Little Bird is really excited to present this wonderful conversation between Hazel Robinson, Toya Richardson, and Jo Richardson, three of our very loved Romance authors.
As we head towards February and our truly epic weekend Facebook event, Love Me Do here's a chance to eardrop into a conversation about what it's like to be a romance writer.
We know you'll find it as totally entertaining, interesting and informative as we have.
Before we hand you over, we want to let you know that ALL Three Romance titles are on $0.99 / £0.99 offer until Monday 18th of January, so it's a perfect opportunity to get them downloaded and read before the LOVE ME DO event.
Join the Facebook Event LOVE ME DO
So without further ado, here's introducing you to our fabulous Romance authors.
What’s the biggest challenge to writing romance?
Jo - I'd have to say, coming up with something original - not something that's already been done a thousand times.
Toya - Getting the right level of attraction without going over the top.
Hazel - Totally agree, it's hard finding something original.
Toya - I know so easy to fall into that trap.
Hazel - I think finding the connection between your main characters.
Jo - there are so many romances out there now, it would be difficult to come up with something completely original. It's putting your own personal spin on the story that makes a difference these days.
Hazel - Yes!
Toya - And when you find it you feel like, yes I've done it!
Jo - Totally, Hazel, and making that connection believable.
What are the difficulties to promoting romance?
Hazel - I find this the hardest part it's like standing in a crowded room and everyone shouting at once.
Jo - Time consumption.
Toya - Same with most other genres I guess. It's trying to find those hooks that get the readers' interested.
Jo - Right. And timing, timing, timing.
Toya - So many authors out there trying to the same that it becomes really hard and yes timing.
Jo - Exactly, Toya. How do you stand out in a sea of thousands?
What makes a good main character?
Jo - Good main character (for the male species at least) = Hard candy coating on the outside with a mushy heart that cares more than he'd like to admit on the inside. For some stories, I like them to be bad ass without really even trying to be a bad ass. He just is who he is.
Toya - Someone that you find that connection with. A person you're rooting for right from the start to the very end. personally, I think an author has done a great job if you can't stop thinking about them.
That's exactly it, Jo!
Hazel - Toya you so right! And Jo yes that hard exterior and soft heart that only the women he loves can break.
Jo - RIGHT.
What about your female characters?
Jo - I like a female main character to be able to take care of herself. Or at least be someone who isn't dependent on the male character to "save" her somehow. They should complement each other. And maybe she should save him sometimes.
Hazel - I like a tough cookie! But I also love a woman we can relate to someone with a similar story, I don't like women who are degraded and belittled.
Jo - Right, unless it was from their past and they're a different, stronger person for it somehow.
Toya - I like a strong, sassy character who's that way because her heart has been broken in the past. A woman who's terrified to let anyone in. Then she finds someone she's attracted to and little by little she Ket's her guard down and allows the hero to love her *sigh*
Hazel - Yes! And yes!
How do your romances differ from others in the genre?
Hazel - I follow the 'tragic romance' ATM and it's hard to not follow the masses but with both my stories I try to show the other side of the tragedy - I try to show the light at the end of the tunnel - the new beginning.
Jo - I incorporate humour into the seriousness of a situation almost always. I want to get a point across that might hurt a little, but I want to be able to lessen the pain some with laughter. It's how my family worked, growing up so it's easy for me to think that way.
Hazel - I love that idea Jo.
Toya - I guess I love several dilemmas and cliff hangers that leave the readers saying OMG and wanting more. In romance series that I write there is always a moment when you think, what? You can't leave it like that. But I just tell them I am a romance writer so happily ever after...eventually.
Jo - Also, I don't generally follow the rules of thumb. A happy ending doesn't necessarily mean everything's tied up into a pretty bow at the end of my stories, but there's definitely some sort of happiness going on. Some sort of contentment on both sides.
What is the one romance story that stands out to you most?
Jo - Easy: P.S. I love you has stood out for me for a long time now.
Toya - Any of the books by Lelani Black, because she writes amazingly hot stories incorporating a fab storyline with humour too.
Hazel - A scene in the film Last of the Mohicans - two people who barely spoke two words to each other when he dies and goes over the cliff she throws herself over too! It just gets to me that unspoken love never getting the chance.
Jo - OMG - I remember that moment Hazel. *cries*
Toya - Oh gosh yes I cry everyone at that.
Hazel - Totally gets me every time I watch it.
Jo - The Notebook does that to me too. After I read the story we watched the movie. I started bawling as soon as that first scene pulled across the screen.
Toya - And I guess the greatest love story of all time Romeo and Juliet so tragic.
Jo - Great example of how that one original story has been re-imagined over and over throughout the years.
Ok let's talk SEX scenes - less is more or all in?
Hazel - I have read some that have totally shocked me with the terminology used. Other times I enjoy it when the writer lets you use YOUR imagination not theirs.
Jo - LOL - honestly, I could take them or leave them, as long as the story is good I don't think it's necessarily needed in a romance story. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate them when they're done right, though.
Hazel - I know I much prefer that first kiss to the sex scene.
Jo - YES. and chemistry.
Toya - Depends. I write paranormal romance .I love the sexual tension and slow build up to mind blowing sex,. but it's no good having hot scenes if you don't have a great story to back it up.
Jo - You can write all the sex you want, if I'm not buying into the relationship, it's all for not.
Toya - First kiss is a very important scene and so easy to get wrong.
Hazel - Ye it has to be just right! The pin point to any romance is that very first kiss - I like butterflies in the stomach, tingling skin, hairs on the back of the neck kiss.
Toya - Exactly, to the point you're almost puckering up for that kiss too!!
Jo - LOL right - exactly.
What's your idea of the perfect romance setting?
Hazel - Mine would be an Autumn afternoon in a park on the swings the wind slightly behind them. Holding hands as they swing back and forth. I find something so romantic about Autumn.
Toya - I recently finished a contemporary romance where the couple were married outside the hero's family vineyard at sunset. It was their favourite time of day and on the exact spot where they shared their first kiss.
Jo - I would have to say the perfect setting, is Napa.
Hazel - I have never been, Toya that sound amazing sunset is definitely my second romantic favourite.
Toya - I love the sound of autumn, Hazel. Never been to Napa but my story was set on Waiheke Island off coast of NZ. I went there earlier this year and fell in love with the place. I can also vouch for the magical sunsets.
Jo - Autumn is awesome. Autumn in Napa. Definitely. You all would love it there. Promise.
Toya - There is definitely something about sunsets and sunrises that gets the romance author writing furiously.
Why do romance writers have to fall in love with their characters?
Toya - If the author cannot fall in love with their heroes and heroines, how can they expect a reader to.
Jo - Agreed, Toya. I fall in love with every one of them.
Hazel - Yes I agree Toya, totally.
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They are available in paperback and ebook (Kindle, KOBO, Nook, & iBOOKS
GIVEAWAY - THANKS FOR STOPPING BY
We have up for grabs A paperback copy of each book, A £5 / $5 Amazon gift card and two signed swag packs (1 US and 1 UK)
Just pop a comment in the comment box along with your email address and your entered to win.
*Giveaway winners will be chosen at random on Sunday 14th February and will be announced over on our Romance Facebook Party – Love Me Do, here is the party link
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