Before I was a writer, I was a reader. I devoured romance novels, and I still do. Some of my favourites have really heavy, prolonged “black moments”, when it seems like the couple are never going to be able to find a way to be together. You can see it coming, and your body can’t help but react. Jaw clenched, eyes wide, stomach practically in your throat, you steam through the pages until the conflict is resolved, and the hero and heroine come together, hopefully for good this time. And when they do, it’s all the more sweeter for the journey. Right?
But when I started writing my book, What Once Was Perfect, it wasn’t going to be a novel. It was going to be a Christmas novella, and the rules are different for a novella. It’s more about capturing a moment in time, a part of the journey (preferably the good part at the end!). So I focused on the coming back together of Laney and Kyle. Their story, of a second chance at love over a holiday, really lent itself to a shorter length book. And their personalities trended toward lovers, not fighters. Even when they did fight, it seemed like an excuse for make-up sex.
So I wanted angst, but my characters didn’t. Tough noogie for them, then, that sometimes life doesn’t give you what you want. Laney and Kyle were the perfect characters to face external conflict, and in their case, that’s the really big deal of major geographical distance. And when they had to face that reality, the book spun past novella length and back into novel territory. It’s still short, just a quick introduction to the town of Wardham. It gives hints of other characters to come, but I kept it focused on Laney and Kyle, and that moment of reconnection, and the fallout afterward.
I’m always interested to hear what readers like. What’s your favourite angsty romance novel? And on the sweeter side, any favourite “easy” love stories (but still steamy – that’s the best part about romance, after all!).