Author Sandra Marton: Romancing the Quiet Corner

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Moosup - posted Tue., Aug. 16, 2011
Author Sandra Marton will speak at the Aldrich Library in Moosup on Aug. 23, at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Connecticut Author's Trail.. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Eighty-four novels and 35 million readers later, Sandra Marton has established herself as a USA Today and Harlequin best-selling author. The Connecticut resident will present a talk on the romance genre at the Aldrich Library in Moosup on Aug. 23, at 6:30 p.m., as part of the Connecticut Author's Trail.

In order to complete 84 novels, Marton has had to establish a serious schedule. She's in her office by 9 in the morning and usually works until 6 at night. When she is hot on the trail of her alpha male, she will often write six days in a row. Her multi-year contracts usually call for up to three books a year. And this after recently cutting back on her schedule.

“You have to be serious about the work in order to develop readers,” she said. “People might think a romance writer's life is full of flowers and fluff, but I work a lot harder than if I worked for someone else. I hate to leave a story.”

When she does finish a story, she takes a few weeks off before starting her next book. Those interludes can last from six to eight weeks. Sometimes they are much shorter, depending on her publication deadlines. She and her husband love to travel, and it's between books that they usually fit in trips. Inevitably deadlines loom, and the characters she intends to write about start demanding she tell their story. That's when she gets back to her writing.

When Marton writes family sagas, she creates a family and then writes about each member of the family. When the sagas continue for several books, publication dates are sometimes set quickly one of top of the other, because readers want to read the follow-up right away.

Romance fiction is the best-selling fiction in the world, according to Marton. She attributes the success to well-written romances, which she prefers to call “relationship novels.” “It takes a woman out of her life for a few hours and brings her to interesting worlds,” she said. “Women want and need them.”

If the market is any indication, Marton is dead-on. Almost two billion romances are sold yearly. According to the company's website, Harlequin publishes more than 100 titles a month and contracts with more than 1,200 authors worldwide. The Toronto-based company issues a wide range of romances, from inspirational to erotica, contemporary to historical, suspense to paranormal. It is the world's leading imprint of women's fiction, according to Marton.

Romance category sales are not immune to the changes in the publishing industry. A couple of years ago, E-publishing was merely a blip on the radar screen, according to Marton. Since then, E-books have changed the market tremendously. “Harlequin has taken that list of previously-published books and made them available for downloading,” she said. “That means readers can get them easily.”

Marton is an ex-New Yorker who currently makes her home in the northeast corner of Connecticut. She attributes some of her success to the area. “I can't imagine being as productive elsewhere,” she said. “I love living here.”

Her advice to readers who have never picked up a romance is to try it. “For anyone who has never read a romance novel, pick one up,” she suggests. You might find something you love.

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