A writer must be many things in the writing of a book – storyteller, psychoanalyst, matchmaker, scholar, treasure hunter, tour guide – you get the picture. It is only recently that I have come to think that sometimes in this business a writer has to be a really savvy bartender.
Drinks tend to come in trends. For a while “sex on the beach” was THE “in” drink. Then daiquiris of every flavor became all the rage. Next came margaritas in every size, color and flavor under the sun. A good bartender anticipates these trends and introduces their patrons to the drinks they think will suit them. A really great bartender comes up with a new and different drink before the patrons even know that is exactly what they wanted.
The publishing world is much the same. Trends and genres wax and wane. I still say if someone can come up with an Amish vampire YA model who runs a detective agency they have got it made! So as a writer each of us has a choice. We can read up on the latest trends and try to jump on the band wagon or we can march to the beat of our own drummer and have to walk the whole route to publication. Wear comfortable shoes. And be prepared to step in some potholes, get rained on and to have to find a spot to rest every now and again.
But here is a way we might be able to help each other along that long and dusty dirt road. We’ve probably all read books that we literally or figuratively wanted to throw against the wall – hence the title WALL- BANGER. My question for you is – WHAT MAKES A BOOK A WALL-BANGER FOR YOU?
Some writers believe that women read a romance because we want to be the heroine. We want her to be just like us, but with better hair, nice clothes and a hotter guy chasing after us. Some believe we read them because we want to live a life completely different from our own. We don’t want to read about ourselves. We want to read about the wild and crazy woman we would be if things like jobs, husbands, and kids didn’t get in the way. Do we want to read about the nice, sweet girl next door or do we want to read about her best friend who is always in trouble and having a ball?
For me, a romance that ends with either the hero or heroine dying is definitely a wall-banger. I don’t mind an unlikable hero or heroine IF they have some redeeming quality and grow into a likable person by the end of the book. A much touted historical romance not long ago presented me with a hero and heroine I couldn’t stand. I kept reading and hoping and while neither of them became people I would want to invite to a dinner party, by the end of the book I was screaming at the hero that he could do better! Not good!
So dish, ladies! What is a deal breaker in a romance novel in your eyes? What makes you want to walk all the way back to Walmart and demand your money back? What makes you want to call the author in the night and say “What were you thinking?” What is your standard for a great romance? And what is the thing that will have you dropping that sucker in a Salvation Army box faster than Aunt Ethel’s annual fruitcake?
And just out of idle curiosity, does anyone have strong objections to a Regency heroine who has large snakes as pets? Just asking.