Posted On September 19, 2012 by Print This Post

Anna Campbell on the Lure of the Familiar

I’m extremely happy to welcome back historical author, Anna Campbell, to the RU classroom. I ‘met’ Anna months before her first book debuted in 2007, and next week, the reigning Queen of Regency Noir, launches her seventh book, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. 

Today, Anna will discuss the structure of romance and why an HEA ending doesn’t necessarily mean formulaic.

Hello, Anna!

Hey, thanks for having me as your guest today, Romance U gals! I love this site!

A fortnight ago, I hosted an author chat with a bunch of readers at the Brisbane Writers Festival (http://www.bwf.org.au/) in Queensland, Australia, where I live. Included in the audience were some very brave males – I always admire men who can front such an obviously female enclave as a romantic fiction discussion. One particularly impressive young man visiting from Texas is writing a young adult novel. He came to my talk because he wanted help with creating a more rounded heroine (and no, I don’t mean feed her chocolate although thanks to sponsors, Baci Chocolates, that was a possibility!).

He asked a question that prompted howls of horror from all the (romance-reading) women in the audience. And that was – after the happy ending, do romance authors ever put in an epilogue indicating that things didn’t work out after all?

Well, you can imagine!

One of the things non-romance readers deride in our genre is that many elements of the stories are ‘predictable’.

The word ‘predictable’ automatically has prejudicial overtones – which is obviously why these people use it.

I prefer terms like ‘themes’, ‘tropes’, ‘beats’, ‘turning points’. And as a long time romance reader, I love seeing how each author uses those familiar elements. Mr. Texas’s question got me thinking about some of the things that I love to see over and over in a romance novel.

For me, every romance I read contains a number of essentials – much like there’s always a dead body in a murder mystery.

There’s a first meet (even if it’s not the characters’ first meet, it’s the first time the reader sees them interacting and goes ‘Aha! They’re going to fall in love!’). That’s almost always early in the book. I made a comment at the BWF talk that romance readers are like baby geese – they imprint on the first eligible male who turns up on the page and decide he’s the hero.

Then we discover what’s keeping our hero and heroine apart, usually factors both internal and external. We don’t like to make it easy for our characters to get together at the end. They need to earn their happy ending.

There’s almost always a first kiss. This is one of my favorite parts of a romance novel because it’s the moment when it’s pretty clear these two just won’t be able to stay away from one another. Sigh.

We frequently get a first love scene when our characters are naked emotionally as well as physically for the first time. The characters take huge risks when they get it on. I especially love it when the first love scene doesn’t resolve any of the conflict between the hero and heroine, but just makes things a gazillion times worse. And if there are more love scenes (and often there are), that gazillion times worse thing just keeps repeating. Delicious!

Then there’s that moment toward the end of a book when it looks like the forces of darkness are going to win.  Oh, no!!! In spite of the fact that we KNOW that this is a romance and these two are going to conquer the barriers separating them, we always get desperately worried at this point.

Finally we get the happy ending. Our hero and heroine have discovered a love that will last a lifetime, and while nobody’s life is completely clear sailing, their relationship is strong enough to weather whatever the world throws at it. Reader exits book on blissful sigh. If we’re lucky, we get a luscious epilogue that proves the happy ever after goes on, well, ever after!

What’s wonderful about the romance genre is that millions of books have been written using this structure and millions more will be written, and every book is different. My seventh historical romance, SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED (clearly seven is a powerful number!), is out on 25th September and I can promise you that it contains every single one of these tropes and in this particular order. So have my previous six books – while all having very different stories. This structure provides a strong skeleton for a dazzling variety of chocolatey good romance novels!

Long may it live.

I’ve got a signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED up for grabs today to one commenter! Good luck!

***

Have I missed any of the turning points? Why do you think readers in their millions find this particular structure so satisfying? Have you read any romance novels that didn’t follow this structure, yet still gave you a satisfying experience?

***

Here’s a sneak peak of  SEVEN NIGHT’S IN A ROGUE’S BED. 

