I was out to lunch with my husband today when I noticed two older couples sitting at the tables around us. One couple was sitting next to each other and the other was sitting across from each other. Because I have romance on the brain, it made me think: which seating arrangement is more romantic? Is it better to sit next to each other, or is being across from each other and being able to look into each other’s eyes better?
I couldn’t decide so I asked my husband. He said sitting next to each other was more romantic. I pointed out that we always sit across from each other and he responded, “That’s because you’re not romantic.” His tone was very matter-of-fact and I know he wasn’t trying to be mean, so I wasn’t offended. But it got me thinking even more.
We discussed the idea of romance a little further and decided that the meaning of romance and being romantic depends on the person. It’s in the eye of the beholder.
Regardless of my personal romantic leanings, I do have an opinion on what I think makes a good romance novel and I have tried to incorporate some of these “must haves” into Stay:
- Real characters that readers can relate to. People are flawed. All people. I say keep it real.
- Chemistry: physical, emotional and intellectual. I like to see the characters connect in all of these ways. This is what makes relationships thrive.
- A love triangle adds intrigue. It creates sides…Team? Or Team? Not 100% necessary but who doesn’t like a little competition.
- A good journey where the characters grow in the relationship. People who come into your life and inspire you to grow are important.
- An interesting location. I like taking my readers on a mini vacation with me. I show them the sights and sounds of a new locale.
- Spice. Yes, sexy, intense and creative spice does it for me. I could have just said sex but that would have left out all of the other physical avenues that can be explored.
- Kisses. Those soul-stirring kisses we all dream about. They can be tender, passionate, deep or soft. They just need to happen.
- Great dialogue. I like when characters say what they mean and mean what they say.
- Writing that makes you feel like the characters have to be together because the universe says so. I believe in fate. Things really do happen for a reason.
- ???? (I’d love to hear what your #10 is).
There isn’t just one recipe that makes a good sauce, or a great cake. We all have different tastes which encourages us to experiment and use different ingredients. Life is that way too. We all find beauty, joy, fun…and romance in different places and in different ways. I always encourage people to use the recipe that works best for you, because in the end, it’s all in the eye of the beholder.