Writers of romance, and particularly writers of category romance, like me, are often accused of writing heroes and heroines who are friendless orphans. I sometimes wonder if readers think we're just plain mean with the number of heroes we write who are loners after a grim childhood or heroines who are cast adrift from friends and family to face all sorts of trauma alone, or as good as.
Maybe there is a touch of meanness but truly, the reason so many characters are alone is that it can be distracting to have lots of characters on the page when the reader wants to focus on the love story. Besides, how can we get the most out of our characters, make them suffer and redeem themselves and show their true worth, if there's a multitude of supporters there to help them out and make life easier for them?
In longer stories one of the joys is often the secondary romance or other subplot, usually involving the hero/heroine's friend or relation. But those are more likely to be single title stories. That's why you'll find many category romance authors killing off family connections with great abandon while writing.
This Christmas just gone brought home to me again the importance of friends. We had family members staying with us for three weeks, which was special. So of course there was more than the usual round of festive season socialising. As well as that, we managed to catch up with some old friends - people we've known for years but who live elsewhere. Usually we swap a little news with Christmas cards but that's about it.
This year though we've had several interstate visitors, quite unexpectedly and delightfully. As well as that there have been long distance calls to others. I don't know about you but I intend to call for a chat and I think about my distant friends often but never seem to think of calling when I actually have time for a good natter. This Christmas/New Year was different.
And you know what was best of all? The fact that in every case, despite the years since we'd seen each other, the friendship was as fresh as if we'd met only the week before. Some friends are there for life, aren't they? It's wonderful knowing that they will be there to celebrate with you or support you over the tough times, when you need them.
It makes me glad I'm a romance writer and not a romance heroine. I'd rather keep my friends and family, thank you. I much prefer to have all that lonely suffering on the page of a novel rather than in real life. I must say I love the energy levels and anticipation of drama to come when I start a story where the heroine is alone and in peril of some sort.
What do you think? Do you prefer romances where the heroine and hero are surrounded by close knit family and well-meaning friends, or do you like to read (or write) ones where the heroine is facing the odds all alone?
My March release CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT features Lucy, a woman who couldn't be more alone. What's left of her family disowned her the day she was convicted of killing a man. Now it's her first day out of prison and she's facing the paparazzi and the vengeful billionaire brother of the dead man. Surely Lucy and Domenico are the least likely pair ever to fall in love?
I've posted an excerpt and pictures of the places that inspired the story on my webpage. The book is on sale at The Book Depository, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.