Will a week of seduction… 

Desperate to save her sister’s life, Sidonie Forsythe has agreed to submit herself to a terrible fate: Beyond the foreboding walls of Castle Craven, a notorious, hideously scarred scoundrel will take her virtue over the course of seven sinful nights. Yet instead of a monster, she encounters a man like no other. And during this week, she comes to care for Jonas Merrick in ways that defy all logic-even as a dark secret she carries threatens them both. 

 …Spark a lifetime of passionate surrender? 

Ruthless loner Jonas knows exactly who he is. Should he forget, even for a moment, the curse he bears, a mere glance in the mirror serves as an agonizing reminder. So when the lovely Sidonie turns up on his doorstep, her seduction is an even more delicious prospect than he originally planned. But the hardened outcast is soon moved by her innocent beauty, sharp wit, and surprising courage. Now as dangerous enemies gather at the gate to destroy them, can their new, fragile love survive?

***

Join us on Friday, September 21st, when we welcome back Theresa Stevens and her column, Ask an Editor.

***

Bio:  ANNA CAMPBELL has written six multi award-winning historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in eleven languages. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (four times). Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. In 2012, Anna begins an exciting new publishing venture with Grand Central Publishing. She launches her first series, “Sons of Sin”, with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED on 25th September, 2012.

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60 Responses to “Anna Campbell on the Lure of the Familiar”

  1. Love the way you explain things Anna. That was a great discussion at BWF. I think we like the roller coaster of emotion with the security of knowing there is a happy ending. Real life doesn’t come with guarantees but HEA in a romance gives us hope.

    Posted by Fiona Marsden | September 19, 2012, 3:24 am
    • Hey, thanks, Fiona. I’m so glad you enjoyed it – the Baci chocolates definitely helped! ;-) I think that’s one of the reasons I love romance – it tells you you can go through the wringer but you’ll come out OK on the other side. It’s a good message to spread.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 1:48 pm
  2. Hi, Jennifer and Anna!

    Congrats on the release of book #7, Anna! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I love your strong heroines. :)

    Poor Mr Texas. I hope he wasn’t too discouraged. You never know — he might turn out to be one of those people who breaks the rules and makes the book work! Having said that, I prefer to leave my heroes and heroines at the end of the book knowing they’ll be so happy together forever.

    I think you nailed all the key points in the structure of romance novels. I’m a big fan of the black moment, when everything seems lost but you just so want the light to come back for your characters!

    Fabulous post!

    Posted by Vanessa Barneveld | September 19, 2012, 3:39 am
    • Hey, thanks, Vanessa. Actually Mr. Texas was writing a YA where a happy ending isn’t guaranteed – I really admired him fronting a room full of women. Must take some guts! I love the happy ending – I can’t quite work out why it’s so derided. I mean, haven’t these people read the classics? So many of them end with reconciliation and hope!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 1:50 pm
  3. Good luck with your new series, Anna! I know it will be a big hit for you! Can’t wait to see it on the shelf so I can get my own copy of SEVEN NIGHT’S IN A ROGUE’S BED!

    I was so interested to hear about your BWF class and that question about an epilogue that whipped the carpet out from under the happily-ever-after! I think I’d feel so cheated if that happened. I read romance because I want the hopefulness and positivity that comes from it. I’m not naive – I know that relationships don’t always work out in real life. But this is a fantasy and I want that feel-good pay-off at the end after I’ve been through the ups and downs with the hero and heroine!

    Posted by Sharon Archer | September 19, 2012, 3:40 am
    • Sharon, I feel in a good romance that the couple have put in the ground work and know each other well enough that they will have a happy ending. Poor boy! You should have heard the horror in the response. It was like he was threatening to kill kittehs! ;-)

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 1:52 pm
  4. Anna, what a lovely post. I agree totally about the joy of familiar things in romance novels. I love that rush of emotion when the heroine is doing it tough and gathers our sympathy. I love the sparks that can fly when characters confront each other. I particularly enjoy setting up the conflict between the characters and wondering how on earth they’re going to get past the problems they’re facing. Needless to say the pay off at the end is marvellous when it’s sigh worthy.

    Congratulations on the release of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. I’ve read this and I think number seven definitely is a magic number. This one is a corker of a story, every bit as delicious as the cover.

