Once again, our topic is one I suggested: “If a prospective publisher asked you to compare your work to that of one or two well-known authors, whom would you choose? Why?” I was asked this question when I applied to have my books accepted by our local library system. I suppose it was so that they’d have a better idea of how to categorize them. I’ve also heard that readers who enjoy books by a certain author will be more likely to see your books if you’ve used that author’s name as a tag.
When I started reading romance, I discovered I enjoyed books by Debbie Macomber, and when I began writing, I tried to emulate the things I liked about her books. Many of her stories are in the sweet/clean category, although she does have spicy scenes in some. But I love her focus on families and friends that shines through in all of her works. She writes about people I feel I know: the cranky old neighbor next door, the busybody, the friendly clerk, and so on.
I’m not sure I can think of a big-name author who writes sweet/clean historical romance stories that aren’t labeled inspirational, and my books don’t fit in that category. I love Julia Quinn’s regency romances, but they can be somewhat steamy. Quinn’s stories are also full of large families (such as the Bridgertons), and like Macomber, she’s written series romances in which each story features a sibling, or various generations of a family.
Another thing that I admire about both authors and try to emulate is the way their characters are so relatable. Whether the stories take place in a present day small town or in Regency England, and whether the cast of characters are wealthy and famous or working folks, we are introduced to people we can understand and with whom we can identify.
Of course, there are major differences between my stories and those of these two venerated authors, other than the obvious fact that several of them have been made into movies and television shows. My stories tend to be much shorter. My settings aren’t as diverse as Debbie’s, and my characters aren’t as elegant as Julia’s (I’ve discovered that even though I like to read about nobles, I don’t like to write about them). Still, I feel that if I were to be asked to compare my writing to that of well-known authors, I might say something like this:
“In the manner of Debbie Macomber and Julia Quinn, Patricia Kiyono’s stories feature characters much like people we all know who find themselves in extraordinary situations and deal with their challenges with strength and dignity. In each story, love provides the foundation through which the protagonists are able to overcome adversity and find enduring happiness.”