Sunday, March 29, 2009

All Six Strapping Lads on Display at Barnes and Noble

Thanks to Allison Brennan and Toni Causey for the very cool picture. :)  It still feels very surreal to me to have six books out in less than two years.  Talk about going from zero to 60 in under a minute, LOL.  

Seeing all the books like that got me a little reflective about my own writing--not that I can ever really "see" it objectively.  If there's one thing I've really learned since becoming published--I can never guess what readers are going to respond to!  

But I do think certain "themes" have emerged.  Clearly I love tall, good-looking, muscle-bound alpha heroes, mostly because (1) that's what I like to read--hey, it's part of the fantasy (for me at least) (2) the setting really demands it--you had to be pretty darn tough to survive in these times.  They all have honorable cores, although the "line in the sand" might be a little different for each of them.  (My CPs Jami Alden and Bella Andre and I will be doing a workshop at RWA this year on Alpha Heroes, BTW, if you're planning on going.)  If they happen to resemble Clive Owen in King Arthur, Eric Bana in Troy, Gerard Butler in 300 (minus the beard) and Viggo in Lord of the Rings, it's a coincidence.

My heroines, I hope, are also products of their time.  They have what I like to call "quiet strength" (they have to be able to tame these formidable warriors after all) and are smart, though they might start out a little sheltered and naive.  I tend not to do the "super-hero, kick-butt heroines"--because I can't see myself like that, but never say never, right?

Not surprisingly, I LOVE the Romeo and Juliet "Star-Cross'd Lovers" theme--but since I write Scottish that's probably a truism, LOL.  Feuding clans...need I say more?  Actually, I think in one of my author's notes that R&J was a bit of Tudor propaganda. Queen Elizabeth was very aware of the Scottish feuding clan/border situation and Shakespeare's play--thought to be written in the 1590s--certainly picks up on the dangers. 

A couple other favorite themes:  revenge and justice.  

HIGHLAND SCOUNDREL is the first "reunion" story I've done, which is surprising since that is one of my favorites to read.  Reunion stories have all kind of built in tension that I love--you have these two people who loved each other, but are separated and then thrust back together.  In Highland Scoundrel, Jeannie and Duncan fall in love when they are very young and are torn apart by war and betrayal.  When they come back together, they are older and "wiser," but all those raw feelings bubble to the surface and bring back all those hot emotions.  

Reunion stories tap into one of the reasons I like to read romance in the first place--what my friend Jami and I call the "high school emotions," where everything is raw, emotional, very dramatic and very important.  When I read a romance, I want to remember how it felt to be in love when I didn't have two kids, dishes, laundry and bills to worry about.  I want to feel that no matter how calm, cool and collected they might be on the outside when it comes to this other person they lose it.  

Most reunions stories (Highland Scoundrel included) also tap into the first love fantasy.  To me there's just something about the idea of a first love so strong that it can weather all kind of storms.  It also taps into the fantasy of "what if?"  What if you could go back to your first love...would it still be the same?  It's the same thing that makes people google old boyfriends, LOL.

So enough self-analysis.  I've told you mine, what are some of your favorite themes or story-types in romance?  Do you have a secret love for a good boss/secretary?  Secret baby?