    Posted by Annie West | September 19, 2012, 4:10 am
    • Annie, thank you so much for saying such nice things about SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. That’s really a couple who go through the wringer before they get their happy ending! I think it’s human to want the pay-off of the happy ending after all the drama and conflict of the story. I often say to people that it’s a fairytale structure and that something deep within us responds to that particular arc.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 1:53 pm
  5. Hi Anna,

    Thanks so much for joining us! Since your debut book released the same year I attended my first RWA, I’ve always felt a strong sense of kinship with you. Your blogs, your books, and your incredible sense of humor has enriched my personal journey–so a big thank you!

    As a pure romance reader, I had never heard of HEA and didn’t realize for a few years that it was the HEA drawing me back to romance, time and again. Confession: I will only read outside romance if I KNOW in advance a story ends well. I hate being depressed after 9 hours of reading. LOL

    Like you said, Anna. I don’t know how it will end well and I will cry, laugh and suck in startled breaths along the way. But I’m doing so with the knowledge that my emotional investment will be safe in the end.

    Hugs and happy release!
    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | September 19, 2012, 4:45 am
    • Wow, Tracey, what a LOVELY thing to say. Thank you so much!

      I’ve got to say these days I tend to go for something that has a happy ending too, even outside romance. I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries and it’s odd that they don’t get the same derision that romance does. After all, the structure is very similar. Disrupting event (meeting of hero and heroine in a romance/murder in mystery), working out the situation, justice in the end. Genre fiction makes a promise to the reader and I think that’s one of the reasons it’s so popular worldwide.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 1:57 pm
  6. Anna, I am so looking forward to your seventh book. I know it will be as unexpected and tantalizing in its familiarity as the previous six!

    As you said, these beats or turning points or what have you are the very essence of a romance novel. While some may be omitted (say, a love scene in an inspirational romance), all are elements we recognize from life as well as art. Most of us have experienced the initial attraction, uncertainty, joy, pain and trials of love. It’s what most humans long for, after all!

    When we get to experience those in a book, movie or TV show, we immediately “feel” all those things again, no matter what age we are. We are, as Robert Palmer indicated, “addicted to love”! :)

    I have read books where authors tried to mess with the structure and it usually does not work – at least not in romance. If anyone wants to read a suspense story about a couple which totally flips the story structure on its head, I recommend ‘Gone Girl’.

    As for romance, leave mine alone. And make it a double – with epilogue! :)

    Posted by Caren Crane | September 19, 2012, 5:11 am
    • Caren, a double with epilogue? Oh, you ARE an addict! ;-) Actually I started out not writing epilogues but these days it’s epilogues all the way, BAYBEEEEEEE! Just one last sigh of pleasure before the reader closes the book.

      Interesting what you say about authors messing with the structure. There’s a very well known author who shall be nameless who wrote a series where the hero and heroine didn’t kiss till right at the end. They did everything else (these were fairly hot so everything covered quite a lot!). But no kissing. Really missed that discovery moment early in the book where they kiss and realize that they’re in trouble because walking away from this person is going to be harder than hanging in there and sorting out their problems.

      Thanks for the Gone Girl rec. I’ve heard lots of good things about that.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 2:23 pm
  7. Anna –

    Thanks so much for returning to RU! Congratulations on your upcoming seventh release – is it just as exciting as the first time? ;-)

    Could you share with us what techniques you use to make these necessary turning points new and fresh in your romances?

    Happy Wednesday!
    Kelsey

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | September 19, 2012, 5:54 am
    • Thank you for having me here, Kelsey. I love the in depth discussions you guys encourage. Hey, 7’s a magic number, of course I’m excited. Especially since I haven’t had a new full length novel out since May 2011. That’s a long time between drinks.

      What a great question about freshness. I think it comes down to knowing your characters and making each moment individual to them. Knowing what their deepest fears and desires are and playing on those. In Rogue, for example, my heroine has learnt through example that marriage is a trap for women so putting herself in a man’s power even through so much as a kiss is a major issue for her. That adds danger to the kiss in Seven Nights. I think also you need to keep coming back to that essential conflict between the characters, the thing that’s driving them apart even as attraction is pushing them together. It makes for great intensity and each couple’s conflict is different and plays out in different ways.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 2:27 pm
  8. Hi Jennifer and Anna

    Anna, I like how you describe the framework of a romance novel and how so many varied romance stories can be built upon it.

