I read and write romance novels because I love the chase, the raging mixed emotions, and of course the happily-ever-after. For me a romance novel has to take me out of the current world I’m in, and jet me away to super-uber, fascinating places that can only be experienced in a fantasy world where private jets, chauffeured Bentleys and private islands are located ---all of which are in my upcoming release, by the way. However, the hero and heroine have to be relatable for me as well. Just because the hero is a millionaire or billionaire that doesn’t mean he can’t have experienced hardships.
For example, in my book Prescription for Desire, the heroine Dr. Raven Arrington, (an Ob/Gyn) had a miscarriage a few months after her husband died because of fibroids. I received numerous emails from readers who’d had similar situations and were happy that I didn’t sugar coat it for there are women who are suffering in silence. I also remember a reader who said while she never had an issue with childbearing, her heart broke for the heroine because she brought babies into the world but couldn’t have any of her own.
In the my upcoming release, The Sweetest Kiss, the hero Broderick Hollingsworth’s mother died of a drug overdose when he was only eight years old. His father was in out of his life and the hero moved in with different relatives off and on until he wound up in foster care. His family pretty much abandoned him and said the only way he’d make it out of the hood was in a casket or behind bars. Of course all of that only made Broderick focused and strong-willed to prove them all the wrong and he did.
I include realistic/real world situations that add to the character development but at the same time without completely harping on it throughout the entire book. After all it’s a romance novel and I know my readers want the sexy, steamy scenes as well. However, by giving the hero and/or the heroine a real world related issue, it adds to the goal, motivation, conflict which can help drive the story along as well as feeling a compassion for the characters and thus wanting them to succeed.
Do you think that the addition of realism in romance helps to add gravitas to the genre? Join the discussion with Candace in the comments!
Candace Shaw writes for Harlequin Kimani Romance and self-publishes as well. She loves hearing from readers and can be reached on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google Plus. Below are the two books mentioned:
Since the death of her husband three years ago, Dr. Raven Arrington has found herself in the same mundane routine. Needing a change of scenery, she escapes to a little town outside of Buenos Aries to temporarily work at a medical facility. Raven didn’t realize what prescription for medicine she needed until she meets Chief of Staff, Dr. Armand Phillips. With just the right dose of desire, the gray-eyed, sinfully suave doctor awakens a part of her she’d suppressed.
Armand knows having a fling with a co-worker is a prescription for trouble, but the older, sophisticated doctor is like no other woman he’s met. He’s used to no responsibilities outside of his career and loves his freedom to travel wherever needed. However, Armand is willing to sacrifice it all in order to make Raven his—despite her reservations—and to give her what she wants more than anything.
Luscious, tantalizing, delectable…and that's just Tiffani Chase-Lake's cupcakes. The moment Broderick Hollingsworth sets eyes on the sexy baker herself, he's truly intrigued. For the first time, the wary real estate developer is ready to open up to someone. Then he realizes that his next business deal is going to leave Tiffani and her cozy bakery high and dry…
Just as hardworking single mom Tiffani is falling for Broderick's easy charm, she learns about the property deal that will destroy her business. Even her most decadent dessert can't eclipse the bitter taste of betrayal. Tiffani's livelihood and her independence are on the line. Walking away from their sensual chemistry won't be easy—but is trusting him a recipe for heartache?