Brand new newbie Silhouette Desire author Paula Roe waxes lyrical with us today about her favourite category romance...or should that be romances ;)
I must say, defining only ONE category book is like trying to limit yourself to one flavor of chocolate... there's times when you want a Caramello Koala, or when Cadbury's Peppermint filling will work better. Then there's Ballantine's
Once upon a time I was a detractor of category romance. Yes - hard to believe, but true. I was an original sweeping historical saga chick, until I discovered - and to my surprise, loved - category. The line was Desire (surprise, surprise) and the book was Eileen Wilks' Wrong Wife. It was funny, pacy, with great characters and chemistry that leapt off the page - everything I thought category was not.
Then I tried Temptation and by this time, was happily proved wrong about what I thought 'category' was. Sadly, two Temptation standouts have since mysteriously vanished from my bookcase (I suspect my loaners were kept by other converts). One was about a hero detective on the trail of a cat, and the other was a small-town girl and a mechanic who solved the towns break-ins (it was the postman). If anyone has the titles, I'd love to know!
Why these books?
I only just figured out why I loved my keepers so much... for me, it's the characterization, combined with an interesting twist or plot. I also seem to latch onto particular themes and concepts: my faves are fish out of water, forced proximity, friends-turned-lovers and marriage of convenience. Sharon Sala's Way To Yesterday (time slip/romantic suspense) and Maggie Shayne's Out-Of-This-World Marriage (paranormal) and Miranda's Viking (paranormal) are all fish out of water. Kelly Hunter's Wife for a Week and Jane Porter's The Secretary's Seduction are MOC. Eileen Wilks' Wrong Wife is friends-turned-lovers. I also have very distinct likes - funny, comedic writing (like Jenny Crusie's categories, Lori Herter's Listen Up Lover, Beth Henderson's A Week 'til the Wedding) dramatic, almost melodramatic alphas, like the stuff of Robyn Donald, Helen Bianchin, Jane Porter and Trish Morey. Unusual, innovative 'out-there' stories and beta character-driven conflict (Paula Detmer Riggs' Maternity Row mini-series).
It's the characters that keep me reading, and how the author handles their problems. After I'm hooked, the 'big' stories suck me right in... especially Jan Colley's Melting the Icy Tycoon and Nalini Singh's Desert Warrior. I'm amazed that those two books, full of external plot and conflict, are packed into such a small wordcount :-) There always seems to be something happening, in addition to the push/pull internal conflict between the hero and heroine. By having the focus spread a little wider than just the two main characters, it's something that adds an extra layer to the overall story experience for me.
The best books on my keeper shelf and the ones that stick in my mind weeks/days/months later. Stories that after I read them, I go, "wow, I wasn't expecting that." Be it a plot twist, the way a character reacts or whatever, it has to work in the story. All my keepers work :-)
I recently did a post on my blog about my 20-1 favorite category books and, let me tell you, the placing was tiiiiight. In fact, the top 5 were pretty much neck and neck all the way, but for the purposes of the ranking, I had to give one book top honors: The Wallflower by Jan Freed (here at Amazon). I adore this book! Full of great conflict, plot twists and tension. It has a fun, young feel to it (think of the Drew Barrymore movie "Never Been Kissed") and the writing is so very skilful. It's just a fabulous read.
And you know, after I wrote that post, I thought of at least another dozen that should've made the list...
Paula's dwindling shelf space has been halted by the happy discovery of e-books, which she now stores on her computer. She's also thrilled that her first Desire, Forgotten Marriage (a Romantic Times 4.5 star Top Pick!), is out in the States this month, with an ANZ release of November.
Her next book, Boardrooms and a Billionaire Heir, is the 5th in the Diamonds Down Under Desire continuity and out in May 2008. Visit her at www.paularoe.comAre you in to try and win tonnes of goodies with The PINK HEART SOCIETY TREASURE HUNT??>
Today's Birthday Present for the Lil Pink Dancing Guy can be found at Michelle Styles Blog....