BY KRISTINA MATTHEWS
I was watching Jewel of the Nile the other night. Itâ€™s the sequel to Romancing the Stone, and not quite as good as the first. But I started thinking about the reason Joan Wilder went off to Africa with the sheik. She was suffering from writerâ€™s block, and thinks that by writing a biography of a world leader, she will be taken more seriously as a writer. After seventeen romance novels, she doesnâ€™t â€œknow how it ends,â€ and thinks maybe she should move on from her career and her romance with Jack Colton.
Boy has the publishing industry changed since 1985. Joan Wilder composed her historical romances on a typewriter, which she tossed overboard in a moment of frustration. I write my contemporary romances on a laptop, and after having my first computer crash a few years ago, right after taking a fabulous workshop, I back everything up to the cloud and also to a flash drive, and instead of taking a hammer to my laptop, I get through moments of writing crisis by playing a game of Spider Solitaire. I can usually win, even if I have to go back and undo several hands. It helps me believe that I can go back and fix whatever plot problems Iâ€™m having in my book.
I understand the frustration, the absolute despair of â€œnot knowing how it ends.â€ Although usually in my case, itâ€™s usually the middle that I canâ€™t figure out what happens. Or I paint myself in a corner and have to figure out how to get my characters out of it.
I have yet to have a fancy publisher sponsored reception on the Rivera. I havenâ€™t even met my editor in person, we communicate via e-mail. Most book tours are virtual and my fan mail is in the form of an e-mail or Facebook post.
Another thing I havenâ€™t experienced yet as an author is the disdain for the romance genre. I have seen a few articles going around the internet about how some people look down upon readers and writers of romance. I havenâ€™t seen it. Iâ€™ve had nothing but support from friends and family. Well, my sixteen-year-old son did mumble something about, â€œall my friends know my mom writes neurotic books.â€ But despite the fact he doesnâ€™t know the difference between erotic (which I donâ€™t write) and neurotic, heâ€™s a little embarrassed to have a mom who writes romance. And he probably has to explain that he did not pose as my cover model. My husband gets that question all the time.
Iâ€™m proud to write romance novels. Stories of two people overcoming their flaws and insecurities to find true love. Iâ€™m part of a billion-dollar industry providing stories that entertain, amuse, or simply distract readers from their everyday stresses. I hope to also remind them of whatâ€™s most important in life. Love.
Love isnâ€™t everything, itâ€™s the only thing.
Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.
Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a â€œBall Dudetteâ€ for the San Francisco Giants.