I Write Books I’d Love to Read

An open book with magical stars coming out of it.
© Can Stock Photo / stillfx

I began writing contemporary romance novels out of a desire to write books I would enjoy reading. I wasn’t concerned about how many books I would sell. My goal wasn’t to become rich and famous. (Not that I would mind becoming rich and famous.) I simply wanted to write stories that I could lose myself in. For me, it’s about the joy of storytelling. I write out of my own love of reading. I also thought if I wrote books I would enjoy reading, others would enjoy reading them too. It turns out, I was right. I’m getting some wonderful feedback from my readers. It happy to know that people are enjoying my books.

How it all began

I consider myself lucky. I grew up in a house full of readers. Both of my parents enjoyed reading. Dinner table conversations were oftentimes about the books they were currently reading. They liked spy novels. They read the entire Ian Fleming James Bond series, but they also read mainstream fiction.

I loved horses when I was a kid. I must have read the entire black stallion series. Marguerite Henry, however, was my favorite author. I read Brighty of the Grand Canyon from cover to cover many times over. I also loved her Misty series. Beverly Cleary was another favorite. Beezus and Ramona are timeless.

As I became an adult

I took English lit courses throughout high school. This introduced me to many different genres. Of course, some were more interesting than others. Oftentimes, however, my biggest challenge was putting the book down. Sometimes I wanted to keep going to the end, but I couldn’t get too far ahead of the rest of class.

As an adult, if you’ll pardon the pun, I fell in love with the romance genre. Like my parents, I also enjoyed mainstream fiction. So, from time to time, I borrowed one of their favorite novels. Like Jaws. Great read. I think this is why my romance novels are somewhat similar to mainstream fiction. Authors such as Arthur Hailey and Peter Benchley most certainly have influenced my writing.

Marina Martindale

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Inside the Writing Tunnel

A walkway underneath a tunnel covered with greenery.
© Can Stock Photo / achiartistul

I’ve spent the past few months working in the writing tunnel. The writing tunnel is that magical place where I create my stories. It could be at home, a hotel room, or even the great outdoors. The writing tunnel is wherever I let my imagination take over.

Readers tell me it’s hard to put my contemporary romance novels down. You should see it from my end. Each morning I try to put in a little writing time. In the evenings, I’m back into my manuscript. I’m either working out the next scene. Or I’m working on the next chapter. Or I’m creating a new character. It’s so much fun. I just wish I could figure out why I’m still paying for cable. Must be for those times when I’m not writing, which isn’t very often.

Sometimes people ask me how I do my job. Do I work out a detailed outline first and then follow it verbatim? Or do I just sit down and start writing? It’s a little bit of both actually.

First, I’ll write a treatment, or short plot summary. It’s not too specific and it’s only a few paragraphs in length. It’s my idea for the basic story concept, but not much else. I use it to get the story started, and so I’ll have a rough idea of how it will end. Once I start writing the actual story, I set the treatment aside. I go where the characters take me. Then, when I’m finished, I go back and look at the original treatment. Without exception, it’s remarkably different from the finished novel. Sometimes the ending will be different as well. Someone once said life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. I think the same could be said for good story writing.


Marina Martindale

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I Don’t Do Formula Writing

No symbol of a circle with a diagonal line going through it. I received the nicest compliment from a woman who told me how much she enjoyed reading my contemporary romance novel,  The Deception. She even compared me to Nora Roberts, which was very kind. She went on to tell me that unlike Nora Roberts, I don’t use formula writing.

She also talked about how every Nora Roberts novel follows the same pattern, and that her books are very predictable.  What she liked about The Deception was that fact that it wasn’t predictable at all. The plot twists kept her attention and kept her turning the pages.

Her kind words meant a lot. They certainly made me feel validated. I work hard to create realistic, three-dimensional characters, as well as write life-like story lines. As I write, I tune into my character’s minds. I try to see what they’re seeing and to feel what they’re feeling. I’m concerned about the conflicts they’re facing, and how they’re going to resolve them. Therefore, I simply cannot be preoccupied about having to have the leading lady met the leading man by page ten, or about having my climax occur twenty pages before the novel ends. That kind of rigidness would destroy my creativity and stifle me a storyteller.

Real life isn’t a formula. Life is unpredictable, and so are my contemporary romance novels. I’m pleased to know that my readers like my unpredictability. 

Marina Martindale

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