Let me begin by saying that I love being Jesse Hayworth, and I’m so excited to share the new books with you, starting next month with the e-release of SUNSET AT KEYHOLE CANYON, a novella romance set at Mustang Ridge.
But … (Yeah, you knew the ‘but’ was coming, didn’t you?) while writing the third book set at the ranch, I’m finding that I really, really want to blow something up. Not because I’m bored with these lighter, gentler romances (no way!), but because amping up the danger is a really great way to throw together two people who might otherwise avoid each other, setting us up for sparks to fly.
The third book (title still under discussion) is a reunion romance between the dude ranch’s mastermind, Krista, and the hunky cowboy who broke her heart. Now, I’ve written a lot of reunion romances—first because I love them, and second because it means the characters already know each other’s flaws (or think they do), so I can focus on the plot without spending lots of time on first date-style conversations.
Sounds good, right? Except that I’m now realizing that this works really well when there’s a big, loud plot forcing the characters to work together. In the Nightkeeper books, there is usually a prophecy or some aspect of the magic that makes it imperative for the hero and heroine to team up. In my Intrigues, there’s a mystery to solve and a damsel in distress to protect. Which makes it easier to take two people who really don’t look like they mesh well, and stick them together until they figure out that they actually mesh very (very!) well, indeed.
But … well, what about when we’re not on the brink of apocalypse and there’s no villain to vanquish?
You see, as Book Three and I cautiously circle each other, testing for weaknesses, I’m realizing that I need a different sort of reason for Krista and her ex to team up when it would honestly be easier (and more comfortable) for them to avoid each other. Because I don’t know about you guys, but if I ran across an ex, my first thought wouldn't be, “Hey, we should totally team up to train this mustang.”
Sure, I could use a trope or two: They’re trapped in an elevator! They woke up in Vegas, married! They’ve inherited a place together! The thing is … Krista and her man need something hotter and more intimate, yet at the same time more subtle. And, well, as the author of forty-some “when in doubt, blow sh*t up” books, subtle isn’t exactly my middle name. So I’m pulling on my Big Girl Writer panties and doing some brainstorming, and I’m getting excited all over again at Doing Something New.
So how about you? What new thing have you done recently? What was the best (or worst) reason you’ve come across for a hero and heroine sticking together even though they’re butting heads?