Justine: New Year, New…Genre?


That’s me on the left, my son on the right, and my husband behind us! Skiing and loving it!

I’ve never been a skier. Of course, I’ve never really been anywhere where the skiing could potentially be good, either. The small side of a “mountain” in Pennsylvania (covered in ice) doesn’t count.

I’ve never been interested in skiing, either. It’s cold. It’s steep (I’m afraid of heights). It’s expensive.

This week, however, I’m in Park City, Utah at the mercy of my husband who thought it would be a great idea for us to start a new family tradition – skiing before Christmas. I fought it. Really, I did. “Can’t we go to the beach instead?” It’s much more my speed. I’ve always been a beach person.

We’re three days in to our skiing holiday and I have only one thing to say:


I went into skiing very dubious that I or my kids would have any interest in it whatsoever, but I’m finding just the opposite. Of course, once I became resigned to the fact that we WOULD be skiing, I decided we ought to be prepared. I set about consulting my aunt, an avid skier, what we should do/have to be successful.

First, she said, be warm. If you’re cold or wet, you’re set for misery. A few outfits later (fleece, ski pants/jackets, hats, balaclavas, and hot packs for our gloves) and we’re set. Today was practically blizzard conditions and we were great for hours!

Second, take lessons. There are a few things you need to learn about skiing in order to be successful, namely stopping and turning. Learning how to get off the lift isn’t so bad, either, for sure. Once I learned how to turn and stop – basically control my direction and speed – things became really fun!

Third, go into it with an open mind. This was probably my biggest hurdle. If you’re not willing and open to embracing what’s before you, you’ll never be successful. This morning, my older son woke in the worst, most negative mood, because yesterday his skis were too sticky. They were catching ice, making his descent on the green slope painfully jerky and disjointed. Today, after his skis got a good wax, they were perfect and he had a great skiing day.

If you’re in a writing rut and are thinking about possibly switching genres, voice, POV, or anything else, I say go for it, of course. But be prepared. Going from contemporary to historical is great, but be aware of anachronisms and make sure you have your history straight. If you’ve typically written in a female 3rd POV and want to try male 1st, fantastic! But be sure your character only sees/feels what they can actually see and feel, and guys think differently from women. One of the first criticisms I received when writing in Nate’s POV was that his thoughts were too “girly.” Don’t do that!

Whatever you do, embrace it. Own it. And have fun with it! Here’s hoping your new year brings wonderful new adventures that you enjoy and love!

8 thoughts on “Justine: New Year, New…Genre?

  1. You know what this reminds me of? The very old Harlequins I read in high school — the kind that were probably published in the 60s, and often featured a ski lodge, and cute sweaters, and skiing followed by warm fireplaces and hot cocoa. (-: We need to start a genre of 1960s historicals!

  2. I don’t recall ever reading 1960’s romances (before my time – just barely), but when I think skiing I do think cozy, stone-walled lodge with a soaring ceiling, a crackling fire in the wood-burning fireplace, and a mug of something hot and spiked in my hand. And I hot guy in a cute sweater wouldn’t be all bad, either ;-).

    • You all forgot the blizzard. If this is an old-school Harlequin, set in a beautiful, remote mountain-top lodge with our heroine and hero in front of a lovely warm fire, there has to be a major snow-storm brewing. They won’t be going anywhere for a day or two 😉 .

      • I told my ski school “class” that I was a romance writer and they said I should use the example of one of my fellow students in a story. The first time she got off the lift she fell. The instructor offered to help her the second time and in her effort to get out of the seat, she punched him in the stomach. Wouldn’t that be a lovely way to meet?!?

        • I wonder just what I’m channelling? Our library had a lot of very old Harlequins. But this almost feels like Cherry Ames, Student Nurse or something like that. I got to thinking about what a great gift it’d make for my mom next year if I wrote a book about a doctor and a nurse stranded in a ski lodge, with a storm brewing. And someone catches cold or sprains an ankle (or both? Nah, too much. Perhaps internal injuries ala Justine’s cute meet scenario (-:). Because I love a “I fell in love with my nurse” scenario.

          I think there must be a polar bear skin rug, too.

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