Top selling author, Lizzie Lamb poses a question about writing romance, “What challenges does an author face writing romance in today’s society?”
I was asked this question recently at a workshop I was holding. It made me think and here is my response.
As a reader and writer of romance I enjoy novels with a satisfying resolution and incumbent happy ending. One where the hero and heroine survive the trials and tribulations of their - often stormy - relationship, but in the end realise they are meant to be together. Forever.
However, I have noticed that many ‘romances’ nowadays feature as their central themes: infidelity, abusive relationships, and the single/divorced parent struggling against the odds. Add to those tropes novels which regularly feature middle-aged/middle class heroines suffering from low self-esteem and/or ‘empty nest’ syndrome. In short, novels which hold a mirror up to society and encourage the reader to examine their own lives against its reflection.
Bucking that trend, perhaps, I write about the moment when one falls in love and I want readers to recapture the buzz, whatever their ages. I know from feedback that my readership wants to remember the magic of that moment, too. I also enjoy writing about warm, emotion driven sex between my hero and heroine - once their internal/external conflicts have been resolved, naturally! Judging by the reviews I’ve received for Tall, Dark and Kilted, my debut novel, (81 in amazon.co.uk) the majority of my readers feel the same way.
I like romances full of sparky dialogue between the hero/heroine - and the funnier, the better. I enjoy placing my heroine in a situation where she has to use native wit, intelligence and resourcefulness to get her out of trouble - without the hero’s help. My second rom com: Boot Camp Bride, contains a large element of romantic suspense – a bit of a departure for me.
In short I couldn’t write a book I wouldn’t enjoy reading. I want my readers to close my novel with a happy sigh and with a smile on their lips. And to search the internet for my next book!!
Talking of which – I am currently writing number three which I hope to publish Spring 2015. Back to Scotland for this one and a gorgeous American hero: Brodie. See, falling in love all over again!!
Tall, Dark and Kilted
Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it the dream of being her own boss. She’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, but there's a catch. The centre lies five hundred miles north in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by Men in Kilts is shattered when she has an upclose and personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate - starting with Fliss. Facing the dole queue once more Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out his dysfunctional family. Can Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves?
Reviews for Tall, Dark and Kilted
· "Dramatic highland location? Check. Drop-dead gorgeous alpha male? Check. Suitably feisty heroine? Check. (Plus) Stellar cast of supporting characters . . ."
· "I am not normally a fan of modern romance, so the fact that 'Tall Dark and Kilted' held me spellbound says it all."
· "The relationship between Ruairi and Fliss sparkles like finest Champagne. How that girl keeps her hands off him for so long I'll never know!"
· "I fell in love with Ruairi Urquhart, myself - who wouldn't fall in love with a man who calls you - 'a chuisle mo chroi' - pulse of my heart?"
Boot Camp Bride
Take an up-for-anything reporter. Add a world-weary photo-journalist. Put them together . . . light the blue touch paper and stand well back! Posing as a bride-to-be, Charlee Montague goes undercover at a boot camp for brides in order to photograph supermodel Anastasia Markova. At Charlee's side and posing as her fiancé, is Rafael Ffinch award winning photographer and survivor of a kidnap attempt in Columbia. He's in no mood to cut inexperienced Charlee any slack and has made it plain that once the investigation is over, their partnership - and fake engagement - will be terminated, too. Soon Charlee has more questions than answers. What's the real reason behind Ffinch's interest in the boot camp? How is it connected to his kidnap in Columbia? In setting out to uncover the truth, Charlee puts herself in danger ... As the investigation draws to a close, she wonders if she'll be able to hand back the engagement ring and walk away from Rafa without a backward glance.
Reviews for Boot Camp Bride:
· It's impossible not to love the main characters and to dream you could live their story!
· Keep them coming Ms Lamb
· A roller-coaster ride . . . Highly recommended
· well-woven plot, atmospheric settings, and a strong, brilliantly created secondary cast of characters
· Best romance ever
· A book to lose yourself in
Boot Camp Bride - Romance and Intrigue on the Norfolk marshes
Tall, Dark and Kilted - Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen
"when I'm not writing - I'm dreaming"