1) Every good romance needs complex characters. In ONCE A MARINE, Summer Lane has worked hard to overcome a traumatic incident from her past and is determined to be tough so she can remain independent. Summer’s actions all stem from this emotional trauma, which provide additional layers to her character. And since it’s in Zach Marshall’s nature to save people, as a former marine, voila – these character complexities provide a foundation for the next key element of a romance novel:
2) Conflict. At the heart of all romance novels is the conflict – some force (be it external or internal) that’s keeping our hero and heroine apart. In HARPER’S WISH, the initial conflict arises when Harper Worth is forced to apply for a job from Connor Callahan, the restaurateur whose career she nearly destroyed with her vitriolic review of his first restaurant. Because Connor doesn’t trust Harper given how she burned him in the past, this creates an internal conflict that keeps Connor wary about his new employee.
3) There should always be a black moment. This is the point of no return, where things are darkest for our hero and heroine. In THE FIREFIGHTER’S REFRAIN, this moment comes when Finn Leary has hit emotional rock bottom and breaks down in the hospital chapel. Her sister is in ICU, storm damage has closed her diner, and her recovering alcoholic father is dangerously close to backsliding. The hero, Sam, has been offered a chance to make his recording dream contracts come true, and Finn fears Sam will choose his music over her, just as her parents always have. It’s in this moment that things are at the darkest for our hero and heroine, but it all paves the way for….
4) The happy ending. After the conflict is resolved, and our characters have conquered the black moment, they deserve their happily ever after. In GENTLE PERSUASION, this occurs after Ophelia returns to the Okina Inn in Hawaii to prove to Dane she’s ready to give up Paris, and her dreams of being a senior executive recruiter. She finds him amidst the orchard on the coffee plantation and tells him about the deal she negotiated to serve his Kona coffee exclusively at Towers Resorts, which will help bolster his business…and solidify them as partners, both in business and in life.
While there are many more elements that go into a great romance, these are the foundation for the best stories.
So what are some of your favorite romances? You can tell us in the comments and enter to win a romantic prize package that includes:
A Pretty in Pink Gift Basket and one signed copy of EACH of the novels mentioned in this post!
Four runners up will receive a digital copy (for either Kindle, Nook, Apple iBooks, or eBook) of ONE of the titles mentioned in this post!
You can enter a variety of ways through the form below, including by commenting and telling us your favorite romance novel or movie. Winners will be drawn on August 31 and announced in our next edition of We Talk to Ourselves…a Lot! on Friday, September 9.
Until then, be sure to celebrate National Romance Awareness all month long!
Find Your Romance Giveaway from Loree Lough & Cerella Sechrist
CERELLA SECHRIST lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. Inspired by her childhood love of stories, she was ten years old when she decided she wanted to become an author. These days, Cerella divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. She’s been known to post too many pug photos on both Instagram and Pinterest. You can see for yourself by finding her online at www.cerellasechrist.com. Harper’s Wish, Book #1 in her Findlay Roads series, is her third Harlequin Heartwarming novel.