From Thea: I connected with author Lauren Dane through the magic of Twitter, and I’m so glad I did! Lauren is not only extremely talented, but she’s sensible and strong minded. I was delighted when she agreed to come visit on my blog this week!
Lauren is offering a giveaway. As always, details follow at the end of this post.
Tropes/Themes Whatever You Want To Call Them
by Lauren Dane
Romance novels often get a bad rap because they tend to deal with themes people outside the genre like to think are clichés. The thing is, tropes, clichés, themes, whatever, are part of our consciousness because they concern issues we connect with.
A trope, to me anyway, is an idea or theme that people recognize. It can be through a character or through the story as a whole.
It’s up to the individual author to take that well recognized idea/theme and give it a unique spin or twist. But in and of itself, I will always argue that a trope is not bad. It’s not lazy. It’s not even a cliché. It can be those things if it’s used without any creativity and instead of a way to introduce readers to your world, you use it to bear the weight of the story and let it do your work.
There’s nothing wrong with writing on themes readers connect with. There’s nothing lazy about it. Nothing silly about it or any of the other things people try to connect romance and romance readers to in a negative way. In fact pretty much all novels, art, movies, etc are based on tropes and themes basic to the human condition. We connect, or not, based on our life experiences. It’s why some people read a book and rave about it forever as being the best book ever written while others rant about that same book as being horrible. Reading is personal. Which is why it’s so amazing. And romance connects to those buttons—both good and bad.
I love small town romance. I love the way small towns work. They’re wonderful and infuriating all at once. They can be filled with hilarious characters as well as small minded villains. But in the hands of say, Nora Roberts or Linda Howard you get Carnal Innocence and After The Night. Both books deal with some of my very favorite tropes. Small towns, class divides and tough, misunderstood alpha male heroes. Both authors push that envelope with their heroes and the story setting. Which is what makes both books so memorable to me.
The hardened assassin hero – and no one does this one better than Anne Stuart. She pushes that line so much, in such a fearless fashion. I absolutely love her books and her writing. Some of my favorites are Moonrise (and OMG she nearly broke me with this book. It’s one of her best and I think so totally underrated) and her Ice series (most notably Black Ice where the hero breaks at least 3 of my hero rules and I loved him anyway). Another favorite in this trope is Linda Howard. All The Queen’s Men introduced me to John Medina, who remains in my top 25 heroes list.
I also have a thing for older men/younger women stories. This is a more difficult trope for me because I loathe stories where the man is predatory and the woman is weak. I want her to be strong. Strong and smart enough to enjoy the experience and awesomeness a man in his 40s can bring to the table. I think I was imprinted with this one after reading Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (Jo is a younger woman to her older Friedrich) Suzanne Brockmann has several I also love – Breaking Point most especially. Oh and Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow with Hawke and Sienna.
So I’ve written books with hardened assassin heroes (Phantom Corps mini series). Small towns (Chase Brothers, Petal, Georgia) and in August, SWAY, the first in my new contemporary erotic romance series, Delicious, will release in the CHERISHED duology I’m in with Maya Banks.
Sway is an older man/younger woman story and I hope I’ve created two characters readers connect with! Daisy might be 24 to Levi’s 40, but she’s not innocent. She’s not naïve. And she’s most certainly not a doormat. Moreover, Levi might be older (and he does have some reservations about their age difference), but he’s intelligent, caring and most of all, he respects Daisy very much.
I hope folks enjoy Daisy and Levi, despite (and if you’re like me, because of) the age difference! What are some of your favorite themes/tropes? Any favorites? I’ll give away a signed copy of NEVER ENOUGH, the book that comes before SWAY, to one commenter. International entries are absolutely fine 🙂
Giveaway ends at 12 noon, MDT, on Friday June 29th!