    A HEA is sacrosanct to a romance novel. I have been watching a beautiful television production of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. No matter how I’m enjoying the acting and the scenery, I know that it is heading toward a terrible, tragic end and I know I am not going to like those last scenes at all.

    Never so with a romance. The guaranteed happy-ever-after ending of a romance is part of the enjoyment. Never deprivev a romance reader of her happy ending!

    I’ve read and enjoyed all of your six novels and am looking forward to SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. I love the title, BTW.

    Posted by Kandy Shepherd | September 19, 2012, 6:27 am
    • Kandy, I was so happy they kept my title. That was the working title right from the start – struck me as sexy. They’ve also kept my title for the next one, A Rake’s Midnight Kiss. Two for two with titles is pretty good!

      Bleuch to Thomas Hardy! Not my favorite writer!

      Thanks for swinging around!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:05 pm
  9. Hi Anna! I’m inclined to say “ditto” to what first commenter Fiona said. grins. That hope that is inherent in the HEA of a romance novel is key. It may not always work out in “real life” but romance novels are the stories of those times in which it DOES work out. Indeed many of the heroes and heroines come out of the relationships that didn’t work. We all recognize that in our own lives. This then, is the story of the the time it DID work. It’s what we all strive for. (Although your explanation was much more succinct! ha!)

    I cannot WAIT for Seven Nights! So excited to get lucky #7! :>

    Posted by Jeanne Adams AKA The Duchesse | September 19, 2012, 6:55 am
    • Thanks so much, Jeanne! And we all know that a lot of relationships in real life DO work out. I find it really annoying when people say a happy ending is unrealistic. It’s no more unrealistic than a sad ending – it comes down to the people and the circumstances. Thanks for saying you’re looking forward to ROGUE. Not long now!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:06 pm
  10. Hi Anna. Welcome back! I love what you said about the first love scene and the characters being naked physically and emotionally. The “aha” moment of the day!

    Thank you for a terrific post.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | September 19, 2012, 7:14 am
    • Thanks so much, Adrienne! One of the reasons I love that modern romance novels let us into the bedroom is that that’s such an important arena for how a relationship will work out. Feel vaguely cheated when they close the bedroom door on me these days! ;-)

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:07 pm
  11. Hi, Anna,

    I have all your books and can’t wait for the new one. One of the strongest things that brought me to romance books and kept me reading them was the optimistic ending. Yes, the characters go through all kinds of hard times, but in the end, they’re together and for all the right reasons. We all need some optimism in our lives.

    And what Adrienne said! That idea is exactly what I needed to hear/know/think about at this moment in my WIP. My heroine doesn’t realize how much of herself she gives away to the hero in the love scenes. They both have some revelations to come!

    Thanks again!

    Posted by Ann Macela | September 19, 2012, 8:11 am
    • Ooh, Ann, sounds like you’re on track for those love scenes. They absolutely HAVE to raise the stakes. I think we’ve all read gratuitous love scenes and thought, “Why was that there?” Good luck!

      And thank you so much for saying you love the books. I think the satisfaction payoff is greater, the more the characters have had to face up to challenges through the story. We want to see them transformed into better, wiser people through love and then we believe that they have got a chance of being happy for their rest of their lives together.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:10 pm
  12. Can’t wait to read your next book, Anna!

    And you had never mess with the HEA!! That is what draws in the readers.

    I like how you laid things out as far as the romance novel structure. Some authors will have a gray moment or that moment that makes you believe once they get though this issue all will be well. But it only leads to the bigger black moment. This can be a very effective tool to drag the reader through the emotional rollercoaster that the characters are on.

    Posted by Christie Kelley | September 19, 2012, 8:17 am
    • Thanks so much for saying you’re looking forward to Rogue, Christie. Not long now!

