Entangled: the exegetical process of a romance writer

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    As a novelist, I write under two names: literary fiction under the name Amy T Matthews and historical romance fiction under the name Tess LeSue. My latest research focuses on the generic conventions of popular romance and the intersections between feminism and romance fiction. This large-scale research project will have multiple outcomes: exegetical and scholarly papers, short stories, a literary novel, and a series of historical romances. Under the name Tess LeSue, I write traditional romances that seek to conform to generic expectations, while attempting to embody a feminist ethos. I have publisher deadlines to produce a series of Historical Westerns and so will be consistently writing in this mode, while under the name Amy T Matthews I also plan produce a realist literary romance novel that will test the conventions of Romance by subjecting the Hero and Heroine to major life stresses (divorce, mental illness, death) in an attempt to produce a thoughtful and intelligent meditation on love, relationships, and gender. In this essay I will contextualise my research and then discuss the challenges of writing in two modes. Popular romance fiction is a plot-driven form, with a direct and economical style, while my literary writing has a greater concentration on language, metaphor and imagery. Developing a voice for the literary romance is a technical challenge: how to tell a ‘predictable story’ (boy meets girl) in a fresh way, how to articulate thoughts on love and romance without resorting to cliché or melodrama, and how to find a productive method to write in multiple voices and genres simultaneously. The essay concludes with a reading from an exploratory work, a love letter that seeks to develop a poetics for the literary novel.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
    Issue numberSpecial Issue (Digital)
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    • Romance
    • Love
    • Mental Illness
    • Creative writing
    • Short Story
    • Fiction
    • Australian Fiction


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