First, let me thank my fantastic, wonderful hostess for inviting me to guest blog today! When Maggie told me about the theme of spring into romance, one thought immediately came to mind.
That crazy, giddy, stomach dropping, gotta-get-a- glimpse-of-him-now love. I get tingles just thinking about my first super crush, which I termed my first love, though we never spoke. Well, we kind of did once. I crashed into him in the hallway and he caught me and asked. “Are you alright?” To which I replied—nothing. I was dizzy with longing, waiting for him to realize I was the one and ask me out. But he just shook his head in disgust by my inability to speak and walked off. We never spoke again. Sigh. Great memories.
Sorry. As Doug in the movie Up would term – squirrel!
Love, of course, is the main ingredient in a romance novel. But sometimes, the greatest love stories happen off the page, before the reader even gets there. How about the heroine who crushes on a guy when she’s young, then meets him years later? He’s grown up, changed, and all man. Yum. A shared past is a great way to springboard into romance, rev up the action, and drop the reader right into the conflict.
In my new book, The Marriage Bargain, my heroine Alexa first meets Nick as her best friend’s older brother. They share a history of torture, teasing, and play as they grow, which changes when they reach the critical teen years. As much as Alexa hates Nick, she also has feelings for him. When they share their first kiss because of a silly dare, those feelings turn into love. But when Nick laughs and walks off, Alexa has her first experience with heartbreak.
This scene, though, is never shown to the readers until much later, and in very brief form. There’s no reason to drag down the pace by opening up with that prologue, or even spoon feeding our reader trying to explain why Alexa is wary around Nick. Weaved into the story, we discover a flash here and there, just enough to keep the reader interested. We also build instant connection between the characters. Guilt, anger, humiliation, fear – all occurring off the main stage.
Crushes and the first blossom of love is a powerful tool. Most people will honestly tell you they’ve never forgotten their first. Writing a romance novel with characters who share such a past is a delicious way to dive right into the action, but remember not to over tell and bore your readers. Many times the character’s past is more necessary for the writer than the reader.
Now, it’s confession time!
Stop in and share a story about your first crush or first love! I promise to give you credit if you inspire me to include one of your stories in a future book!
And look for the number one Barnes and Noble bestseller The Marriage Bargain! Here’s a blurb:
A marriage in name only…
To save her family home, impulsive bookstore owner, Alexa Maria McKenzie, casts a love spell. But she never planned on conjuring up her best friend’s older brother—the powerful man who once shattered her heart.
Billionaire Nicholas Ryan doesn’t believe in marriage, but in order to inherit his father’s corporation, he needs a wife and needs one fast. When he discovers his sister’s childhood friend is in dire financial straits, he’s offers Alexa a bold proposition.
A marriage in name only with certain rules: Avoid entanglement. Keep things all business. Do not fall in love. The arrangement is only for a year so the rules shouldn’t be that hard to follow, right?
Except fate has a way of upsetting the best-laid plans…
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