Thursday, April 17, 2014

Historical Romances Are Anything But Boring...

Hi Everyone,

Recently a woman told me she didn’t read historical romances because they were boring. I replied, “Some of them might be, but not mine—far from it!” I’m not sure if I convinced her to try historicals, but our conversation got me wondering, why do some romance readers think historicals are dull?

Maybe they were turned off by boring history lessons in school, or they think nothing exciting happened in the days before electricity and the Internet. Perhaps they tried a historical romance ages ago and it was weighted down with hard-to-read language or endless “boring” details.

When I sit down to write a historical (and I’ve written a dozen of them), I never know where the characters will take me. Each book starts out from a different place. Sometimes I’ll know the plot before I meet the characters (as in The Viking’s Witch and The Dark Lord) and other times I’ll know everything about the characters and then have to work with them to uncover the plot. (This happened with my newest historicals, Wilderness Bride and Dangerous Indenture.)

But no matter how the story unfolds, I always make sure the characters are interesting and lively. I don’t have “stuffy shirts” making long-winded speeches about politics, law, or anything not crucial to the storyline. You won’t find me (or my characters) giving anyone a history lesson!

As I’m writing, I include only the historical details and descriptions that are integral to the story. I don’t bog down the plot with a step-by-step procedure for churning butter, or go into an endless description of how to unfasten a corset (unless it’s befuddling the hero who’s eager to remove it!). Readers of historical romances understand that in the 1700 and 1800s everyone knew how to ride a horse, so I don’t have to describe it. But, if I was writing a time travel romance where the heroine from 2014 Brooklyn found herself in the mid-1700s, I would need to show how everything seemed different and strange through her eyes.

When I wrote WildernessBride, I researched mail order brides, different time periods, American history, Native Americans, fur trappers, traders, and more. Some of the interesting things I learned in my research I added into the storyline or weaved into the background, but I couldn’t use everything. It was important for me to convey the flavor of the time period while keeping the reader hooked and the plot moving.

Every romance genre has its fans. Some people like to read contemporary romances, others live for paranormals, and there are those who switch up genres and read anything that sounds appealing. I like writing historicals—but I also write contemporary, paranormal, fantasy, and gay romances, too. Why? Because I enjoy writing great romances about interesting characters that fall in love, whenever and wherever that may be.

If you’ve never read historical romances, don’t be shy, give them a try! You might just find yourself swept away to a long ago time period in a place far away…

Why not start with my latest historical romance, Wilderness Bride? Order it here:

Next week I'll be posting an excerpt from Wilderness Bride and sharing the backstory of how the book came about.
Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins


Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 90 short stories, seventeen romance novels (for Medallion Press and Amber Quill Press), and four non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels. Kelli has two historical romances debuting this spring. Wilderness Bride is available now from Amber Quill Press: and Dangerous Indenture is coming in May from Medallion Press:

Kelli publishes a blog: ( filled with excerpts, interviews, writing prompts, and whatever else pops into her head. She also writes a monthly newsletter, Kelli's Quill, and posts on Facebook and Twitter. Kelli invites readers to visit her website, to learn more about all of her writings.