A-Z

F is for…

 

Another day, another letter. Today, F is for…

 

 

Flirting…

Most of the time, flirting happens naturally. We see someone we’re attracted to, and try and get their attention and to get them to like us back. Sometimes, flirting can be quite calculated; a way to get attention transferred from someone else to yourself. But, this is very often noticed and ignored.

I really like writing flirting, particularly the awkward first meeting kind of flirting. In It Started in Texas, Charlotte and Gage bump into each other in a bar – literally. I really had fun writing their interaction. Usually, I worry when I’m writing dialogue that it reads as wooden and bland, but I never had that with this scene. It was flirty and awkward, plus they were seen by Charlotte’s friend which added something extra.

Whereas the flirting between Heidi and Shane was very different in The One That Got Away because of their history. It was more personal and catered to them specifically in trying to turn the other on – especially at the reunion. Both of them were saying things to get a reaction from the other, seeing how far they could go with it. That was fun to write too because it came across as a little naughty and pushing limits of flirting almost into foreplay.

The flirting in Mile High was different again, because it started off as an intense dislike on Tarryn’s side of the ‘relationship’, and it eventuually let to a very different place to anything else I’ve ever written.

Flirting can also be very embarrassing. I’m a voracious people watcher, and once watched a guy trying to flirt with a girl in a pub, and fail dismally.

So, in your comments, I’d love to hear about your flirting disasters!

E is for…

 

Day… I actually think I messed up yesterday, and now I’ve lost count. That sounds just like me. Let’s just get down to business…

 

 

Most people I know (and it’s common in books, films, TV show, etc), wen they have a relationship break up, there’s a lot of animosity between them, and their now, ex. I can understand if infidelity or some form of abuse is involved, that someone would want nothing to do with that ex, but what about those relationships that simply drifted apart?

I’m lucky. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen out with an ex, and am still in contact with some twenty years later, albeit, distant friends via the interwebz.

In books, there’s always that ‘I need to show my ex what s/he is missing’ and I sometime quite enjoy that, but when it’s been overdone, it can be very cliche. Second chance romance are some of my favourite books, and when I was writing The One That Got Away, I loved diving into the dynamics of a couple who already knew each other – sometimes intimately, finding one another again.

The word ‘ex’ doesn’t always need to equate to ‘enemy’, especially if a split isn’t acrimonious. An ex can still be a friend, someone with a shared history, even if you have gone down different paths later in life.

In the comments, I’d love to hear about your relationship with an ex, especially the positive ones.

D is for…

 

Day 4, and I’m still winging it on the day… So, shall we get started?

 

 

Dates… something I haven’t done in years considering myself and my partner have been together sine 2001. Even when we do get a rare night out, just the two of us, it’s not really a date, it’s us being able to be adults and not worry about getting up with the kids the next morning.

Everyone has a story about their best and worst date, especially in books. When I was writing Right Click, Love – which is all about dating, I read a lot of articles about bad first dates. I wanted Louise and Jodie to experience some Gd awful dates in their quest to find their ‘Mr Right’. While I was reading, some of the bad dates I read about made me laugh uncontrollably, while others actually made me sad. Why is it that people feel like they can treat someone they have never met like crap the first time they meet?

Every now and then, I post a short over on Wattpad. I follow a Romance account which often posts contests. I saw one for Valentine’s Day. Well, an ‘un-Valentine’s Day’. My short was about a first date that ended up in A&E (The Emergency Room for my non-UK readers).

Dates in books and movies tend to go from one extreme to the other. They’re either absolutely perfect, or downright terrible, but what about those dates that are a bit… bland? Why do they never get attention? Maybe I’ll write one in a book. Dates can be fun to write. The nerves, the build up, and the expectation are fun, but the date itself can be harder to write. It’s not easy to write and get across the awkwardness that so many people feel when the date is getting started.

So… in the comments tell me about a first date that sticks out in your mind, or any date. It can be good, bad, or meh.

C is for…

 

Day 3, and I’m already playing catch up. I suck at advance organisation!

 

 

 

I feel a bit guilty, because while I stole my A-Z list from Clare Dugmore, she’s also written about celebrity crushes today. Go check her post out!

When I do online interviews, one of the most common questions I’m asked is “Where do you get your inspiration from?” You can take this question a couple of ways – story ideas, setting, plot twists, even genre, but today I’m discussing the inspiration behind my characters – specifically, my male characters.

We all have celebrity crushes. Some we’re open about, and others are a guilty secret. I have a few, and none I bother getting embarrassed about anymore. I’m too old, and quite frankly, I don’t care anymore 🙂

 

Image result for jackson rathbone

 

Anyone who knows me, personally or online, knows about my… let’s call it a fascination… with Jackson Rathbone. Ever since I watched Twilight (and read the books), I was smitten with the character of Jasper Hale (I tend to have a thing for secondary characters).

When I wrote It Started in Texas, Jackson was Gage. Even now, when I read anything back, I can only ever picture Jackson. I’ve made no secret of that even though I know other readers see a different picture in their head.

