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…
At the same time, I appreciate a romance where there’s a deep connection between the characters, and they grow closer as they get to know one another. Also, I love to laugh, so if they can be goofy together, even better.
Thanks so much, Samantha, for joining me on the blog today!
Give this blog a follow, because I have a bunch more Romance in Real Life interviews coming up, including one soon from the amazing Laura Kaye, superstar author of the Hard Ink series. I’ve also got one scheduled from Sandra of ReadsandReviews.com so we can hear from a reader of romance on the divide between reality and fantasy.
Everybody, just below you can check out Samantha’s swoon-worthy book about a deaf author who falls for the TV star who plays her main character.
Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in her own skin.
After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.
It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?
Samantha has wanted to be an author since she picked up her first book and realized authors get to create new worlds with just a pen and paper (or laptop, if you will). She loves to write about romance because, as someone who married her high school sweetheart, she absolutely believes in true love. She also loves making people laugh and feels love and laughter go hand in hand. If she can make someone both swoon and giggle with her words, she considers that a success. When not writing or at her day job, Samantha can be found either singing and dancing on stage in local musicals, or at home watching geeky television shows with her husband and their pet rabbit.