      Ooh, I love the grey moment. I might just steal that. I think my books have a series of increasingly grey moments now I think about it and then you hit them with whammy when it’s a darker shade of black. Love teasing the reader – and I think readers love it too.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:12 pm
  13. Morning Anna!!

    I’m like Tracey, I didn’t realize romance novels HAD to have an HEA! I just worried through each and every book I read, hoping for the best – and when they finally got together? Woot! Yay, ANOTHER happy ending! How fabulous! lol…..the things you learn..

    Best of luck on your new release and thanks so much for joining us again!

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | September 19, 2012, 8:26 am
    • Thanks so much for having me here today, Carrie. I’m really enjoying the discussion. I’m doing a workshop based on this post this weekend so it’s nice to have so many of my thoughts crystalised. And I’m definitely stealing Christie’s grey moment idea. That’s brilliant! It also helps to solve the sagging middle problem!

      I’ve definitely read books billed as romances with unhappy endings but most of them aren’t on my keeper shelves!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:14 pm
  14. Hi Anna,

    Reading is an escape for me. If I want reality, I watch the news. Which in turn gives me ideas for writing.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | September 19, 2012, 8:59 am
    • Mary Jo, I think that’s a really valid point. I think life gives us so many sad things to deal with (even in a relatively happy life) that it’s wonderful to have somewhere to hang out where you know all that angst and drama is going to end up in a happily ever after.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:46 pm
  15. Hi, Anna! Great article. I think it’s always good to remind ourselves that these steps in the romance genre can be boring and predictable or have a twist that’s unique to this particular hero and heroine. I love books that keep me wondering WILL THEY MAKE IT? even while I KNOW they will. It’s a wonderful journey.

    Can’t wait for the release of “Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed”! Congrats. Seven is the most perfect number.

    Posted by Jo Robertson | September 19, 2012, 9:17 am
    • Jo, the mystical significance of 7 is only hitting me now – my publisher is making a big deal of the 7. You know, 7 prizes this week and a 7 theme on the blog tour. Really was unconscious when I used it! I think if the characters are real in a romance, we still worry about them making it, even though subconsciously we know there will be a happy ending. It’s astonishing the games that the mind plays, isn’t it? It’s like double think when we read a romance. Will they make it? on one hand. And Happy ending coming on the other.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 3:53 pm
  16. Hi Anna – I’m so excited about your visit here today! I’m all about the HEA – I became wary of “women’s fiction” after reading a few romance-type novels that didn’t end happily. After that I became a diehard romance reader – I want my HEA!

    I love your post. This cracked me up: “I made a comment at the BWF talk that romance readers are like baby geese – they imprint on the first eligible male who turns up on the page and decide he’s the hero.” I know this is true of me – a friend featured a Middle Eastern store clerk early in one of her books and for the rest of the book I eagerly awaited his reappearance. He turned out to be a minor character, but because I had imprinted on him in those early pages, I wanted MORE!

    I owe you a big thank you, Anna, for persuading me to give historicals a try, back when I stuck to contemporary romance. I had no idea what I was missing! Your recommended reading list did the trick – as did your own books, of course! Many of the books you started me on now reside on my keeper shelf, along with the many historical favorites I’ve discovered in the past few years. I can’t thank you enough! I’m eagerly awaiting your new book – they can never come out soon enough for me!

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | September 19, 2012, 9:19 am
    • Wow, Becke, thanks so much for saying such nice things about the books. And I’m absolutely rapt that I turned you onto some great historical writers – there’s some really fantastic books out there in that particular subgenre. Thanks for having me here today. I love coming to RU!

      Yeah, the imprint thing kinda cracks me up to. I’ve had that reading experience where I keep waiting for the guy to come back and, you know, he just doesn’t! It means as a writer, you have to be careful how you introduce your hero and how you time that!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:14 pm
      • Yes, that kind of worries me. The author of the book I mentioned was surprised so many of us expected Middle Eastern Guy to be the romantic interest, or at least an important character. It’s so hard to predict what readers will like or dislike, much less what expectations they have!

        I am indebted to you for introducing me to so many wonderful historical romances and romance authors. My husband may not share these sentiments, since my bookshelves have filled up tremendously since then!

        Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | September 19, 2012, 9:11 pm
  17. Anna, I really enjoyed this post. SEVEN KNIGHTS IN A ROUGE’S BED… love that title! I look forward to reading it. I’m always looking for the next great historical fiction novel to add to my shelf.

    If the first meet is not between the hero and heroine the point where they do meet is also an important point in the story.

    I want my hero and heroine to meet very early in the book. I have read some where they don’t until about the quarter mark. That never works for me. Start with a bang and get the story going.

    Posted by Haley Whitehall | September 19, 2012, 9:40 am
    • Hi Haley! Oh, absolutely I think where the hero and heroine meet is a major point in the book. And like you, I want it to be early. Otherwise, as Becke said, I end up with that confusion problem as to who I’m supposed to imprint on as the hero. I realize I didn’t express that very clearly, sorry about that – I meant the first meeting of the hero and heroine but sometimes in their life journey, they’ve known each other before (as in a reunion story). But we need that zing the moment they’re on the page together so we know this is the couple whose story we’re following.

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:17 pm
  18. Hi Anna!

    Very nice summation of the key relationship points in a romance. One thing I’ve noticed that I hadn’t realized that I crave so much is that happy ever after ending. I’ve read some delicious books lately that don’t end with that “feel good” sigh – and I hate it. What is wrong with these authors? Is it their intent to make us wonder why we’ve invested all this time reading only to feel depressed?

    You know, I met an older gentlemen recently who confessed he read romances – and could rattle off favorite authors so he just wasn’t trying to impress me. He said at this stage of his life he believes life is too short to waste time reading something without a HEA. I agree.

    So to that young man, I would gasp as well and say why would you want to spoil everything?

    Posted by Donna MacMeans | September 19, 2012, 11:14 am
    • Donna, thanks for checking out the post! Yeah, I crave the happy ever after too. A really great one makes me dive into another great romance immediately to follow. The BWF talk was really interesting – I had four guys there and they’d all read romance (Mr.T had dived into his mother’s out of curiosity as a teenager). Good for them!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:19 pm
  19. Hello Anna and a big shout out to our regulars, Banditas, and the Aussie posse!

    I was hooked on romance long before I picked up my first romance novel. It might have been the numerous viewings of Doris/Rock rom coms and Gidget movies, where The Gidge always gets Moon Doggie.

    For me, reading romance is like mac and cheese. It’s brain comfort food, something familiar I can depend on…most of the time!

    A love story doesn’t guarantee an HEA. Tess of the D’Urbervilles (I agree with Sharon), Love Story (ugh!), and books like Message in a Bottle, despite movie version’s kisses between Costner and Robin Wright, may be considered romance, but they leave me depressed. A romance doesn’t have to end with the H/H twined together whispering endearments. As long as there’s a hint of a future together, that’s good enough for me.

    To sum it up–when I read romance I want the expected but in an unexpected way.

    Best of luck with the launch of Big Lucky 7, and thank you for being with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 19, 2012, 12:55 pm
    • Hey, Big Lucky 7? I love it! Thanks for the good luck, Jen, and for inviting me to be your guest here today. You get such a nice class of commenter here on RU! ;-)

      And thanks to everyone who’s swung by!

      I think I was programmed to be hooked on romance too. I loved fairytales right from the moment my mum read me Snow White and Cinderella. That really hasn’t changed. And if a movie didn’t have a romantic plot, I just wasn’t interested. Fated to be a romance writer, I guess!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:21 pm
  20. Great summation of the general plot of the story.

    I’m noticing lately that there are more and more romances coming through with a second love-interest who causes the the conflict, but the one the heroine meets first is usually still the one she chooses for her HEA.

