A former Miss Illinois and Top 10 Miss America finalist, Michelle Binfiglio graduated summa cum laude from St. Francis University, Pa., with a bachelor’s degree in writing/fine arts and a love of the formal study of literature. Her world was rocked when she read her first contemporary romance, chosen from the grocery store book rack. Thus began what is now nothing less than an obsession with the romance novel.
Michelle applies to the romance novel the same techniques used to analyze and critique “recognized” classic and contemporary fiction. In Romance: B(u)y the Book, she pares down her analysis to give you a sense of why she thinks you might love a particular book.
She works hard to present you with a variety of all-around good selections hoping that, should you choose to buy the book, you’ll be happy you did.
A kidney transplant recipient, Michelle hopes you’ll consider signing an organ donor card and discussing organ donation with your family.
How many books do you read a week?
Seven-10 cover to cover, fewer if I spend a lot of time wading through selections to cull the A-cuts for feature. With all the great romances out there, it’s painful to have to choose, and I hate not finishing one once I’ve started.
How did your interest in book and health start?
I took a course in college in which we read and analyzed 17th-20th century English novels. Of course, Miss Austen was included, but so were Bronte, Fowles, Hardy, and others. While theirs can’t all be classified as romances, I always enjoy seeing the influences of such great novelists, and many more, on the writing of today’s book writers.
It’s also pleasing to see the influences of today’s romance novelists upon one another. Perhaps you notice it, too?
Do you ever read anything else?
Honestly? Not much. Sometimes my husband forces a book on me that’s great and I would have loved before I became obsessed with romances.
How do I get a book published?
Research. Learn the nuts and bolts of querying publishers and agents, submitting manuscripts by reading any of the myriad books on the subject. ‘The Idiot’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Published’ and others like it simplify the process from understanding the genre to how much you might expect to make writing romances.
Join: Consider membership in Book Writers of America, a national organization of 9,000 published and soon-to-be published romance writers and others within the publishing industry. Join your local chapter as well.
Attending meetings and networking with members is the best way to learn the ropes and gain support for your writing. As an RWA member, you’ll also receive the Comprehensive Market Update of RWA-Recognized Publishers, a twice-yearly updated list of romance publishing houses with the most-up-to-date submission guidelines available at time of publication. Invaluable!
Write and rewrite. Make sure the final product is as good as you know it can be. Work out all the bugs before sending a manuscript for consideration. Spell check, for God’s sake, then have someone you trust look the whole thing over once again.
Unsure of your writing technique?
Do what I do and find fun courses on style, dialogue, novel writing, etc., at your local community college or other learning facilities. Google options in your area, and use the web to find specific articles about good writing.
Find a writing group. Make sure you feel comfortable with the other members and are sure they’ll treat you and your writing in a supportive manner. Members of a good group critique constructively and in a respectful manner, and are supportive of members’ writing attempts. In choosing or creating a writing group, make sure members’ individual needs are discussed frequently so the group experience remains encouraging and uplifting.
Why do you like book, health, and romance so much?
There are elements of these I like that appeal to most women who read them-a language, if you will–that only we romance lovers understand.
Some writers and researchers have called this “language” an oral tradition similar to that used by humans before we used characters such as our alphabet to record stories. We know what to expect from the romance because we’ve heard the form before and are comfortable with it.
If that means, as detractors suggest, a romance novel is the same story being written over and over, I applaud it as one heck of a story!
Maybe your reasons for loving romance are similar to mine. First, I like knowing there’s always going to be a happy ending and I’m going to suffer a delicious little bit to get there.
Second, I enjoy being thrilled by the dynamics which play out between the hero and heroine: First meeting, romantic tension or repulsion that grows into capitulation, the moment the hero realizes he’s in love, and the way the heroine teaches him to love without “unmanning” him.
Third, I just love a hero I can daydream about. If he’s an Alpha male and his love scenes are 4 Hearts plus, more’s the better!
Finally, I like being swept away in a good romance novel. Whether it’s a mystery, a paranormal, or a simple love story, by the last page, I want to have experienced a celebration of the better parts of human nature.
Is there any type of romance fiction you won’t feature? I attempt to feature novels from as many sub-genres of romance as possible: contemporary, paranormal, spiritual, historical, health, medical, etc.
While I consider it legitimate within the genre, I won’t be featuring stand-alone health or alternative lifestyle topic.
Which blog are you recommending and what is your preparation before holiday comes?
Before you go on the holiday – and enjoy your spring and summer vacation — probably on the mountain or at the beach, you may wanna visit my friend’s blog Kates Random Musings who wrote good reviews about hCG drops, my new favorite health stuff that have helped me to cope with my weight problem. This hCG stuff is my latest fave crank-the-karma tune.
HCG diet? Do you seriously recommend this like you’ve said?
Absolutely. First, this is natural. Second, it added immeasurably to the popularity of the Dr. Simeon method, but views his 15 minutes past with charming self-deprecation. Third, the company lends their time and celebrity to raise funds for charity. And, fourth — did I mention the founder’s American? Mostly, innovators get less respect than anybody else within the diet industry — sometimes even from those within it — and I like to give them the props they deserve for bringing attention to the method we benefit from.[Top]