Hey everyone, please give your warmest welcome to the fabulous Anne Calhoun (if you love contemporary romance you should definitely check her out if you’re not already a fan!)
Just last week I had the totally squee-inducing pleasure of finalizing back cover copy for my first print-first release, UNCOMMON PLEASURE, coming from Berkley Heat in February of 2013. The book contains two long novellas, each featuring a former Marine and the woman who’s going to turn his life upside down and give it a brisk shake, then help him pick up the pieces. (Ooooh, that’s good a nice start…why didn’t I think of that when I was working on the back cover copy?) Writing enticing cover copy isn’t my favorite thing part of the writer’s life, and writing it to cover two stories took some mental effort. And raw cookie dough.
But writing that particular piece of back cover copy got me thinking the journey from “I want to write a book” to “I’ve achieved my dream and sold to a New York print publisher”. Thinking about endings got me thinking about beginnings, or why I wanted to write romance novels at all. When people who know me in person find out what I do, they usually say something like, “It’s always the quiet ones, heh heh heh” or “Why write that smut/trash/stupid junk, heh heh heh?”
Heh heh heh.
It is a valid question, if you consider my outer world. I’m a suburban mom and writer now, but for ten years held down the kind of job that tracks to a hefty paycheck, a corner office, and a matrix of people reporting to me, and I’ve got the dated wardrobe from Talbots to prove it. I’m pretty quiet and unassuming in the real world. And yes, I write erotic romance.
There are two components to that answer. I write romance because while I’m completely practical when it comes to real people’s love lives, something bone deep inside me looks for the HEA in a fictional story. It’s pretty bad, actually. I stayed with my sister for a week when she was recovering from surgery, and she bought the first season of Battlestar Galactica for us to watch together. When I got home I watched the rest of the series in a two-week binge that prevented me from doing things like cleaning, or cooking, or remembering that other people lived with me. Somewhere in the middle of season 3 I emailed my BSG-crack-dealing sister and said, “Look, if Lee and Kara don’t end up together, I’m going to be super-pissed.”
She wrote me back and said, “Anne, this is not a happy series. Do you remember the torture in season 1? Do you remember how Dee killed herself, or what happened to Gaeta, or the serious social issues they address? The HEA…not happening.”
Well, dammit, yes, if I think about it I can intellectually get that Lee and Kara can’t be together forever because he’s kind of broken and she’s probably dead, but my gut reaction is OMG I WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY AND IN LOVE FOREVER!
As for the erotic half of the equation…if I’m going to get involved in a character’s emotional journey to love, I want them to risk everything to ride the HEA rollercoaster, including that area where a woman’s most vulnerable: sex. Which brings me back to my cover copy, and thinking about the two heroines who are risking it all in order to have their HEAs with not just any man, but stone-cold, bad-ass warriors. In OVER THE EDGE, Lauren Kincaid and former Marine Ty Hendricks (the second guy from the sole book I wrote as Raine Latimer, ON THE EDGE) end up in a battle of sexual one-upmanship with devastating consequences; in ALL ON THE LINE, Lieutenant Sean Winthrop fights for Abby Simmons, the woman he broke up with during his deployment…and now wants back badly enough to use the tactic of being her stress-relieving hookup while he’s on leave to get under her defenses.
Sexual encounters form the backbone of both stories. Both Lauren and Abby are giving as good as they get sexually and emotionally because I love that battle where the heroine challenges the hero on every level, including the one where he’s most alpha, making him dig deep and find strength and love he didn’t know he had. Which means she has to be strong. Tough. Resilient. Loving and passionate and compassionate, too, but so incredibly strong. Yes, he’ll care for her, body and soul, for the rest of her life, and yes, he’s Marine-tough and can bring it in bed, but the heart of their relationship is her strength complementing his. It’s about who they become together, strength to strength, heart to heart.
Enough philosophizing. If you leave a comment pertinent to any of the above, or just saying hello to me, or Lauren, who’s super-sweet to let me stop by her blog, you’ll be entered to win a copy of my Raine Latimer release ON THE EDGE. I’ll pick two later in the week. Thanks for stopping by!