Happy Valentine’s Day!
Today is all about celebrating love and romance and cherishing those you hold dear. What better way to do that than in a romance novel?
People read romances for different reasons: for great storylines, to live vicariously through the characters they care about, and to know that whatever obstacles these lovers face, they’ll overcome them together.
I write stories based around characters who find each other, fall deeply in love, and live happily ever after—but not without going through some emotional ups and downs. Although my characters love each other, everything isn’t always roses and sunshine. As they work through their challenges, they have to learn a few lessons about themselves, trust, honesty, or whatever their personal internal struggles are.
For example, Sherrie and Curtis, in my contemporary romance, Trust with Hearts, have to work through painful issues in their pasts before they can open up and learn to trust again. In my historical fantasy, A Most Intriguing Temptation, Elara and Dalton learn important lessons about temptation and fidelity.
And in my gay romance, A Secret Match, Everett struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and be open about who he really is. These trials and emotional hardships are realistic challenges that people face in their lives. But once the characters have learned what they need to, they can live happily-ever-after.
But sometimes love can be a surprise. In some of my books, the characters aren’t looking for love—it’s the furthest thing from their minds—but there it is. One morning, Cassie, from Lies, Love & Redemption had a handsome stranger collapse in her arms and nearly die in her store. Sam turned out to be her strongest advocate—and soul mate. Brian was taking in the waves when he found his true love on a deserted beach in Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover. Although these types of relationships are uncommon, the characters focus on commitment and “being there” for the other person for the long haul, no matter what. And that’s important in “real life” too!
Many of my characters find true love when they are willing to open their hearts and risk sharing their deepest emotions, darkest secrets, and intimate desires—and then discover that the other person loves them even more for it. David and Jack from Four Days with Jack are an excellent example of how opening up and risking rejection can lead to true love. Claudette, from A Most Unfortunate Prince, has a checkered past and is hesitant to confess her secret to Allan, but when she does, she finds true acceptance.
One of the things I like about writing romances is that I can make life miserable for the main characters and keep readers wondering: How are they going to live happily-ever-after? How will they get past this? And in real-world situations couples may be thinking the same thing about the challenges in their lives.
In my books, I make sure the characters get on each other’s nerves, and I add lots of conflict (external and internal) to pull them apart. (Haven’t we all been there?) The conflict can be anything that will destroy their happy world: maybe he won’t compromise; his parents don’t approve because she’s from a different ethnic background; the hero finds out the heroine has a secret; the man he loves cheated on him (or so he thinks); his beloved princess was kidnapped; or a blackmailer wants her dead.
In The Viking’s Witch, Odaria is nearly burned at the stake and is rescued by Rothgar, a brutish Norseman she can’t stand. Over the course of the book they fall in love, but at the same time they bicker, keep secrets from each other, people are trying to kill them, and it seems that Rothgar has betrayed her to her sworn enemy. Yet, under all that conflict and heartache, their love is a constant, and they learn important lessons as they fight to stay together.
Whether you read historicals, fantasy, gay, paranormal, or contemporary romances (or a combination) you’re always guaranteed a great story, troubled characters you can’t help but root for, some steamy love scenes, and a happy-ever-after ending.
Because in the end, love conquers all, and that’s how it should be.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re in a committed relationship or not, find someone you care about and tell him or her how much they mean to you! (And don’t forget to show your pets some extra love today, too!)
Until next time,