Many a romance reader knows Lucky Harbor, the fictional town where Jill Shalvis has set (thus far) nine novels. All good things must come to an end, however, and Ms. Shalivs has penned the last three love stories she plans to set there. The first of these, It’s In His Kiss, was released yesterday.
We are happy to have Jill here today. Not only is she answering questions, and sharing an excerpt, she’s giving away a Lucky Harbor novel of your choice to three AAR readers. To be entered in the drawing, just leave a comment below.
Alexis Hall has just released his debut novel, Glitterland, to wide acclaim. It’s a four and a half star read on Goodreads. Library Journal gave it a starred review and deemed it “Highly recommended.” Alexis and I are Twitter pals so I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed for AAR. He said yes. I sent him my questions and, though he was on vacation and typing on his phone, he sent me the following resplendent replies.
1) I’ve rarely read a romance with such polar opposite leads. Both men fascinated me. Can you tell me a bit about how you came up with Darian and Ash? Who came first?
It’s pretty straightforward actually: Darian came first. Last year, there was a contestant on the UK X Factor called Rylan Clark who was this, well, sparkling glitter pirate of a man. Obviously Darian isn’t Rylan Clark, because that would be deeply weird, but he was a strong inspiration for the character. The thing is, that type of person does show up in fiction fairly regularly but usually as a background character or a gay best friend, and he tends to be played for laughs. So I decided I wanted to write a book where he was the hero because I think it’s so easy to dismiss people who seem shallow or frivolous or camp or, basically, just not like you. And that meant I needed a context in which he could shine, and also be taken seriously for who he is. Continue reading →
This week Mary Ann Rivers released her first published work, a moving novella entitled The Story Guy. Goodreads readers give it a 4.5. I thought it was almost perfect.
I know Mary Ann through twitter (every Tuesday night we watch Buffy and Tweet madly at #buffyclub). I also follow her at wonkomance.com. (Read her recent piece Love, Actually; it’s gorgeous.)
Mary Ann’s work feels deeper (which is not the same as darker) to me than much of what I read in contemporary romance. I wanted to know why she writes the way she does and asked if I could ask her for AAR. She graciously said yes.
Congratulations on getting your first work published! I have to tell you, The Story Guy doesn’t read like a debut novella. Your prose is clear and confident and your story limned with grace. Can you tell me how you got here? When did you start writing fiction?
Thank you! I am completely honored to be debuting as a writer in the romance community. I’ve read romance since about the fifth grade, which means I’ve been reading romance for twenty-eight years. When I was fifteen, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be either famous poet or a romance novelist, and when I was eighteen, I wrote to Jude Deveraux after reading Sweet Liar, the very first hardback I had ever purchased, and she wrote back. Now we’re at the same house. So I would encourage diary writing, long-term goal setting, and letter writing in any writer, generally.
Warning: this piece has spoilers about three contemporary romances: Sabrina Darby’s Entry Level Mistress, Joan Kilby’s Maybe this Time, and Sarah Mayberry’s Suddenly You
Last month, I read a contemporary romance by Sabrina Darby that, despite its slightly sexist title–Entry Level Mistress–I was enjoying. Then, in the last few chapters of the novel, a plot twist ruined the book for me. The heroine, a smart, independent 21 year old with a successful career as an artist ahead of her, gets pregnant by her billionaire 31 year old boyfriend and, with very little thought, decides to have the baby.
Now, before you scroll down to the comment section and share your passionately held views on abortion, please, for my sake, read a bit further. Continue reading →
Series romances with contemporary settings appear to be going strong. Harlequin releases plenty of them every month and readers (including me) eagerly snatch them up. However, single title contemporaries are a little harder to find. Anyone who reads romance sites and blogs or who spends any time at all following romance readers on Twitter has seen plenty of moaning about the dearth of single title contemporaries. I started to wonder why this is, and that in turn has made me wonder if contemporaries might not be a more narrowly defined subgenre than one might think at first glance.
At first glance, the contemporary landscape appears wide open. The choice of settings is almost endless and so too the choice of character types. After all, a book can feature cowboys in Texas, a shop owner in Paris, or archeologists in the Middle East and so long as it’s set in the here and now, we can call it contemporary. The possibilities for the imagination at this point almost boggle the mind. Then comes the plotting – and that’s where things get sticky. Continue reading →
First of all, I’ve always loved contemporary romance. And there are many – many – writers of contemporary romance I love. Really love. Welcome to Temptationis my touchstone for all that is perfect in contemporary storytelling.
Still, I’ve been burned a bit lately and I could use a little help in identifying the books I want to read.
In historical romance, we’ve got handy code words to help readers know what they’re going to get when they open a book: Wallpaper or Not Wallpaper. Though some may define what constitutes a true Wallpaper a bit differently, I think most of us would agree that we know one when we see it. (Clue: If a 19th century heroine uses “whatever” as a snotty response, you’re looking at a Class A Wallpaper.)
In contempories, however, we’re swinging out there in the breeze. There’s no way to tell between a …say, a Rachel Gibson-smart small town book or a “contemporary” romance featuring a setting straight from the turn of the century. And I’m talking the 20th century.