It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog, so let me start out by apologising. Sorry, folks, for the long silence, but it’s good to be back. Having said that, I’ve been busy writing. And as I write, read, read, write and read again, I’ve been racking my brains and my heart to find ways to make my books stand out in the overly saturated market of modern romances. I’m not saying that I have a secret recipe or a silver bullet. If that were truly the case, then I mayn’t be sharing it in the spirit of competition. Then again, for those of you who have read my books (yes, two of them – The Billionaire’s Secret has been published recently – yay!), it may have become quite apparent. For those of you who haven’t, here goes.
Let me be clear and issue a few disclaimers. What I’m about to suggest are by no means unique. I’m sure that there are authors out there who release a masterpiece truly fresh, not derivative from other works. The modern romance, including the sub-genre that I specialise in – intrigue and mystery – are all derivative, for the simple reason that they have several unremarkable features done over and over again. Billionaires. Love. Romance. Passion and sexuality. Nothing new, right? Then, how can one take such a well-explored subject matter and make them stand out?
I suppose each author has their own brand of writing style that makes them different. I have one too, although I’m hard-pressed to give it a description. Writing style can be unique – it’s up to you to decide if mine is. However, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I have a few ways which I’d love to share with you. The first is character. Be it the hero or heroine, I like to think that the characters are well-rounded, individuals who, physical attributes aside, have depths, flaws, features and nuances that make them stand out in a crowd. It’s not easy. What’s easy is to slip into a stereotype. Lex from The Billionaire Needs a Bodyguard has a unique blend of accomplished skill and vulnerability that are at odds with one another. She’s professionally expert and experienced – ace marksperson, has mastered unarmed combat, can slip into any role, adaptive, intelligent, sneaky, deceptive and articulate. Personally, she’s strong, opinionated, independent, intrepid, sassy and outspoken. In juxtaposition with the plethora of superlative strengths, Lex is also sexually immature and emotionally stunted – making her intensely vulnerable as she was to Michael’s unique brand of charm and oozing sensuality. Michael, unlike many of our heroes is brash and a trifle unsophisticated – as many self-made men are like. He has flaws, some may see him as unlikeable. But as one reviewer pointed out, he doesn’t give up and fought the hardest to cement their love. In the end, he was more accommodative, willing to meet Lex more than halfway to ensure their happiness. Let me hasten to add that character flaws – both have them – may come at the risk of making them unlikeable in some respects. I’ve had reviewers and a copyeditor who took umbrage to their faults. The very fact that these readers took so much exception to them was a positive in many respects. As an author of the romance genre, it’s when the reader tears their hair out railing against one or the other of the two protagonists that tells me that I’ve achieved a way to make the book stand out – eliciting a strong, emotional response. These responses may not always be a positive one. It’s a risk that I’m willing to take to make the story different.
Another way that I like to think my books are different is the delicate weaving together of mystery, thrill and romance into a storyline that keeps the reader turning the page. Many a reviewer has complimented the twists and turns, the mystery and thrills within the plot. This is not easy as the two threads – romance and mystery – cannot run as parallel plots. There is only one plot. How do I achieve that? It’s not the same in every book – it really depends on the story, each bringing with it opportunities and threats. I like to take advantage of one to fuel the other. Let me explain. Lex’s suspicious behaviour makes Michael jealous which allows for confrontation, evidence of real emotion, love and adds spice to their lovemaking. Michael’s life being in danger, coupled with Lex’s growing love for him makes her deviate from procedure. And so on and so forth.
And finally, last but not least, let’s not forget the cute moments that makes the reader go … aww. Like the way Lex starts a sentence with ‘Only.’ And then doesn’t complete it. Or when she compliments Michael by comparing him favourably with Britain’s famous fictional secret agent. Quite ironic, all things considered. There are plenty more, but you’ll have to read the book to discover them. These moments are not accidental. Nor do they jar … they are intricately weaved into the plot. Writing style, transitions and situations allow for these moments to stay with you for a long time after you’ve read the book, as my partner remarked a few weeks after reading the book … my first reviewer.
Sigh. Let’s come to the lovemaking scenes. They need to be part of the story, not there simply to titillate or jar the reader, taking them away from the suspense and romance. Sensual union is integral to the plot as well as the emotions of the protagonists. I have a confession. I’m not completely comfortable with this aspect and yet it’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of my writing. The discomfort comes from – you guessed it! – making them different, unique, stitching together emotional and physical aspects of a relationship into words that blend neatly together. Thankfully, all the readers and reviewers have found the scenes enjoyable and flattering in that they enhance the storytelling. And with that thundering climax … no pun intended … I’ll end it here.
Sigh again. With a saddened heart, I bid you goodbye, but only for the moment.
Hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Talk soon.