Love is the center of life. In all its many forms, it drives us, disappoints us, lifts us up and wrings us out. I know it certainly drives my writing, no matter if I’m in paranormal, contemporary, or suspense.
Lately, I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my husband about how real life and love are depicted in romantic fiction. About when people want escapism in their reading, and when they want their fiction to ring true to their real lives. About how much that might be changing with this new generation. So I decided to do this blog series interviewing other romance novelists about what they thought.
1. Has your real life inspired or influenced the way you write about love?
Absolutely. I met my husband in high school, and it’s one of those stories people roll their eyes at. The first time I saw him, I knew. I actually told my best friend, “I’m going to marry that guy.” Of course, it took him a bit longer to come around, but we’ve been together ever since. I kind of love that the man in the pictures of my prom is the same one in the photos of my wedding.
This means I’m a total sap who loves to write about that love that is overwhelming and sweet and will last beyond the pages.
2. How do you keep your romance conflicts fresh and interesting, but still realistic?
I like to create fun storylines where my characters meet, and there is usually some secrecy in who they really are. In FLIRTING WITH FAME, the main character, Elise, meets superstar actor Gavin on the set of the TV pilot being filmed of her book – except no one knows Elise is the actual author. She’s hired someone else to fill that role.
And in Dealing in Deception, Veronica is an actress for hire, hired by Baxter to play the part of his business partner. She hides who she really is from everyone—including herself. Bax is constantly calling her out on it.
Putting characters in situations where they are challenged to finally acknowledge themselves and their feelings is one of my favorite things to do. As someone who also performs in musicals in my downtime, I know the safety in pretending to be other people. Sometimes real life is tough, and it can be easy to cling to any way out. But love is all about being who you are and having someone want to stay with you anyway. I think that’s one of the reasons my husband I have been together for so long. I can be a total dork around him, and he’s okay with that.
3. Do you like your romance writing to be escapist fantasy or more of a mirror of real life? Is that the same or different as what you look for in your pleasure reading?
A combination of both, I think. There’s always going to be a fantasy element in my books because I personally read to escape. I want to be taken to a place where I can be a Queen, or money isn’t an issue, or the hot actor notices the mousey writer…