Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Reading, The Writing Life

How Down and Dirty Do You Like It?

Now, now….minds out of the boudoir my friends (or the office desk, the hospital supplies room or the ridiculously large Egyptian cotton sheeted bed). This time I’m talking about our heroes and heroines and just how tortured their pasts are or aren’t. Romances are, at their heart, meant to be beautiful stories about falling in love and deep heated kisses that make your knees go all wobbly and learning valuable lessons about life, love, ourselves and perhaps even a thrilling new surgical technique in the course of the journey to a Happily Ever After.

My current book has the heroine going through a fair bit of torture that keeps making me burst into tears. I feel so AWFUL for her (and am prone to a bit of melodrama – quelle surprise!). Not really the stuff of romance, is it? But part of love is pain and heartbreak and asking the universe why – A THOUSAND TIMES, WHY? Right? Or is that just me? To counterbalance my heroines plight,  I’ve been fairy dusting a whole load of Christmas magic into the mix to make the teeter totter (see saw?) ride less of a heavy weighted misery trip. I think it works…but I guess the proof will be in the (rum-soaked) Christmas pudding, eh?

mqdefault.jpgWant to have a weep right now? Click HERE.I’m extremely curious about how dark and heavy you like things to go – as writers and as readers. Me? I love a good blub. Sometimes I actively seek out a film that I know will make me sob. When I went to see The Bridges of Madison County – I had to go sneak into a Jackass film afterwards so I’d look less like I’d just been dumped by my boyfriend in the middle of the film. No joke. Rabbit Proof Fence nearly took my sister out. Dehydrated her for a week!

I suppose what it boils down to is I will never – ever, in a million, zillion years – get enough of Triumph Over Adversity stories. I think the human spirit is a resounding powerhouse made of up love and full caps YESES and YOU BETS and It Will Get Betters. But how much can a person take before the turn-around happens? And do you really want it in heavy doses in your beautiful romance novel, or is just a little bit of hardship enough? Be honest – I can take it (and then triumph over adversity after I get all blotchy faced from a monster boo-hoo). Besides – this is why we have so many wonderful, different authors, no? Speak up – can’t wait.

And now for the exciting bit! I don’t have a book out this month (although please feel free to check out any of my three I do have out in the world) – and since I’m just finishing writing a holiday book (for next year) I thought I’d feature our very own Jennifer Taylor’s new book – the magnificently titled Miracle Under the Mistletoe !

’Tis the season for second chances?


Two years ago A&E Consultant Sean Fitzgerald left Molly Daniels broken-hearted. Now he’s back, and the reception she gives him is frostier than the weather! But he’s determined to reveal the truth about his past…

Walking away from Molly was the hardest thing Sean’s ever done, but now she’s within his reach once more he never wants to let her go. Could one magical mistletoe kiss be all he needs to melt her heart and finally show Molly he’s here to stay?


17 thoughts on “How Down and Dirty Do You Like It?”

  1. I love triumph over adversity. There’s nothing quite like an underdog story, too. I’m trying to imagine what our romances would be like if there was NO adversity, and I know they just wouldn’t work. Gorgeous girl meets hot virile guy and falls in love? Hurrah! But…the book would probably only be a couple pages long and after a while we’d stop reading, because where’s the challenge? The ‘J’ word?
    If you think about it, people are weird. We like to read about the pain they’ve been through, but only so that it makes that HEA, so much sweeter!

    1. Hallelujah sista! I think it definitely involves needing to know that if SOMEONE overcame cancer/the loss of a loved one/being abandoned/being dumped/poverty/fill in the blank – then you can (I can) overcome whatever I’m going through as well – and LOVE WILL TRIUMPH! Right?

  2. I’m a weeper too, Annie. It’s not that I relish doing it, its just the way I’m built. I cry at sad as well as happy and inspirational things. Rabbit Proof Fence dehydrated me too so high five to your sister 🙂

    But you’re right, it is difficult to put in a category romance novel and find the right kind of balance. Like you a lot of other medical authors, my books are emotional – I guess its the medical themes that steer them down this path. I have written one book in particualr that sounds like your current WIP. How To Mend A Broken Heart dealt with a couple estranged after the drowning death of their son. I was worried all the way through writing that my editor would say it was just too heavy and sad. But she loved it and I think, to this day, it is one of my favourite books I have written.

    How have readers taken it? That’s an entirely different matter. A lot of reviews have disliked it because they dont want so much sad in their romance novels. And that’s fair enough – I understood that some people would feel that way. Others have found it moving and said they cried buckets but they still loved it. Others remarked on the tempered ending both negatively and positively. It’s been a real mixed bag but I expected no less.

    So be prepared for a mixed reaction but always, always go with your gut. As far as I’m concerned, I’d read it for sure 🙂

    1. GREAT! Thanks Amy. It makes me feel better….perhaps unsurprisingly this story is relatively similar. It’s about a couple who have become estranged after their first child is stillborn and it is killing me! However – I love how much they love each other. Neither of them deny that…but what the main question is, is do they BELONG together after the heartbreak is endured? I’m digging it. I will have to toughen my skin when it comes out! xx A

  3. I love a weepie – not being a crier in my day to day life – but I like it mixed up with a few laughs. I think the main thing is that the heroine won’t let herself be defined by the sadness and constantly defeated by it – that’s when I want to get out my slapping hand.

    1. That’s what a lot of reviwers said about HTMABH, Avril. My heroine was so relentlessly mired in grief. There weren’t a lot of light moments. She was stuck in her grief and *completely* defined by it which is unhealthy but does happen and that’s what I wanted to portray.
      But yeh…those kind of stories aren’t for everyone and lightness at the right time is a welcome relief! .

      1. Some people definitely do like a slice of heavy drama. I got a Goodreads review form someone who was preparing to write the book was a light, funny and entertaining read, until she got to a certain section and the angst took a dramatic hike upwards – and I think it was that part that nailed me the 5th star.

  4. Without overcoming adversities – no matter how small or seemingly overwhelming — what is there to write about? I say this as someone who is finishing a book with the biggest obstacles to overcome I’ve ever written. (I think). I far prefer it to a character never wanting to have a relationship again because the last one didn’t work out. Agree? I always pictured myself as a romcom author, but here I am…a drama queen for Mills & Boon. 😉

    1. Lynne – I’m totally with you. I always pictures myself as a romcom author. I’m klutzy – so why shouldn’t my heroine’s be, too? And yet….I am rumbling through some serious sturm und drang in this one…with the odd pratfall. I think you’re write – and Louisa mentioned it, too…if everything was lovely…it’d be a pretty dull read. So keep on being a drama queen, girl! x A

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