However, I was doing something recently that made me think in terms of themes. I recently wrote my first ever reunion story. My first in 21 books! Now, that says something. I realised that one of the themes I enjoy writing (and reading) is Enemies to Lovers. Not all my books, and not all the time, but there's a certain energy in this classic theme that I love to play with.
You could also call this Opposites Attract or Falling in Love with the Worst Possible Person. As a romance author I adore watching my characters grapple with circumstances that they think can't get any worse, until they do. It's a sure fire way to delve some emotional depths and see what they're made of.
So what does this style of story involve? Well obviously, we have some enemies or at least a pair who believe themselves to be on opposite sides of a significant divide. The more personal the reason for their opposition the better. If they just have a polite argument about something theoretical that doesn't really make them enemies, does it? For my money what really sets them at odds is having personal goals which draw them into direct conflict. A trifling argument or a misconception that could be easily remedied won't work. It must be a conflict that is heartfelt and which will sustain the book, not be resolved in the twinkling of an eye.
Moreover, I love opposing sides where there is some right on both sides. I hate a hero who runs roughshod over the heroine simply because he can. That's not heroic, that's bullying. But a hero who believes the heroine is threatening someone he loves and who therefore acts to stop her doing so - well I can understand that, and sympathise, even if I feel for my heroine. I want characters who are redeemable, after all.
These stories often deal with revenge or loss and grievances. They also, because there must be a good reason for this pair to be enemies, rather than just people who agree to differ, include a great big dollop of emotion. I think it's this that hooks me most of all. I love a story that's packed with emotion. I suspect I love a hint of mystery too and who could be more mysterious that the tall, dark, dangerous man who's just walked onto the page and set himself up as my heroine's enemy?
Do you enjoy Enemies into Lovers stories? If so, what are your favourites?
I'll give away a copy of my current release AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY to someone who leaves a comment
To get you started I'll mention I just watched the marvellous TV adaptation of Elisabeth Gaskell's North and South (and not just to watch that famous Richard Armitage kiss!). The hero and heroine in that story start off on the wrong foot and by a series of misunderstandings but also through the process of learning to adjust to new ideas, become confirmed enemies even as they fall in love. The journey is emotional and so very satisfying.
Here are the North American and UK covers of ENTICING. While the American one focuses on the romance, the blue UK one gives a glimpse of the dangerous, calculating enemy Jonas aims to be, till he's undermined by love. Here's a taste:
Dial R for Revenge…
Forgiveness is a foreign concept to wealthy investment trader Jonas Deveson. Someone has been stealing from him. He's got a good idea who it is and she's going to pay….
Seeing the harsh lines that bitterness has carved into Jonas's handsome features, Ravenna Ruggiero knows he'll never see the shades of gray in her actions.
Jonas blackmails Ravenna into working as his housekeeper to pay off her debt, but living under the same roof leads to unexpected yet forbidden temptation, and Jonas is no longer sure who is being punished!
If you want to find out more about the story, pop by my website or check it out at any of your favourite bookstores.