Romance and Writing What I Know- Jill Jaynes

Jill Jaynes

A wise and wonderful Romance author, Maggie Osbourne, once said that as writers “we write the stories we are compelled to tell.” She said that most writers who look back over the books they have written will find all their stories are built on the same theme, and they often don’t even realize it. These can be themes like- second chance at love; forgiveness and redemption; healing family relationships. The list goes on.

This is because it is human nature to try to work out that kernel of a problem whose solution eludes us, or is so central to our lives it has shaped us into the people we are.

So, lucky me, as writer I have a perfect outlet for working these things out. In writing, we call it passion. I write the story that is in my heart.

Robert Frost said, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader,” and this is more essential for Romance authors than authors of almost any other genre.

I know I am only telling a story about fictional people, but you, my Romance reader, are along for the emotional journey. And if I’m going to provide a true, honest emotional journey that you can identify with, see yourself in, then I have to start with me.

I have to bare my soul (maybe more than a little) and share my emotional reality. When I embrace the emotion as I write the scene, feel the feelings with the character and put that bravely onto the page, I know that I can evoke these same feelings in the person reading it. If I side-step the emotion, if I’m not honest about it, you, dear reader, will not buy in. You won’t care about my character and their struggle- after all why should you, since I clearly don’t?

It takes guts to “bleed on the page,” but really, that’s what I’m here for. I love stories filled with emotion and heart, and if it means I need to start with mine, then I will take that other excellent writing advice and write what I know.

Who is Jill Jaynes?

Jill Jaynes

I have a confession to make.

I love romance. Not only that, I love being a romance writer, even though I know that Romance gets a bad rap in some circles.

So I want to talk about being a romance writer; who I am and why I do it.

You probably wouldn’t guess by looking at me, and my life, that I am a Romance Writer. I happen to currently be a documentation manager at a medical device company. I have also spent a fair amount of time as a mechanical designer in the electronics industry. I have two daughters, I’ve always worked full time. I like dogs. I like camping and hiking. I love people. I have a degree in psychology (which always makes people just a little uncomfortable when they find out. Bonus!).

Dig just a little deeper and you’d find I am also a creative person. I sing and play guitar (contemporary and classical). And I write. Writing feeds my soul. I had always dreamed of writing and publishing a book. I started writing once I finally believed in myself enough to stop just dreaming about it and start doing it.

Here I have another confession to make. Actually, I started writing when my then-teenaged daughter (now launched into the world as the lovely and talented author Katie Masters) showed me the fan mail she was getting for fan fiction she wrote and posted online. I realized that if I didn’t get going, she was going to get published before me, and for whatever reason, I wanted to be first. Hey, whatever it takes to get started!

(Thanks Katie. I owe you one).

But there is more. There is the Romance part.

I could be writing anything, and I am certainly not limiting myself to only one genre. But Romance holds a special place in my heart because Romance has a mission. And it’s a mission to be proud of.

A Romance is defined, by the writer’s industry group Romance Writers of America, as having a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. “In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.” See Romance Genre, on

Wow. Emotional justice. Unconditional love. I want me some of that. Let’s all live in that world for just a little while.

Romance gets panned for having a happy ending. “It’s not real life,” people complain. Well excuse me, but I get all the real life I need all day long and then in full technicolor recap on the evening news.

I’ll take a Romance please.

What Romance brings to the table is more than just a little escape, although immersing oneself in a different world for a while is a time honored tradition (watch movies much?). Romance is positive. I love that about it. It celebrates love- the most positive power for good in the universe.

I’m totally good with being associated with these kinds of stories and I love telling them. These are often stories of people who struggle to face, overcome and grow beyond their struggles and fears.

I feel like I may at least brighten someone’s day when they read something I’ve written. But I may also be encouraging someone who is facing a similar struggle to the one that a character in my story is facing, giving them hope that a positive outcome is possible.

How lucky am I to get to do something I love and be able to contribute something positive at the same time?