I would like to introduce my guest today, Yajaira Diaz (she’s adorable!) who is not only my friend but a voracious reader. She’s coming to you live from sunny So Cal where I was lucky enough to meet her face to face for the first time last month at the RWA Literacy signing. Good times. I asked her what it took to make a romance rock for her. Of course she shared. Check it out.
At this point in my literary life, I think I have pretty much read all the big name romance series out there and then some. It isn’t exactly a good thing, I’ll have you know, because I find that I am now extremely picky with the romances I choose to read. I’m no longer easily swayed by a friend’s recommendation or by a pretty cover. Though I will admit that when a certain model, (cough-cough, Paul Marron) is on a cover, I do tend to want to buy it just to stare, (and by ‘stare’, I mostly mean drool) at his face. But even Paul with his pretty smile has a hard time persuading me to pick up a book solely based on cover and synopsis.
So, what does make a romance rock for me? What makes me want to read more works written by an author? I pretty much have three major requirements, and they are as followed:
When an author keeps their promises:
Halfway through the book and the hero has repeatedly threatened the heroine with a deliciously sexual punishment if she continues to do a certain thing…let’s say biting of lips or rolling of eyes, and oh how exciting! Anticipation swirls in my belly; any chapter now the hero will deliver said punishment and oh man will it be fantastic! Two-thirds of the way and I can’t even concentrate on the story, anymore. Every other chapter has him promising to deliver the sexual punishment, but I have yet to see him even attempt it. Now I’m wondering if maybe the author is saving the best for last. You finish the book and realize they were nothing but empty promises.
A book will lose 1,000 awesomeness points if it does this, so, do not do this. I am serious, I will riot! You promise me a fight, a sexual act, an important conversation and I will hold you to it. Not following through is a major turn off for me.
Realistic dialogue: Fantasy/Fiction does not equal sappy.
We have all been out for drinks with friends and the way you speak around them is very laid back and casual, so unless your characters are from eighteenth century England or are a part of the royal family, “delightfully exquisite” shouldn’t be in their dialogue used to describe the chicken they just had for dinner. I think even modern day moguls and royals would be okay with saying the chicken was really good.
I have a difficult time becoming emotionally invested in a series or book, where the dialogue sounds like that. I find nothing wrong with an author not choosing to use the hardest, most sophisticated words in the dictionary in their character’s dialogue. Cheesy dialogue has made me give up on series completely. Though I will confess; there is one series that has all kinds of sappy dialogue, but I can’t seem to get enough of it! It’s got way too much slang and way too many overly unrealistic lines, but I love it…Hi J.R. Ward!
Don’t you dare fade the scene out! Dang it, you faded out the scene…
I can’t say I have come across this particular one very often because it’s not the actual fading out of a scene that bothers me, but more the fading out during an important or highly anticipated scene. I don’t expect a fight scene to be gruesome every time, or a sex scene to be explicit, but give me something! Leaving certain things to our imaginations is good and well, but I’m a fan of your writing; therefore, I want to read the way the scene plays out in YOUR mind, so do us all a solid and write out the scene.
All in all, these are the ingredients that make a romance novel float my boat, rock my world…and turn me into an obsessed fan for life. Just ask Karin Tabke, Cj Roberts and Keri Arthur.
Ok, now that I’ve shared my secrets, share yours: What makes a romance rock for you?
Yajaira Diaz – avid reader.