Sunday, April 1, 2012

Romance Writing Syndromes



Congratulations to "Christine" and "Elizabeth", the winners of Carla's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

Today is my sister’s birthday.  Being April Fool’s day and all, I can only imagine the torment she’s gone through with people teasing her all the time. Can you imagine hearing, “Wow, I bet your mother was fooled” all the time? Lame, but people do believe it’s funny.  Bless their hearts. 

My sister is four years older than me and today is an important milestone. With that said, yes, she’s forty.  What? You don’t believe I’m thirty-six? Shame on you! How does the saying go? You’re only as old as you feel.

Well, let me get to the meat of this post. In books, I’ve found the ones I enjoy the most have family in it. Most romances have what I’ve heard called the Dead Parent Syndrome. You’ve never seen so many orphans than you do in Romance.  And don’t get me started on the Only Child Syndrome. You sort of expect DPS to show up in historical romance. Between all of the diseases and the nasty childbirth practices back then, chances were good that the main characters were raised by an aunt or uncle. But the phenomenon spilled over to contemporary many years ago. As an author, I know how tempting it is to kill off all of the family. Just think of the angst and damage the person would be going through all alone. Plus the character can behave any way they want without worrying about how mom would react.
Why do I like having parents and siblings even in the type of romantic suspense I write? First, let me explain what I write. I love edgy, hot stories of a man and woman who try to do right but screw up along the way. (Pun intended.) My current book, Circle of Desire, is so much like that and the strange thing is in this book the two main characters have DPS. But siblings pop up everywhere and that trend continues in my book due out June 5, Circle of Danger.  But in the third book, Circle of Deception (tentatively titled), someone’s parents will finally show up, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
So now I’ll answer the question above. I believe readers can only handle so much angst and damage. A favorite author of mine loves to torment her characters and one book of hers in particular I had to put down a time or two because of all the pain and suffering. All I could think of is, “Give the guy a break!”  Hey, when you like the hero, you want his life to improve, especially after meeting the heroine (and vice-versa). Besides, we like believing there are parents who are alive and their children have grown up to become awesome heroes/heroines. Some of us had parents who did a decent job of parenting. If we’re messed up, it’s because of actions by other people, not in our nuclear family, that have touched us in a negative way or maybe all it is, is us being human.

Okay, now I have a question. When it comes to your auto-buy button, what type of family story grabs your attention?  Or do you prefer they stay totally in the background as a memory or a “walk-through” character?

Carla will be giving away one copy of (e-format or paperback, winner’s choice) CIRCLE OF DESIRE and a copy (pre-order e-format only) of CIRCLE OF DANGER to two lucky commenters.

Giveaway ends 9pm EST April 2nd.. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email justromanticsuspense @ gmail.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.    




36 comments:

  1. Hi Carla! My SIL turns 40 today too. ANOTHER coincidence to further cement our belief that you and I should have been sisters. :)

    I love your blog post about DPS. It's becoming cliche and laughable that the hero and heroine have dead parents in our stories. I agree, I'm guilty of this too. But I did partly redeem myself in my most recent release, SIMON SAYS DIE, in which I at least introduce a passel of brothers and a step-father for the hero. I'm really glad I did too, because it showed the characters in an entirely new light and made the novel richer (in my opinion).

    I still have Circle of Desire on my TBR pile - which is enormous - but I'm looking forward to reading it. I love your cover for your next novel, Circle of Danger. Will definitely be ordering my copy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are certainly sisters of a different mother/father for sure. LOL! I'm with you about silbings/family making the story richer. Plus with a family as a foundation, it has to help the reader feel like the hero and heroine will be successful in their happily ever after.

      And, folks, be sure to pick up Lena's HE KILLS ME, HE KILLS ME NOT too. And read it with the lights on. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by, Lena, and all of you kind words.

      Delete
  2. I have not heard of DPS until I read you blog, but how true! Many romance books I have read do have DPS. It is refreshing when authors write about heroes and heroines with solid families. Having said that, I just love a good romance to take my mind of my ordinary but stressful life. I would love to win a copy of Circle of Desire in ebook format! emoua2003atyahoodotcom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I feel the same way about books. They're a way to escape for a few hours. No matter the heartbreak the characters go through, we know there is a happy ending waiting for them. How they get there is what draws us to the story.

      Delete
  3. We have an email entry into the giveaway...

    I just like families in the back ground. Unless you have one that ya quarky to had a little humor email tthompson8957 at gmail dot com thanks for the giveaway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, tthompson8957, thanks for sending the email. I will add that in some stories, the family in the background works best. To me, in particular, the edgier and more dangerous the hero (or heroine), the less likely of his family existing in his life or life at all.

      In CIRCLE OF DESIRE, Olivia is hard and edgy. Not having family is part of the reason she was that way.

      Delete
  4. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Carla's Sister! You've already got your present! You've got a GREAT sister!

    You crack me up with DPS and OCS. I have GOT to remember those.

    Being without a family definitely affords a writer the opportunity to make a hero or heroine 50 Shades (snort!) of messed up. I'm not the most sane person on the planet. Can't imagine what I would be like without my family. I was raised by amazing parents and have to overbearing and overprotective younger brothers.

    I like hero's and heroine's with family. My first hero had a great relationship with his mother and it made for quite a few funny moments.

