Sunday, September 9, 2012

A BIG FAT DOSE OF ROMANCE … OR NOT


Congratulations to "Marlene R." the winner of  Tina's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I write romantic suspense, and I’m proud of it. I think the relationship is crucial to the storyline, to the characters’ growth, and especially for that HEA. I love the challenge of weaving in the development of the relationship with the suspense plot. I had published 16 romance and romantic suspense novels when I had an idea that pushed the boundaries of what I’d been writing. The heroine, for instance, lies on the witness stand to convict the sadistic stalker responsible for her sister’s death. I like moral ambiguity, because it’s something we all wrestle with in our lives. We’ve all told white lies. Perhaps not to the extent of perjury, but still …

And of course, I had a romantic element. Hero with mysterious intent. A shady background. The only problem was, I couldn’t bring him in until the second half of the book. I tried to figure out a way to introduce him earlier, but because of the nature of how he comes into Maggie’s life, it just wasn’t feasible. (I’ve learned that you cannot shoehorn an idea or character into a story. Readers are way too smart for that!) So it was either chuck the story or go with it anyway, knowing it wouldn’t be strictly a romantic suspense. I decided to go for it because the story didn’t want to let me go.

While the cover and description don’t speak to the romantic elements (because I don’t want to seem deceptive), I know romance readers will still enjoy the relationship, with its ups and downs. But I’d love to know what you think about how little is not enough? Or can you have too much? What about novels where the hero and heroine get together too early, resolving their conflicts and then solve the suspense plot as a cohesive team? Have you read a book marketed as a romantic suspense and then been disappointed in the romance element? (Please don’t mention titles, though) Share what your favorite romance/plot ratio is: 50/50, 70/30?

Comment to win a copy of my new sort-of romantic suspense release, UNTIL THE DAY YOU DIE! (ebook only)

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 8th. 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 maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 


17 comments:

  1. To me the story is all important. I love romantic suspense above all genres. But if the story is good, keeps.me engaged, I don't need the romance to be the center of the book. I do want some romance and the HEA, but most of all, keep me turning the pages. Love to win a copy of.your book. Trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

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  2. That's good to know, Trish! Thanks for your input!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. It's definitely ideal to have a perfect balance of romance and suspense, but sometimes the story moves at such a fast pace that the romance might seem rushed. I have been disappointed when there's little or no romance at all.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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  5. Congrats on the book! I don't have a preference as long as the story's good.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  6. I think a good balance of romance and suspense is important. If you go too far one way or another, I think the lesser genre obviously suffers.

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  7. RS is definitely my favourite genre, but I read (and enjoy) plenty of thrillers, which often have a very minimal romantic element (if at all, and depending on the author, sometimes feels thrown in there in a moment of "oh, yes, I have female readers who tend to like a bit of romance [...] there we go!"). I echo the general feeling that if the plot/suspense aspect of it is gripping and captures my attention from the get-go, I'm quite content to not have the romance be at the centre (and the driving force) of the book-- as long as it's in there, and there's a HEA!

    In terms of romance-to-plot ratios for me: for a 'straight-up' RS, ideally it'd be as close to 50/50 as possible; for something pitched as a 'romantic thriller', I'm happy with 30/70 or 40/60 (depending on the strength of the suspense plot).

    Congrats on the new release-- looks like a legend read!

    stalkers00(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  8. I am a romance junkie (though only in my head, not in real life... go figure). When I read a story, I am most interested in the relationship and how it develops and how the couple over comes the external conflicts. So I like a 70/30 ratio. If a story doesn't develop the relationship well then I don't really care much about the other plots. I think it's because relationships of all kinds are an integral part of our lives. They shape how we perceive the world, how we perceive ourselves.

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    1. Sorry, forgot to add my email: mrelja@gmail.com

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  9. Congratulations on your book Jaime,
    I would very much like to read it. I prefer more suspense than romance & your cover gives me the idea that that is what I will get.
    Please enter me in your draw.
    Jan

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    1. Oops, I forgot my e-mail Jamie,

      janet_kerr(at)msn.com

      In any case, I got you on my reading list.
      Great cover!

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  10. Congratulations on your first book release.

    When it comes to romantic suspense, my ratio would be suspense on the high end and romance in the low end. At least a ratio of 60/40.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Wow, what a spooky cover. I think it's all about the story. If it makes sense for the hero/heroine to be together througout the book then go for it, but I think you have to ask whose story is it? and the type of story you're writing. I'm big on suspense, so maybe I'm biased, I love a HEA and I love sexual tension, but I don't mark a good story down for now going into a lot of sexual detail.

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  12. Thanks for a great post and congrats on the new release!

    I'm story driven. I believe if the story is good and solid, then the characters will all fall into place. I love romance, but if it's not good for the story, and if it's forced into it, it feels false/forced. I love a good book and I don't pick it up specifically for the romance. I read it b/c it sounds interesting or the blurb caught my attention. I've read some romantic suspense/romance that was character driven and the tropes/shoehorning was painfully obvious. I want a story to lose myself into and I don't want anything to jar me out of it. I also get annoyed at what I see as deceptive/false marketing. Some RS is played up as mainly romance etc. by the title, cover and marketing and so I kinda go in w/ a preconceived notion of what I'm going to be reading. Nothing irritates me more than to read a book that's completely opposite of how it's marketed. I feel like I was tricked into reading it. There have only been a very, very few that I still liked despite that.

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  13. It doesn't truly matter if there is less romance when there is a strong plot and the characters are written that so engrossing that you are lost in the story.

    Janet B

    jkbsfsd at msn dot com

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  14. Cris, you capture my sentiment exactly. I like my HEA and the romantic element, but it doesn't have to be the driving force.

    And well said, Marlene, that the relationship has to develop through the story.

    Thanks, Janet, and yes, I purposely wanted to convey that this book is more suspense (70/30 I think) than romance.

    Thanks, Kai! Love that name. I'm using it (spelled Kye) in a future book :)

    Good to know, Donnell!

    I hear you, Erin. And sometimes an author has little to do with the cover. It's nice to have control when you're indie-pubbing it.

    Thanks for all your great responses! It's good to know that authors have some leeway, as I'm deciding what ratio to go forward with in future books. I'll always have a romance element but having room to let the story play out as it will makes the book real.

    Happy reading!

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