever after, or is that only reserved for the songs Alex sings?

“A sexy superstar hero who has it all except the love of the right woman and an ordinary working girl whose job propels her into the heart of the hero’s glamorous life. Joanne Dannon’s wonderfully emotional story will sweep you away.” – Rachael Thomas,

Buy Kisses under the Spotlight from Amazon or everywhere else!



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Joanne Dannon - together at lastJoanne Dannon is an Australian author who writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savour–indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever-after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel.

Joanne’s latest romance about second chances and falling for your best friend’s brother, Together At Last, is now available as both an e-book and paperback.

Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.