Our Contemporary Romance Inspiration
Today we have Caridad Pineiro, Lynnette Austin, Nicole Helm and Roni Loren releasing books via Sourcebooks. The authors are sharing what inspired them to write contemporary romance.
With so many genres to choose from, why do I write contemporary romance? Why not medieval romance or mystery? The short answer is that, I think, we write what we love to read. I’m a fairly eclectic reader, but when I walk into a bookstore, I head straight for contemporary romance first, then wander through other genres and subgenres. I hate, by the way, that so many brick-and-mortar bookstores are closing, don’t you? Where else can we step through a door and be surrounded by the smell of books and the promises they hold?
To really answer today’s question, I need to break it into two parts. The first is why do I love writing romance, and the second is why contemporary?
So why do I write romance stories? The answer is simple. I believe in happily-ever-afters. For everyone. I write relationship books—both emotional and physical relationships. My hero and heroine, even if they’re not looking for it, need to find that one person who completes them yet still allows them to be their own person. Both need to be one-half of a couple while remaining wholly themselves.
The very best romances are the stories of two strong individuals coming together as an even stronger unit to confront the problems life throws at them.
Why contemporary romance rather than, say, medieval or Victorian? As I said, I’m an eclectic reader, but when it comes to writing, I like to deal with today’s woman, with the advances we’ve made and the ones we’re still struggling with. Never before have women had more opportunities.
Throughout history, though, women have been fearless. Clara Barton and Florence Nightingale put their lives on the line to save countless soldiers. Amelia Earhart. Rosa Parks. Sacagawea. Marie Curie. Joan of Arc. Harriet Tubman. Margaret Thatcher. Anne Frank.
These are the kind of women I like to write about. The heroines in my books need to be strong, capable, and independent. While my hero and heroine are falling in love, I like to test them. They need to be worthy of each other.
I think in any romance, the characters are key. If a reader can connect, can relate to a character and put him/herself into the character’s world, all is good. The characters, even the secondary ones, need to come alive for the reader, and, like us, they should have flaws. Show me a perfect person and I’ll call fraud…or boring. It’s the flaws that keep characters interesting. And speaking of interesting, I love, love, love eccentric characters...and rescue animals.
My husband insists that my idea of roughing it is no room service. While I’m not quite that bad, I do admit to enjoying electricity, flush toilets, showers, and air conditioning. There’s also something to be said for modern health and dental care. Other eras sound romantic, but in practicality? Not so much.
I’m sometimes asked if it’s easier to write contemporary romance rather than historical because there’s not as much research needed. I wish! I spend a lot of time with every single book doing research. I visited a jail in Nashville and sat on a hard metal stool outside the visitation room to get the feel of my heroine visiting the hero after he’d been arrested. I realized how cold and impersonal it was even with the thundering emotion. No touching, no shared kisses.
For Must Love Babies, I’ve researched and visited bridal shops, watched hours and hours of Chasing Classic Cars and Fast and Loud and Barrett-Jackson Auctions to get a better idea of the job the Wylder brothers do. This research, though, is actually one of the things I love about writing contemporary romance. I have great access to what I’m writing about, and, more often than not, I learn something that changes the direction of the book or find an unusual tidbit to include. It’s fun!
My books are mainly set in small town Georgia or Texas. In Must Love Babies, Molly has come to Misty Bottoms, Georgia, to start a bridal boutique. Is there anything more fun than that? She’s not afraid to go out on a limb and take a chance. When Brant Wylder comes to town, though, to establish a new shop for the vintage car and motorcycle business he and his brothers own, will she take a chance on him…and the beautiful seven-month old baby boy he has temporary custody of? It’s far easier to risk money than the heart.
The answer, really, to the question of why I write contemporary romance is that it’s what I love. It’s what I enjoy. I hope that comes through my keyboard and onto the page so that my readers enjoy my stories, too.
What’s a favorite story line for you in contemporary romance? Friends-to-lovers, second chance romances, secret baby, marriage of convenience, rivals or enemies to lovers, big brother’s best friend, bad boy-good girl? Or do you like something I haven’t mentioned?
Wishing you hours and hours of happy reading,
Must Love Babies - Must Love Babies, #1 by Lynnette Austin
This baby's not the only one in need of a cuddle...
Brant Wylder is a bachelor and loving it! He's in Misty Bottoms, Georgia, property-hunting for his vintage car repair shop when he gets the call. His sister's been in an accident, and Brant has to drop everything and take care of his five-month-old nephew. That's the end of the bachelor lifestyle.
Bridal boutique owner Molly Stiles is all business all the time, until she sees that Brant's in trouble. In this Southern town, nobody ever has to go it alone. And besides, how can she resist that beautiful baby in the arms of a beautiful man...?
I can’t remember a time I didn’t love stories. Riveted and devastated when my mom read us CHARLOTTE’S WEB, staying up far too late to finish LITTLE WOMEN or PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. I’ve been putting stories to words—from scribbling little stories onto loose-leaf paper I’d have to staple together to make a book to my current laptop—for as long as I can remember.
