Sunday, July 12, 2009

Behind The Scenes at The Romantic Query Letter

Delphin Enjolras

I have been party to many conversations with historical romance readers in book clubs and on other authors’ fan sites where the largest point of contention has been the role of the heroine.
Does she strike the right balance for the era?

Is she too independent in her breeches, riding astride, or too timid in service to family or due to her love for the hero?

It is a point of great contention, second only to the raunchiness of some of the covers the readers are made to endure. That, we will discuss in due time, but for now I will attempt to explain the subtle nuances and complex variations of a woman in love.

As if.

Christ, can you imagine how entertaining that would be? Me, there dissecting the female brain and trying to clarify the miracle of love. Why, it’s madness I tell you and hardly the stuff of an ideal romance novel.

Another contentious topic is the matter of sex and how much is too much for a historical romance novel?

“How do you make your story romantic, erotic and tasteful all at the same time?”

Is that even something the readers want or would they rather have a sweet, touching story with but a hint of the consummation?

When does it stop being romantic and start being erotica?

I have read and enjoyed both the tastefully restrained Balogh and the nearly erotic Kleypas and would be hard-pressed to choose between the two.

As a new writer, I struggle with the balance for the characters, my intended audience and myself as modern woman.

How do I translate the intensity of love into an entertaining manuscript and maintain believability for the era and the modern reader at the same time?

The hero, that’s how.

I make him human, humane and sexy as all hell. He is always intelligent and someone the heroine is proud to stand by. If I respect the man in spite of his flaws, then she can’t help but love him and the reader will no doubt follow me and the heroine in surrendering their hearts to him.

I believe we can all agree, that in the ideal world of the romance novel, once the heart is won, then trust is apparent and the sex is a breeze, no matter how erotic.
Thanks for reading,

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