Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The Poet who Wanted to Write Romance by Aletta Thorne

           The editor of the poetry magazine who’d accepted some of my work found it cool that I also write “genre fiction.” That’s what you call romance if you’re hanging out with poets—most poets, anyway.   I recently referred to my ghost stories as “naughty books for ladies” at a poetry reading I was giving.  I have to say it got everyone’s attention.  (I think it might have sold some books, too.)
             I publish my poetry under another name: my birth name.  For my romance books, I use my great-grandmother’s name.  My beloved 94-year-old mother thinks Grandma Aletta Thorne would have been delighted about that, but then again, my mother has dementia.  Dementia has made my mom cheerful.  
            Truth? Great-grandma Aletta Thorne would have been horrified.  There are vibrators in my last book.  Wellavibrator.  (But everyone has vibrators these days, right?)
            At a wedding I was at not long ago, I was loudly referred to by a dear woman who was full of wine and the love of God as “Tom’s wife (name changed to protect the guilty), who writes PORNOGRAPHY!” I need to tell you that the table we were all sitting at was populated by my husband’s colleagues: church employees. My husband is not good at keeping secrets.  Like, about my pen name.
            “Well, um…not exactlypornography,” I said.  “I mean, it’s not pornographyatall!It’s…um…genre fiction.”
            People never say things like that about your poetry. They’re usually only dimly aware of it.  If they are not other poets, they assume you’re very sensitive, and so they buy your books sometimes.  You know, so your feelings won’t be hurt.  They buy your books when you write romance, too.  But then they actually read them.
            All of this is why I enjoy writing romance.  
            Also: you can have big, fat crazy plots. People can have affairs with ghosts. Ghosts can have character arcs! You can be writing a scene with tears running down your face and you don’t know whether it’s because you really have attached yourself to the characters and you’re moved to the depths of your soul…or because the scene is just so damn funny.  Or both.  You can write about what people actually do.  Or what they’d really like to do.  Either way, it’s the truth. 
            Which is a whole lot more fun than getting into a fight with someone about whether Billy Collins revises his poetry enough.  I’m writing a bunch of poetry this month, and promoting a poetry collection as well as my most recent book,  THE GHOST OF HER EX.  And I’m having a great time.  But I have to admit as I’m checking my iambic pentameter, I’m also planning my next ghostly romance.  Think I’ll get time to start it sometime late winter.  Think it’s going to be about a team of ghost-hunters, which means I get to watch the Tennessee Wraith Chasers on TV, guilt-free.  I’m not rotting my brain, I’m researching.  Life is good.
Find The Ghost of Her Ex by Aleta Thorne here:


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