    In my current WIP both my hero and heroine have DPS, but they have siblings and she has the most eccentric and crazy family in England. Her uncle mistakes the hero for a visiting cousin and asks "Which side of the family are you from - the murderers or the lunatics?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Louisa! I'm not sure about me being great, but when we were growing up, I thought my sister was the coolest and most beautiful of all. Yes. She's the pretty sister. I was the one who couldn't shut her mouth. LOL!

      Murderers or the lunatics? So awesome. My kind of book and oddly makes me think of my families. :-) Hugs.

      Delete
  5. Hi Carla,
    I have never heard of DPS and find it interesting. Perhaps this has become "cliche". It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your sister.
    And, I would totally be interested in reading your books.
    Please enter me in the draw.

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, Janet, see my reply below. I clicked on the wrong button. :-)

      Delete
  6. You're right, Janet. I believe it has become a cliche in someways. Maybe it's our way of saying we wish our parents would stay out of our lives. :-) But most likely it's easier for the author to write the story if she/he doesn't have to worry about more secondary characters.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Carla, I hope your sister has a wonderful birthday! I didn't have the best family life so I enjoy stories with or without parents and siblings. Stories with strong families do let me see the other side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. Having a family has its ups and downs for sure. Hugs.

      Delete
  8. Happy birthday to your sister! Very interesting post. I like books with families in them.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, bn100!

      Sorry for the delay in answering. My computer wasn't working correctly and not refreshing the pages. It took me a while to figure that out. :-)

      Delete
  9. I always wanted to have April 1 as my birthday - missed it by more than a month. I love it when the family of the hero/heroine shows up on the page. It can add so much dimension to characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They certainly add dimensions. :-) Thanks, Wynter.

      Delete
  10. I feel that families of characters add so much more to both the story and to the overall personality of a character...
    I was lucky enough to win a copy of your book CIRCLE OF DESIRE recently and can say that I truly enjoyed it! I will admit that I was unfamiliar with you as an author before getting your book, but will look forward to more! Thanks for sharing and Happy B-day wishes to your sister!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwww! Thanks, Colleen. Flattery will get me as your friend for life. :-)

      Delete
  11. I feel that families and siblings add to the story. Most of the time they are featured as the next book or soon after. The families add to the story as the secondary characters and their issues. Loved Circle of Desire and Want to win Circle of Danger. Love the characters and all their problems. Love the storyline. Love bad-ass women in stories.
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Chris! Thank you so much. As I was telling Colleen, you got me as a friend now. LOL!

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. LOL... you hit it on the nose! Sometimes it does seem like the market is over saturated with stories about DPS. I appreciate the drama of it, but come on... you have to live your own life and I'm pretty sure that every parent wants their child to move on.

    I like stories with strong solid, close families. I especially like the stories that have the close knit families that are all up into each other's business and when you fall in love/marry, you do it with them all :) I guess the appeal for me is b/c I don't have a large or very close family and I would have loved to have had cousins/sisters that were my friends too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, erin. I know what you mean. My childhood was filled with cousins galore, but after I got older, everyone went their own way and I miss that. Maybe that's why I enjoy books like that. The book I'm writing now (#3 in the Circle series) has a lot more family members and all the get-up-in-their-business going ons. LOL!

      Delete
  14. My grandparents were married on April 1st in the 50s. It was a second marriage for both and they eloped. No one believed them when they said they got married!

    I never thought much about the current trend in DPS. But I think you are right. I am so attached to my family and guess I am drawn to books with family as a strong part of the theme. Secondary characters can be so entertaining and it is exciting to see them expand into their own stories.

    I looked up both of your books on B&N and immediately added them to my wish list. They captured my attention and I can't wait to read them!

    Heather E
    hregtvedt@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww! Now I'm blushing. LOL! I need to visit Just Romantic Suspense more often. Thanks, Heather!

      I had already planned out to number 6. We'll have to see if Avon plans to buy more after number 3. Here's keeping our fingers crossed. (I typed that pretty good considering my fingers are crossed.)

      Delete
  15. I'm looking forward to your inclusion of family. It's realistic. But my current WIP is the first time I've tried to write family dynamics because it's HARD to have all those secondary characters butting in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It can cramp the hero/heroine's style, can't it? LOL! Thank you for stopping by, Chris.

      Delete
  16. I appreciate the struggles that characters go through without family support, but I also love it when families are present. They add another layer to the characters sometimes.



    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Mary!! So true, so true. :-) Thank you for visiting.

      Delete
  17. I know people all have different relationships with their parents, but I was so close to mine, especially my mother, that I find it hard to relate to a heroine who doesn't confide in her mother. So I tend to like DPS stories. Oddly enough, though, in all the stories I write, my heroines have major issues with their mothers! Go figure. I guess a shrink would have a fun time with that, wouldn't he. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What we have to remind readers is that we write what fascinates us. Often it has nothing to do with us directly. I love my stinker of a hubby, but if he was like some of the guys I write, I would probably freak. LOL!

      Delete
  18. This is the first time I've seen the cover for Circle of Desire and it's lovely! The blue works really well. Carla, usually the stories I gravitate towards are those with second chances or reunions. It doesn't matter the genre but these elements give me a chance to see how characters can change and learn from their mistakes. Though, any story that seems interesting and different I would like to read.

    Happy Birthday to your sister!
    Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to see you again, Na! Yeah, CIRCLE OF DANGER's cover is so sexy. Though you probably can't see it, Marie's fingernails are clutching Ryker's shoulder tight. Love it. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  19. I love romantic suspense novels. Can I enter your free giveaway please?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, TxLadyML. The winners have been announced above. I bet JRS have more giveaways this week. Good luck!

      Delete