    Posted by Rebecca Fyfe | September 19, 2012, 1:52 pm
    • Rebecca, what an interesting comment. I’ve definitely noticed the trend in YA, wondering if it’s a Twilight thing. Although having said that, there’s love triangles in a few of the ongoing series like Stephanie Plum. It’s purely a personal taste thing, but I’m not a huge fan of triangles because someone always comes out as the loser and if he/she is a credible alternative to the person chosen, then they’re nice and I hate seeing characters I love unhappy at the end. Mind you, sets up a nice idea for a sequel, I suppose!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:27 pm
  21. Wonderful post, Anna. I think romance speaks to that deep need in people, male or female, to feel loved totally and completely by someone else. Perhaps we women are more open and romantic about this need and thus are the majority of the romance genre readership, but I think men yearn for it too — even if they would never admit it, or perhaps don’t realize that’s what they’re looking for.

    Posted by Trish Milburn | September 19, 2012, 1:53 pm
    • Trish, as you know, today I’m hosting Sarah Mayberry over on the Romance Bandits site and she’s asked our visitors whether they believe in love at first site. Something amazing over there is that there are LOTS of story of LATF that’s lasted and often it’s the bloke who’s been the one ready to embrace the concept before the woman. Really makes my romantic heart glow!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:28 pm
  22. Love the way you explained it. Though real life is different, hearing how it “could” be gives us hope…from Cinderella to Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed. Thanks for the great stories.

    Posted by Brenda Rumsey | September 19, 2012, 2:35 pm
    • Thanks so much, Brenda! You know, I’m not sure real life is that different. I’ve seen plenty of really close, successful,long-lasting relationships in real life. Yeah, we’ve all seen our share of relationships that don’t fall into that category but it doesn’t mean they’re not possible. And I love how romances say that there is hope!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:31 pm
  23. A delightful post, Anna. Bequiling & spot-on!! LOVE those heroes that just pluck the heroine’s heartstrings.

    Cindy Nord
    http://www.cindynord.com

    Posted by Cindy Nord | September 19, 2012, 3:36 pm
    • Thanks so much, Cindy! Yeah, I love it when an outwardly tough man finds that the heroine awakens vulnerabilities. He generally doesn’t like it because vulnerability is scary! But it’s that vulnerability that leaves room for a great love to grow. I really do love telling these stories!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:32 pm
  24. Great post, Anna. As you say, every genre has its conventions. Only romance, however, is denigrated for them. It’s very frustrating.

    I’m looking forward to Seven Nights. I do love a good beauty and the beast tale!

    Posted by Nancy Northcott | September 19, 2012, 4:25 pm
    • Thanks so much, Nancy! I know that all my stories are Beauty and the Beast, but this one’s so blatant, even the characters comment on it! LOL! I don’t think conventions make for a boring, hackneyed novel and yet the naysayers spend their lives accusing romance of just that. Gets my goat, it does!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 5:35 pm
  25. Great post neatly summing up why a book without a HEA is a turn off for me!

    Seven Nights looks great and I can’t wait to read it!

    Callene

    Posted by Callene Rapp | September 19, 2012, 6:04 pm
  26. “For me, every romance I read contains a number of essentials – much like there’s always a dead body in a murder mystery.”

    How true! What I love about reading romances is that every author rises up to the challenge of telling the “same” HEA story in a new way. Like you, I’m a lifelong romance reader and it amazes me how every romance novel I read feels like it’s the first time I’m reading a romance.

    It’s still a very vibrant, dynamic and growing genre.

    Congratulations on the release of your new book!

    Posted by Tin | September 19, 2012, 6:50 pm
    • Thanks so much, Tin! It is amazing the variations you can get out of this basic structure, isn’t it? But then I think there’s only 13 possible notes in music and we don’t seem to be running short of ideas there either. And I never tire of hearing people’s how we met stories – they’re all different too!

      Posted by Anna Campbell | September 19, 2012, 7:24 pm
  27. Anna,

    Thank you for joining us today and thanks everyone for stopping by and commenting!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 20, 2012, 12:44 am
  28. Thanks to everyone for swinging by. It’s been such an interesting discussion! And don’t forget to check back to see who won the signed copy of SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED.

    Posted by Anna Campbell | September 20, 2012, 1:29 am
  29. The winner of a signed copy of Anna’s SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED is…

    Callene Rapp!

    Please send your mailing info to:
    jennifer@romanceuniversity.org

    Congratulations, Callene!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | September 20, 2012, 3:47 pm

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