Monday 14 January 2013

I'm lucky to have Suzan Tisdale here today

She's talking about what Makes a Great Romance Novel.

Over to you Suzan

In my mind, to be considered a great romance novel, you have to start with a strong hero and heroine. They must be likeable people that you want to root for.

So what makes a great hero? Well, I think it is different for each of us. For me a hero is a strong yet slightly vulnerable man. I don’t much care for the brooding type of hero, you know the one I speak of. The kind of guy who goes through much of the book all sullen, hating everything about love, romance, women, and marriage. For me, that isn’t the great kind of hero that I like to fall in love with in a book.

For me, the hero must have some vulnerability to him. Whether its something from his childhood that he must over come or something involving a woman in his past that left him with a sour taste in his mouth, a bit of vulnerability makes him human. Just don’t go way over the top with it.

I also like a hero who wants to win the heart of the woman he has fallen in love with. For me, its important that my hero like the heroine and visa versa. And by like, I mean as in like their personalities, like them as a person.

And my heroines? I like a strong heroine that isn’t stupid, ignorant, or someone who hops from one bed to another to find happiness. She must have a brain, not be afraid to speak her mind, yet she can still be nice, someone you’d want to have as a friend in real life. She too must have some hint of vulnerability. She doesn’t have to be a damsel in distress, in fact, I like it when the heroine rescues the hero!

The romance novel has to be more than just writhing around in bed together. There has to be some kind of bond between the hero and heroine. A genuine, heartfelt adoration for one another. I like to see the relationship grow and blossom into something that is going to last.

I know, that probably sounds old fashioned, but I don’t care.

I am a huge proponent of marriage and this is how I look at romance, marriage, and sex:

Think of a relationship as a frosted cake with florets, candles, and all the pretty things. The cake is the foundation for which the frosting goes on. If all you have is frosting, you can get sick rather quickly. And if all you have is cake, you can get bored.

So the cake is the foundation of the marriage or relationship. It’s all the stuff that binds the two of you together. It’s the kids, mortgage, car payments and power bills. It’s the day-to-day stuff you go through. If you’re smart, you’ll gain an ‘its us against the world’ attitude and with that you can survive pretty much everything from financial worries to teenagers!

Romance or sex is the frosting on the cake. Its what makes having the cake both bearable and fun! The frosting is what makes it all worthwhile. If the cake isn’t any good then the frosting isn’t enjoyable. And if all you have is frosting, then you better start baking a cake or your doomed.

So that is how I tend to look at romance novels. Yes, I want to be whisked away to another time and place for a little while. I like to worry about someone else’s problems instead of my own. I like to root for the good guys and hiss at the bad guys.  I want to read a book where the hero and heroine actually develop a relationship that is based on something more than just sex. If all that the author is giving me is frosting, I’m not a happy camper. I want more than that.

So there you have it. My thoughts on what makes a good romance read. I don’t care if it’s a contemporary romance or historical. The hero must be strong yet vulnerable, the heroine has to have a brain, and there must be more than just frosting.

All so very true Eh? What do you think?

Suzan lives in the Midwest with her verra handsome carpenter husband and the last of their four children-a 14 year old, 6"3’, built like a linebacker son. Suzan and her husband are currently accepting monetary donations to help both feed and keep their son in shoes.

They live in a quiet little hamlet where the only traffic jams occur in the very early morning hours when they must wait for the wild deer and turkey to cross the road.

In her distinctive voice, Suzan combines history, romance, and adventure to create epic tales filled with Highlanders, intrigue, romance, and laughter. Her first novel, Laiden's Daughter, Book One in her Clan MacDougall Series, was released December 2011, and has been on Amazon’s Top 100 Best Sellers List since February 2012.

Laiden's Daughter takes place in the Highlands of Scotland, 1344. Betrayed by lies told before her birth, Aishlinn is raised by a harsh and cruel stepfather. Her life is forever changed one horrifying night when she is forced to flee England for the safety of the Scottish Highlands. Rescued by a fierce band of highland warriors, Aishlinn soon learns that honorable men do exist. She finds a strength she never knew she possessed and it will be tested to the limits when she is forced to make a heart-wrenching decision…allow the English to kill those she loves, or surrender for the crime she committed.
Our hero, fierce highland warrior, Duncan McEwan, has survived numerous battles, bed countless women, and survived a horrific storm at sea. He has scaled mountains and even survived hand-to-claw battle with a cat-o’mountain. But none of that could have prepared him for how his life forever changed one fateful spring day when he rescued a lass from a freezing stream. He will do anything to keep her as his own and will risk everything to keep her out of the hands of the English.


Continuing where Laiden's Daughter left off, we have the tale of Findley's Lass. When Findley McKenna returns after his battle with the English to offer Maggy Boyle a home amongst his clan, he finds only death and destruction instead of the young widow who has stolen his heart. The only things left of her home are the burned out hut and decaying bodies of the auld people Maggy has taken care of for the past three years. With only a prayer, his Highlander heart, and a bit of bloodied plaid to cling to, Findley will crawl through hell if he must, in order to find Maggy and her sons and avenge the massacre before him. She had won his heart without trying, and he can only pray for the chance to give her his.
Maggy has secrets, and her own hell to crawl through, before she can give her trust or heart to any man. Fearful that the uncle of her late husband will force her into a marriage with another cold and vindictive man, she goes into hiding to keep her true identity secret and her adopted sons together. After her home is destroyed and her young son kidnapped, those secrets begin to unravel, one agonizing thread at a time. How can she place her trust or her heart in the hands of a man she barely knows and still maintain her freedom and keep her secrets hidden? Findley McKenna is her last vestige of hope at keeping both.  

Suzan is currently working on Book Three of her series, Wee William's Woman. It is set for release in the Summer of 2013.

"There is great joy in writing, but the biggest joy comes in sharing what you've written" Suzan Tisdale

You can find Suzan here...

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