Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Writer's World - Enemies into Lovers (and giveaway) - Annie West

I'm not sure if I'm your average writer in this respect, but I tend not to think of my books in terms of types or themes until well after I've written them. For me each is a brand new adventure with fascinating new individuals facing their own challenges and conflicts. Oh, I know if I'm writing a marriage of convenience story, or if there's a secret baby (I've only done one so he was hard to miss) but generally I don't categorise my stories.

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.
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11 comments:

  1. I do. Especially the ones where as kids he tortured her/or she tortured him. Then as adults they realise that they were perfect for each other all along mrsajward@hotmail.com (Manda)

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    1. Hi Manda. I've never written one where the hero and heroine knew each other as kids. Something to look forward to. Thanks for the comment!

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  2. Sounds fabulous, Annie. I don't think I've ever written Enemies to Lovers. I really should try!

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    1. Barbara, I think you'd do a terrific job. I'm wondering if that style of book is more common in Harlequin Presents/Modern/Sexy. It's fun, isn't it, to look at what style of book you've written and what you haven't.

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  3. Annie, huge congratulations on the release of AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY. Such a big powerful meaty story - so much passion in these two characters, it was wonderful watching them battle their way to a happily ever after. Big sigh at the end of this one.

    I LOVE enemies into lovers books. I agree with you - the issue dividing them has to be strong enough to make for real conflict. Honour, loyalty, a long-held dream in jeopardy, something on that sort of scale. It was interesting, I just watched a wonderful zombie movie (not my normal genre) called WARM BODIES on the weekend and it was a classic enemies into lovers stories. After all, he's a zombie and she's a human! I just adore seeing love conquer the barriers placed between the lovers in a story like that - and there was so much tenderness in that story. Highly recommended.

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    1. Anna, thanks so much for the congratulations. It's great to see ENTICING getting out there and receiving reader feedback on it.

      Oh, I loved 'Warm Bodies' - such a sweet story, despite being a zombie flick. I suppose you couldn't get on opposing sides more than in this one. Isn't it great when the plot draws you into the transformation so you really believe in the enemies becoming friends and lovers?

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  4. Revenge stories really keep me reading. I love endings where misunderstandings are cleared up or bad deeds are forgiven. Like the enemies to lovers theme as well. Often neither one of the couple can stand each other in the first place but that little bit of chemistry goes to work and bam! ~ romance.

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    1. Hi Kaelee,

      You struck a chord for me when you mentioned bad deeds being forgiven. I like stories where there's a sense of moving on. As for the explosive chemistry - yes, please!

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  5. I do enjoy them, if they have depth and the H/H really work things out. Often you are enemies with somebody for a reason and even if it's just a misunderstanding, I want to make the couple work for their HEA :)

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    1. Hi Jo's daughter. Isn't it fun to see a couple work for their Happy ending? I always find it so satisfying. Thanks for dropping by.

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  6. Hi everyone. There's a new post up so I decided it was time to do my random draw. The winner of a signed copy of 'An Enticing Debt to Pay' is....Manda Ward. Congratulations, Manda. If you email me at annie(at)annie-west(dot)com with your postal address I'll get the book in the mail to you.

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