Most of those books that shaped me as a young reader were the historical sort. The LITTLE HOUSE series, American Girl books, and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES. About the only ‘contemporary’ books I read before college were the Sweet Valley High books or school-assigned ones. When I picked up a book for fun, it was often set long before I was born.
GONE WITH THE WIND was the book that made me really want to be a writer. I can remember sitting in my high school bedroom with that book in my hands thinking this is what I want to do. Keep people interested in dynamic, complicated, imperfect characters for thousands of pages.
But making a living writing always felt like a bit of a pipe dream, so it remained my hobby. But that hobby had a very historical bent. I can still remember the first novel-length book I tried (and failed) to write over and over again. A 1890s set family drama about teachers and doctors in the west. I rewrote the beginning so many times, got lost in research holes, and inevitably never, ever finished.
But my sophomore year of college everything changed. My friend handed me the book RIVER’S END by Nora Roberts.
I couldn’t put it down, not just because it was suspenseful but because I got lost in the people. I ignored everyone around me that weekend, even reading through meals, not just riveted and absorbed, but home.
You know those books that are something closer to transcendent experience than anything else? That was what reading this book was like: coming home, finding my place in the world, as dramatic as that sounds. I knew I didn’t just want to read a million more books like this, but this was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to write and hadn’t been able to figure out how.
I devoured the MacGregors and Stanislaskis. I got lost in MONTANA SKY and BIRTHRIGHT. For years there, all I read was Nora before I fully understood romance was this huge, sprawling wonderful genre.
And in the midst of all that Nora-binging, I wrote. Stories about families and men and women finding love despite their own insecurities or external challenges. I finally, after I can’t tell you how many failed attempts, wrote a novel from beginning to end. I threw everything I love into it: Iowa, baseball references, sage grandparents. It was awful, truly awful (and will never see the light of day), but in contemporary romance I found my finishing power. And in that finishing power, I learned to write more complete stories.
I wrote and wrote and wrote, finished novel after finished novel. I found my voice in contemporary. I found more authors to love beyond Nora. I’ve been able to write about farmers and cowboys and Texas Rangers. My heroines have been bounty hunters and run bars and antique airports. My heroes have raised llamas or have hermited themselves away from the world. I’ve fictionally visited Montana and Colorado and Texas, and expressed my love of Iowa and Missouri through my characters.
Honestly, I have so many story ideas I could write anything, and maybe someday I will. But I continue to write contemporary because it gives me the feeling I got when I first read RIVER’S END: I’m home.
Cowboy SEAL Redemption - Navy SEAL Cowboys, #2 by Nicole Helm
Three former Navy SEALs
Injured in the line of duty
Desperate for a new beginning...
Searching for a place to call their own.
Jack Armstrong's been slowly piecing his life back together after a career-ending injury bounced him from the SEALs. The only trouble is, his family's on their way to his new haven in Montana...and Jack refuses to let them know he's still hurting. Desperate, he makes a deal with local bad girl Rose Rogers: in exchange for some extra security, she'll play the perfect loving girlfriend.
Rose doesn't trust any man, much less some tough-as-nails former SEAL. But the more they settle into their ruse, the more things start to feel real, and the more Rose's true fear surfaces—that she'll never be good enough for love. But Jack isn't about to lose Rose. He's done running when things get tough, and he's determined to prove—once and for all—that even the most troubled hearts can find their way to redemption.
Even though some readers think of me as a paranormal and romantic suspense author, my first six books were actually contemporary romances. I love that contemporary romances let me spend more time exploring the development of the relationship between the hero and heroine. I sometimes found that with the paranormals and suspense novels I got pulled away from that to deal with the action and danger. Now I can focus my time on the issues that the hero and heroine have and how they overcome them to get their happily-ever-after
What Happens in Summer - At the Shore, #2 by Caridad Pineiro
As the only daughter of a single mom, Connie Reyes swore she would never put herself or her child in a similar position. But when she runs into oh so tempting Jonathan Pierce at a wedding, she knows she must stay away. She'll fall for him--hard. And he's not the type to stick around.
Ever since he left town after their teenaged summer fling, Jonathan hasn't been able to forget about Connie. He can't wait for the wedding--to show her the man he's become. And when the night finally comes, their mutual desire will lead to unexpected consequences neither of them were prepared for...
The One You Can't Forget - The Ones Who Got Away, #2 by Roni Loren
Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter...
The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn't deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she's thrown herself into her work. She can't dwell if she never slows down.
Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca—the attorney who helped his ex ruin him—his simple life gets complicated.
Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca's secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other
She laughed and kissed him. This morning she'd melted down. But somehow this man had her laughing and turned on only a few hours later. Everything inside her felt buoyed.
She'd forgotten what that felt like.
Open To: USA ONLY. 18 and Older. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary.
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