Award-winning author Bonnie B. Latino (whose romance novel YOUR GIFT TO ME written with Bob Vale is wonderful) got me thinking — when she mentioned that hers is not a “bodice ripper” — about what makes a romance novel.
This is when I realized that romance in fiction is all over the map, from the really steamy to what may be called chaste. And there are different targeted readers for all the variations.
Yet probably the bottom line for all romance in fiction (no matter where on the map) is whether the readers care whether the two people get together. If readers could care less, then the romance element of a story is not working.
Thus the question becomes: What elements in romance help readers care?
A typical romantic comedy in the film arena has a woman and man “meeting cute,” often in conflict, eventually appearing to get together, then something happens and all seems lost, and finally they get together for real.
In my romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY, Beth Parsons first encounters David Ward in a non-traditional “meeting.” There is conflict throughout much of the story, although Beth gradually learns to trust David, the man who may have been responsible for the death of Beth’s husband years earlier.
Then CIA FALL GUY has an element often used in romance — the fear of one or both people to commit to the relationship. Finally comes the realization that the commitment is worth the risk of being hurt (or whatever the fear is).
(Bonnie says YOUR GIFT TO ME is better described as a military love story. This term could also be applied to my 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT, which will be free on Kindle on March 7th.)
While Valentine’s Day may be a Hallmark holiday, reading romantic stories can be very enjoyable (for both men and women). Click here to check out YOUR GIFT TO ME.
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and the romantic suspense spy story CIA FALL GUY.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com