Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Writer's Wednesday - Figuring It Out: Coloring Outside The Lines

The fantastic Jennifer Faye is on The Pink Heart Society today, talking all about finding the perfect HEA and thinking outside the box when planning your novel...  

Who here is a creature of habit? *raises hand*

Do you find routines make life easier? *raises hand again*

Who likes their books to be routine? Umm…not so much.

I know that in some circles it is bandied about that there’s a formula to writing romance—trust me there isn’t or I would have found it on my quest to make my dream of becoming a published author a reality. But there are certain promises that authors, a line of books or genres make to the reader. And to me that is a good thing.

You don’t want to pick up a Harlequin Presents book and find yourself on a farm/ranch—not that there is anything wrong with them. I happen to love them. But when you pick up a Harlequin Presents you’re expecting suave, dashing alpha heroes that are lucky in business but unlucky in love. You’re expecting a posh setting, wealth, power and a happily-ever-after. If you want a farm/ranch, pick up a Harlequin American with a drool-worthy cowboy on the front. The point is to give the reader what they’re expecting but with a twist.

Since I write for Harlequin Romance, I’m going to spotlight them. This is the promise printed on their website:

You adore a feel-good love story! Harlequin Romance offers uplifting escapes featuring real, relatable women and strong, deeply desirable men. Experience the intensity, anticipation and sheer rush of falling in love.

As an author, I interpret the promise to the reader to be a short but emotional read. With only 50,000 words to weave a compelling love story, the lens has to be focused very closely in on the hero & heroine without much room to chase rabbits.

The other promise of the line is a happily-ever-after. And for me that is a given. If I wanted unhappy endings, I'd just turn on my evening news. ;-) In my make-believe-world, I want my hero and heroine to find happiness together. I figure they've earned it after all they've gone through in the book. ;-)

But what happens between the first-meet and the happily-ever-after? Well, that's open for all sorts of ideas. There are lightly traced lines for Harlequin Romance, but I think those are common sense boundaries such as you won't find a horror story, supernatural or historical. But you will find stories that take certain liberties such as my July release. THE RETURN OF THE REBEL has a hint of suspense in it, which was a lot of fun to write. And between you and me, I wasn't sure if my editor would go for it, but if you don't try something, you'll never know. Luckily she loved the idea. :-)

My current release, A PRINCESS BY CHRISTMAS, has a fairytale element complete with a Mediterranean palace. After all, how many women wouldn't mind finding a sexy Prince Charming of their very own?
The sky is the limit for how the hero and heroine reach their HEA. One method fellow author, Shirley Jump, teaches is THE RULE OF SIX. Basically she teaches you not to go with your first idea or your second, but to keep reaching for more ideas and you'll find yourself coloring outside the lines. ;-)

Jennifer's new release, A PRINCESS BY CHRISTMAS, is available now!

A royal kiss under the mistletoe...

Prince Alexandro Castanovo arrives in snowy New York intent on protecting his royal family from scandal. And when Reese Harding—down-to-earth and heart-stoppingly beautiful—finds room for him at her inn, it seems like the perfect twist of fate.

Not long ago Reese's world came crumbling down, shaking her foundations. But this enigmatic stranger intrigues her! She's learned to be wary of secrets…but when she discovers Alex's true identity, might there be enough magic in the air to make this regular American girl a princess by Christmas…?

To find out more about Jennifer and her books, visit her on her website, or her Facebook and Twitter pages.

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