Readers and What they want!
I know that before I became a moderately successful writer, I read a lot. As much as I could get my hands on. But I have to admit, after a few years of reading some lines, I was a little tired of it. Not that I was tired of romance. I was tired of so much of the same old, same old.
There was a time when publishers demanded so many love scenes. It had to end happily. The hero had to be beyond reproach.
But honestly I think readers have evolved into wanting a more believable story than this allows. Back in the eighties I pretty well knew that the man was going to be macho, the woman a little more submissive than they are now. It was the way things were. However, somewhere along the line books began to change and have a life of their own. Women were sometimes more forceful, not meek and mild. Men had weaknesses. In other words, our characters became more human.
Once the reader got used to the idea that a hero could drink and not be an alcoholic, it became acceptable. In Twelfth of Never, the story opens with Mike Tobin sitting in a bar, alone, drinking like he'd never drank before, because he finally realized the woman of his dreams had other plans other than him. He wasn't an alcoholic, he was human. He was hurting. And when we hurt we turn to things sometimes that are not good for us. Mike was one of the sweetest men on earth, but he'd lost his girl to his own brother. And for the first time Sandy McKay began to see him as human, and not Mr. Playboy.
This is just one example of not following the rules so to speak, but today's romances go further in more ways than one. The reader can understand them, feel for them, get involved with them. That's what we writers want to do, get the reader involved in the story.
In Stand By Me, the last book of the McKay series, Sam Jamison is on probation. He's not a bad guy. He never was, but circumstances put him there. He's an underdog. And we always root for the underdog.
Romance has evolved from plastic cardboard characters that had to be a certain way, or have a certain occupation, to characters that do things out of place and time. Romance has come full circle and I truly believe that readers want this. Or they wouldn't be so popular.
The flawed character is a must these days.
Someone once told me that a villain should be three dimensional. He should have a past, a reason for what he does, even if the reason doesn't make sense.
Now as writers we strive to create characters that our readers are interested in. Characters that won't be forgotten, or just another romance story.
We've come a long way Baby!
Don't you think. Give me your opinions.
I'll give one free copy of Ring of Fire to someone who lets us know what it is you really like in a hero or heroine. What are you really looking for in a romance today? Leave your comments and someone will win a free print copy.