Romance novels come in many genres. It’s amazing how they’ve changed since I first picked up my first romance. I remember the intense feelings that the book brought out. It was based in Europe in the World War 2 era. I remember crying, laughing and being inspired to find my Prince Charming. I also remember finding out through reading that my Prince Charming would not always be perfect as the fairy tale goes.
For me a good romance needs to take you to another place. I want to be taken away from my normal world and transported into a exotic place, mystical place or just another time. I want the book to carry me away with emotions. The writer needs to make me think I’m there with the character, feeling the emotions, the anger, the sadness, the love, and especially the romance. I want to be able to still feel it even after I put the book down.
I can’t even imagine how many romance novels I’ve read in my lifetime. Recently I went through my collection of novels that are stored in my attic. I had to put them in plastic storage boxes as the boxes were falling apart from age and over use. It’s amazing how many times I’ve read some of them over and over. I even pulled some of them out and read them again. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a aged book. The yellowed pages pull you in and keep you engrossed.
I had several authors that I bought everytime I saw a new book in their collections. As I reboxed them I separated them by author. The publishers of most of them are still around, such as Harlequin, Avon and many others. I always knew if it had the Harlequin or Avon symbol on the side that it would be great. I remember going to flea markets and browsing hungrily through the many shelves of used books. As a teenager it was like a scavenger hunt for more titles from some of my favorites.
A couple of my favorite books have been purchased a couple of times. You may be wondering why, well let me explain. I would lend them out and they never got returned. Then I would go on a mad search for them. When I’d find them again, they would stay with me.
So for me a good romance needs to make an impression. I want to think about it again and again even after I’ve read The End. I want to read it over and over and still fall in love. The characters need to pull at my heart strings. I want to be able to see them in my mind’s eye and carry that throughout the book.
Recently I heard from one of my dear fans. She told me that the descriptions of my characters made her see them clearly. She said that she felt like she knew them personally as she read through to the end. I was pleased that I’d accomplished that goal. Sometimes that can be a hard thing for a writer. You have to make sure that your character is well thought out and explained. If they are blonde, make sure they are blonde throughout. I read a book not too long ago and the main character started out as a blonde and the writer somehow I guess forgot and by the end their hair was ebony. And no they didn’t change hair color out of a bottle. It totally blew my mind.
I love to read a romance that makes me cry. It doesn’t have to be from sadness, but it could be just the sweetness of the romance. I have several books that I read over and over that make me cry every time. It’s just such a sweet, tender romance that it draws out the emotional part of me.
So as you write, think about what draws you in. If you like time travel, then write about time travel. If you like a good, sappy romance, then write that sappy romance. If it’s erotica you love, then write erotica. Everyone has a niche and you have to find that niche. For me it’s the tender, sweet love story that builds throughout the story. I try to throw in a little intrigue and mystery, but in the end it’s the romance that draws you in.
So, as always, good writing and May God Bless You…