Friday, April 1, 2011

Dr. William Emener - Lessons on Love and Life

When a friend suggested he write a romance novel, Dr. William Emener was intrigued. As a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida – Tampa, Emener had written countless professional papers and journal articles. At the time, he had also published more than 20 books, but all were non-fiction: textbooks, pop-psych, and self-help books based on his 40 years of experience as a teacher, counselor and psychologist. Though he was justifiably proud of his work, there was a creative part of him that yearned to use words to paint pictures and touch human emotions. But romance novels?  Even though he’d spent a good deal of his professional life dealing with the intricacies of interpersonal relationships, Emener had to admit this was quite a leap.
As a research professor, he decided to do some research. He began reading romance novels.  As he read, he discovered a way to use the genre as an instructional tool.  “I realized that none of the books I’d read addressed deeper psychological issues,” he says. “So I decided to take the basic aspects of adult loving relationships and build them into a novel. I could include the typical romance novel concepts, then delve deeper into some of the underlying psychological aspects.”  This was the premise for My Sweetpea: Seven Years and Seven Days, the story of a couple struggling with the end of a seven year marriage. The novel also explores the personal issues each character brought into the marriage that doomed it to failure. This was followed two years later by Fear of Feeling Loved, the tale of a woman whose “commitment phobia” causes her to sabotage her romantic relationships. Emener’s latest book, If Ever Again… It’ll be for Love, deals with a newly-divorced mother trying to balance her need for love with her desire to protect her little girl. Last month, all three novels became available as e-books (in Kindle format from and in e-Pub format from
Emener describes his books as “more than pedestrian level romance novels.” His biggest writing challenge was creating characters that readers could invest in emotionally. “It was difficult to tell the readers what I wanted them to know about a character and still allow them to make the story theirs,” he explains. “To make the reader identify with a character, I have to leave something out so the reader can fill in the blanks. To use a jazz metaphor, a good song has some notes missing so you have to fill them in yourself. Then you become part of the music.  I want my characters to become part of the reader’s life.”
Emener is currently at work on his fourth novel, tentatively titled Rainout, a mystery/romance that will be published sometime next year. When he isn’t writing, this recent retiree enjoys fishing, boating, golf, riding his Harley, and pitching on a co-ed softball team. The New Jersey native also loves basking in the sunshine at his St. Pete Beach home. But one of his biggest thrills is to hear that his books have made a difference in someone’s life. “My hope is that my books can impact a reader’s life for the better. When someone reads one of my books and says, ‘Wow! That really got to me,’ it makes it all worthwhile.”

For more about Dr. Emener, visit his website at

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