Before I wrote my first romance novels, I imagined that realistic contemporaries with characters rooted in the everyday might be “easier” to create than paranormals, historical, or romantic suspense. (I can hear Delilah laughing now!) Since I’d been writing short fiction for years, I knew that writing isn’t easy, no matter what the genre, but it did seem like contemporaries might have advantages. If you don’t have to create a world from scratch, or vividly recreate an unfamiliar setting or time period, it should leave you more brain-space for the other aspects of writing a good book. Right?
Still, my first solo books were paranormals and fantasy romances, and I found, when I wrote my Duals and Donovans paranormals for Samhain and the Seasons of Sorania Cycle for Phaze that world-building is one of my favorite parts of writing otherworldly romances. What’s more, paranormal worlds and heroes and heroines with unusual powers offer all sorts of opportunities for angst and conflict. If the couple (or triad) are different species, they automatically have issues to work out. If they’re trying to cement a relationship while saving the world from super-powered evil, they’ll be too distracted to believe that love will conquer all or have the talk that lets them realize they’re on the same page.
Knowing the Ropes, my first solo full-length contemporary (I’ve co-authored several with Dayle A. Dermatis under the name Sophie Mouette) offered me new challenges. I’d chosen a setting I knew well, Boston, and a milieu I also knew well, the BDSM community, so only a small amount of research was needed. Developing quirky, interesting characters who clicked emotionally and sexually is always a fun challenge, no matter what the setting. But I’d made my hero and heroine click too well! In the first draft, Nick and Selene, without demons or government conspiracies to distract them from their smoking sexual connection and shared values, fell in love way too easily. They struggled a bit with integrating love and BDSM, but because I’d created bright, mature characters, they were able to talk through their problems readily. Great in a real relationship, boring in a novel.
Despite good advice from beta readers, I set this book aside for longer than I should have and went back to paranormals, thinking I didn’t have the knack for contemporaries. Then a conversation with an editor (not the one who ultimately bought the book) at a conference prompted me to revisit the draft. With time away from the work, I was able to see how to deepen the conflict, create areas of self-doubt that Nick and Selene couldn’t articulate because they didn’t fully understand them, make Nick’s misguided ex both more human and more a real threat to the relationship.
I’m at work on another kinky contemporary right now, as well as the next Duals and Donovans paranormal. The kinky contemporary is going well, but I may add an element of romantic suspense or a truly evil ex to future works in that sub-genre. I learned a lot from Knowing the Ropes, but I still find it easier to put characters into a juicy conflict with each other if they’re also uniting against an outside enemy.
Or maybe I just like inventing magical rituals and blowing things up.
Teresa Noelle Roberts writes erotica and romance“doing what comes (super)naturally.” She loves writing slightly more than gardening, but can’t survive without either. Learn more at www.teresanoelleroberts.com or follow her on Twitter, where she’s @TeresNoeRoberts
They’ve got the sex factor in spades. But can love survive the “ex” factor?
Selene has harbored kinky, submissive fantasies most of her life, but her experience as a domestic abuse counselor leaves her leery of giving up that much control. Case in point: the ex-fiancé she didn’t love quite enough to test the limits of trust.
At a BDSM meet and greet, she sets out to learn how far is too far. Nick seems like the ideal dom to show her the ins and outs of ropes, floggers, and paddles—with no commitment clause.
After losing a sub he loved too much, Selene’s country girl common sense and smoking sensuality is like a dream that Nick never dared to have—a perfect blend of kink and long-term domestic bliss.
Yet it’s tough to figure out just how far they can push their limits when they’ve both agreed to a no-strings affair. Especially when an ex needs Nick’s muscle and Selene’s newly discovered skills to get out of a dangerous situation. And it may be too late for love to survive all the things they’re afraid to say.
Warning: Sexy, kinky, geeky dominant guy. Smart submissive woman. Crazy ex. A little experimentation between girlfriends. And lots and lots of kinky sex.