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|Hayley Matthews • 10/04/16|
The 411: From seductive vampires and dashing ship captains, to smooth detectives and manly ranchers, any couple can star in their own personalized romance novel thanks to YourNovel.com.
If you’ve ever read a romance novel and wished you and your partner could be the hero and heroine in the story, wish no more because that’s exactly what YourNovel.com does.
With more than 50 customizable books and ebooks to choose from, YourNovel makes fantasy a reality by helping couples create their own romance novel.
Founded more than 20 years ago by Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher, YourNovel has something for everyone — from travel to historical fiction to zombies, blending action and romance on every page.
“People read these books to get away from it, to get away from soccer practice, to get away from doing the laundry, shopping for groceries or those types of things, so our books offer that. Only ours have a twist — you’re in the book doing it,” Fletcher said.
We spoke with Fletcher and Newbern to learn more about the sexy details.
Fletcher and Newbern first came up with the idea for YourNovel when attending a conference together. Newbern revealed a surprising fact about herself when speaking on a panel: she had written a romance novel. When someone jokingly mentioned how much fun it would be if people could read about themselves in those steamy books, a light bulb went off.
They started outlining their first novel on the car ride home, and the rest is history.
YourNovel has more than 50 paperback and hardback books, as well as ebooks, on the site that are already written. The couple chooses which book they want to star in, and then Fletcher and Newbern offer more than 26 personalization items to include, such as the couple’s names, eye colors, hair colors, their favorite music and more.
“People sit down and they recap their lives … what they’ve learned, why they really love each other,” Fletcher said.
Novels come in “wild” and “mild” versions, with 95 percent of customers choosing wild, which Newbern describes as “titillating yet tasteful.” Couples can read wild and mild excerpts from each book before purchasing.
Users also can leave a dedication to their loved one within the first couple pages of their novel, and some have even used it to propose.
Being freelance travel writers, Fletcher and Newbern, who have been to all seven continents and on 62 cruises, take inspiration from their lives when creating themes for the books. Whether it’s golf, time traveling or safari, what stays consistent is the romance and passion.
“By and large, the absolutely most popular theme is the Beaches and Cruises category,” Newbern said. “We love hot weather destinations and the tropical drinks with umbrellas in them, swaying palms and white sands, and that’s always romantic.”
Not only are the books sexy and fun to read, but Fletcher and Newbern, who have been married for more than 20 years but still feel like newlyweds, said they love it when couples use the novels to reconnect and work out any problems.
“In our lives, we get so busy — we’re working, we’re trying to make a living, we’re trying to feed the kids or get the car oil changed, so we often find ourselves not saying things to each other that we really should. I mean the very simple stuff like ‘I love you. I couldn’t go on without you,'” Fletcher said.
“The good part, though, as is with all good romance novels, is they all end in happily ever after — the lesson that you can have everything, you can have success, fame, riches, but if you don’t have love, then what do you really have? Love is what matters,” Newbern added.
When Fletcher and Newbern set out to create YourNovel two decades ago, they didn’t know how to start a publishing company. They didn’t even have a computer, and they worked out of their kitchen on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
They just knew they wanted to entertain people and help couples grow closer, so they just did it. They are “the Nike ad come to life,” as Fletcher likes to say.
Now the dynamic duo wants to focus on paying it forward and helping other people accomplish their goal of being a published author by featuring their work on the site.
“If you have a good idea, act on it, so that when you find out it was a good idea, you’ll be the one who claimed it,” Fletcher said. “I think everybody has a great story to tell, but I think there are a lot of people who want to put that story down in writing. I think we’ll be expanding in that area of finding new authors, of helping them achieve their dreams, and going on a ride with them.”
Not only are Fletcher and Newbern assisting aspiring writers, but they’re also improving the overall reputation of the romance novel industry, making it less embarrassing to like the genre. They’re proving it doesn’t always have to be a damsel in distress with large breasts waiting for the hunk with rippling muscles to come to the rescue.
“I do think that the genre of romance writing has become much more respected, and I think, in large part, it’s because it’s so proven,” Newbern said. “Nowadays the women have an equal part in the heroine and heroism portions of the writing.”
When it comes down to it, romance novels are simply about promoting love, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
“People aren’t really seeing face-to-face as much as they’re texting/emailing, so this idea of something that’s personal just for you and your sweetie — we’ve had a big impact,” she said. “I think people have always been romantic. It’s just that from time to time … we might forget that feeling. We do believe that what we do helps remind folks of that, and we’re very proud of that.”
To learn more about YourNovel.com and start your own romantic literary adventure, visit www.yournovel.com.