Cookie Cutter Romance Books

posted in: Various Musings | 0

I get it. I do. I understand why it would be comforting to know that a book is going to follow an exact formula. You know this one: Boy meets girl.   Some conflict ensues but they continue to battle whatever troubles come along and, just when it seems that they might not make it, they do. Yay!

In today’s hectic world, I understand the need to get away from it all with a book. I do it, too. Books are a much better escape for me than a movie or television (although I do indulge in those from time to time as well), because, with a book, the entire story plays out in my head and heart, and I feel things more deeply when I’m reading. I’m invested in the story and the characters; if it’s a movie, I’m still a bit of an observer, distanced. Don’t get me wrong—I laugh and cry at movies too, but they don’t go as deep.

Some of you might not have been around to see it, but I was a teenager when the groundbreaking television show Miami Vice aired. There was lots about it that was fresh and different, but what I remember most was that not all episode endings were “happy.” As I recall, some of the episodes ended pretty grimly. The bad guy got away (or got away with something). The show as a whole was dark and gritty—and that’s what I loved about it. So, when my husband and I got married and realized we had both been fans of that show, he figured I wasn’t the kind of girl who needed a happy ending. That’s true, yes, but I’ve also discovered something else about myself over the years. I don’t just want a bleak, dark ending. That’s depressing. (And it’s why, even though I’ve seen parts of it, I can never watch the movie Melancholia from beginning to end.) No…what I need from a story is hope. Even though Gone With the Wind ended with Rhett leaving Scarlett, there was hope. Scarlett herself said, “Tomorrow is another day,” and that meant, to me, that she and Rhett still had a chance. There was hope.  That was all I needed to feel satisfied.

As an author of over forty books (mostly romance), you would think that I devour romance stories. I do read the occasional romance, but I don’t like formula. I really don’t. I hate the feeling that I’ve read something before or that I know exactly where the story is going. And, have no fear, I have always been like that. It has nothing to do with being an author. The books I love without hesitation, the books I would read over and over again, are the ones that are different. Hugely different.

But that also makes me different as an author. I write what I want to read. I think that’s why my bestselling book Bullet has been either adored or despised by readers. It’s different. It turns your expectations upside down. It is NOT a cookie cutter romance. None of my stories are. The key ingredient in these stories is—you guessed it—hope. Maybe the stories don’t begin or end or travel along like you expect or even like you’d want, but I promise you you’ll feel the hope.

If you want formula, there’s plenty of it out there. Literally millions of romance books can be found with one simple tap of your finger. There are thousands upon thousands upon thousands that use the same old formula. I’m not knocking it. As I said at the beginning of this post, I get it. Comfort cannot be overrated and sometimes that’s what you need. You need a safe escape. But if you want different, if you’re tired of reading the same old, same old…I recommend my books. I promise they’ll be emotional, but I also hope they’ll be satisfying. After all, that’s why I began publishing in the first place—to share!

New to my writing? Here are some super non-formulaic books that might get you started:

Bullet – my bestselling book (free on all sites)
Savage – yes, there are zombies…but it’s not what you think.
Got the Life – a heroine unlike one you’ve ever met (also free on all sites)
On the Run – a different kind of rock star romance
To Save Him – an unusual May-December love story

But you don’t have to just take my word for it.  You can see what others have to say here.

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