Again and again I’m asked “why do you base your stories around heroines who are full figured?” I have only one answer and I have stood by it for years: Full figured women are real women. They love and desire just like their physically fit sisters do. And contrary to popular belief, there are sexy, desirable men out there who adore every ounce of them, and wouldn’t want them any other way.
My name is Corinne Shaw and I’ve dedicated my stories to these beautiful women who live outside the scope of what society considers “normal” or “ideal” and celebrate them for being who and what they are – desirable women. I began writing with The Wild Rose Press for their Scarlet line in October 2009.
When I was writing my first novel, Joe’s Birthday Girl, I was often questioned about my main character Elena’s voluptuous figure. Her character didn’t fit what is typically found in romance writing or romantic erotica. However, in my mind it is what fit. I am full figured. I have friends who are full figured, yet these women are just as beautiful, confident, strong, and admirable as any woman strutting around wearing a size six.
The story finished, it came time to search for a publisher and to my surprise and extreme happiness, I found that most erotic romance publishers offered stories with full-figured characters. My stories had a place, a market, and there were others out there who thought the same way I did. Then my book was published and it began selling, and those who reviewed it seemed to identify with the characters and loved the story. I was pleased as any writer could possibly be. I was published and I’d sold at least one copy. Dream fulfilled.
Based on the reviews I was asked by my publisher to begin working on a series based on the other characters in the book, which had been my intention if the reception to my novel was positive. How much better does it get? Instead of me begging someone to read a story for consideration, I was being asked for one. Evidently the market for full figured characters was out there.
One day while working on my second book, a Christmas novella entitled Alex’s Christmas Wish, I was sitting in my hairdresser’s chair as she snipped away with her scissors, and told me how much she and her friends absolutely loved Joe’s Birthday Girl. Then she went on to tell me she lent her copy to a customer who when she returned the book told my hairdresser, “She needs to be thin.” My hairdresser, Jen, echoed the words that were ringing in my head: “Why?” Jen even went on to tell me that the reader of the book who said this was a plus sized woman herself. The woman’s response was that it just seemed strange to her – it wasn’t what she was used to and that took away from her experience with the story.
It was at that moment that I realized, women who are full figured may not want to read about women like themselves even if they can identify with the character. Perhaps reading for them is an escape. Yet others say again and again they love the plus sized feminine angle. This thought continues to nag in the back of my head as I sit in front of a blank Microsoft Word document, wondering if I should go with the normal formula.
After some thought, I know I’m going to write what I love – and I love my full figured characters, as their men do…just the way they are. I am writing them mainly for who they are inside: their personalities, their strength, their thoughts and insecurities. The outer shell is simply to make them identifiable to the reader and to support what some of their vulnerabilities may stem from – each character by the end of the story overcoming those insecurities and finding strength within themselves, usually with the help of a loving, strong, confident man. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all (thin, heavy, short or tall) really want?
Joe’s Birthday Girl is available for purchase online in paperback and electronic book from thewildrosepress.com, Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Alex’s Christmas Wish is available only in electronic format and is available through the same vendors. You can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or look up Author Corinne Shaw on Facebook.