 

 

Zac Levi – Super spy and thief – When I wrote The One That Got Away, it was originally a Twilight fanfiction. It was around 4,000 words long, and it was centered around the scene in the alleyway (If you haven’t read the book yet, don’t say I didn’t warn you), but when I decided I wanted to rework it, I needed to change up my characters, a lot. Zac was kinda in the back of my mind when I was writing about Shane. Not just his looks, but his proud nerdy side (Check out how nerdy Zac can get via Nerd HQ). I gave Shane the occupation I did to show that while he’s a lad’s lad, and a bit of a party boy, he can also be quite serious about stuff.

 

 

This is my latest celeb crush, and I already know he will be inspiring a male character soon. Not for how he looks, but as mentioned in my A is for… post on the 1st April, it’s his unique quirk.

 

 

I want a character with eyes like this – they may not be the same colour, but I WILL have a character with Sectoral Heterchromia. I doubt it’ll even be central to the plot of the story, but I can’t pass this up.

While my celeb crushes are varied (I haven’t mentioned the ones that are FAR too young for me), there is nearly always something about them that ends up in one of my books.

 

Image result for scarlett johansson avengers

 

My main celeb girl crush, and I’ll never attempt to write her as a character because she’s simply too gorgeous, is Scarlet Johanssen – particularly as Black Widow in the Marvel films. I simply couldn’t write a character as badass as Natasha Romanov, and that saddens me!

So… who’s your celeb crush? Leave a comment and I may admit the one I get judged about the most!

 

B is for…

 

Yay, day 2 and I’m a little ahead of myself… have I just jinxed myself? We shall see.

 

 

Friends – to – lovers are some of my favourite romance books. The dynamics of friends and lovers are two completely different things, and when it’s done well, it can be an amazing story. Add MC’s that were Best friends into the mix and it can very quickly become a 5* read for me.

Best friends, especially those who have been friends for years, can be amazing. Writing about platonic friends can be fun as they tend to have so many ‘in’ jokes and a wide shared history. The dialogue can be brilliant, and you have a lot of freedom because these characters know just what buttons to push to get a reaction without taking it that step too far. So, what happens when one of them falls in love with the other? This is a person they know almost as well, if not better, than themselves and they can’t begin to picture themselves with anyone else. They get jealous of new boyfriends/girlfriends because of the time they get to spend with their friend.

Most friends who love their best friend have this internal battle about whether a relationship will ruin their friendship or not. That aspect can be absolutely fascinating to write and read. The war within one person can be hard to fight, especially if they’re scared to tell the other person how they feel. Sometimes they do and it’s wonderful, sometimes it falls apart, and sometimes they keep it to themselves for forever. There’s no hard and fast rule to writing about best friends.

Also, sometimes best friends are just that, and nothing more.

Comment below and give a shout out to your best friend. Mine’s the amazing Sarah. She’s my sounding board, my concert buddy, and my parabatai (yes, a book reference, go me). I would be without her.

 

A is for…

 

Well, it’s day 1 and I’m already behind, so let’s see how I get on. Just a warning… I may not be able to contain my posts to books, but that’s ok, right?

 

 

If there’s one thing I hate in books (and films and TV shows) is insta-love. Yes, attraction can be intense, we’ve all felt it, but is insta-love a real thing?

I know people who believe in love at first sight, and if it’ happened to them I’m pleased for them. Personally, I don’t. I believe in lust at first sight. You know, when you walk into a party, or a club, or an ice rink and spot someone that just by from how they hold themselves, walk, smile… you want to get to know them better. In that split second moment, you are undeniably attracted to that person.

So, you go over, introduce yourself – now here’s where things can get tricky.

  • Option A – Person you admired from afar is wonderful. You spend the rest of the evening talking and laughing and by the end of the night (or the next morning, depends how lucky or drunk you are), you realise that this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. They are THE ONE. That’s wonderful, all systems go, and have at it
  • Option B – Person who caught your eye turns out to a complete loser. They end up spending the entire time talking about themselves, their ex, or worse, talking down to you. You end up making an excuse to get away from them and end up spending the rest of the evening hiding from them the way Herminone runs away from Cormac McLaggen in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Let’s be honest, we’ve all experience both of these scenarios, but what does that have to do with a romance novel?

A lot of books follow the “Oh my god s/he is gorgeous, I love them” vein of story. And while it works for a lot of stories, after a while it gets old… fast. Or so i think anyway. Yes, you can have a connection to someone as soon as you meet them, yes you can be highly turned on by them, and yes, you can want to sleep with them, but is it love? Honestly, I doubt it.

In my books, the attraction between my main characters is always there from the start (Except in Just Like in the Movies – Ava hated Morgan from the get go, despite how good looking he is). I like writing the chase and the build up to a relationship. It’s that and the getting to know one another I love to write about.

So, what’s your favourite thing about attraction in books? The chase, the build up, or insta-love. Please, leave me a comment and tell me, I’m honestly interested.