Hello! I’m Tabitha Barret and I write the Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance series, The Third Throne. I was thrilled to be invited as a Guest Blogger for Elizabeth! When she contacted me, she told me that she wanted to know why I write romance and what makes a good romance character. It’s a great question, but one that doesn’t have an easy answer. Romance comes in different forms and means different things to different people. Some people think that gifts and dinners are a way to sweep a girl off their feet. Others believe that long walks on the beach and ice cream on the pier are enough to fall in love. I believe that these are just superficial things. They catch a girl’s attention, but it’s not enough to keep a love affair going.
Think about your best date. You were nervous and excited. You put on your best outfit, did your hair and make-up, and smelled like a fresh bouquet. Flash forward a few weeks, months, or a year later and that guy you were so smitten with is long gone. He was rude, or weird, or didn’t want a commitment. Sitting at home, alone, you wonder, what’s wrong with me? Why can’t I get a guy? These are the wrong questions, but we will address them later.
Now, think about your ideal man. Yes, he’s attractive. Yes, he probably makes a good living. Yes, he’s nice and pays attention to you. What happens when you find out that he’s a real person with real problems? He may have the best smile and fastest car, but he has terrible anxiety about his past. Perhaps he has issues with his parents or was bullied as a child. Are you willing to help him get through his anxiety or self-esteem issues? Are you willing to look past his negative issues and see the good qualities in him? Here is where the romance story begins.
Romance novels aren’t about the candy and flowers. They are about someone who believes they aren’t capable of loving someone or being loved. Our bad boy or bad girl believes they have done something terrible or has suffered from a tragedy that has damaged them. This comes in varying degrees depending on the level of bad boy. (You should see the emotional baggage a shifter like a werewolf carries with them.) Once they find a person that is willing to see past their emotional damage, it’s all about redemption.
Let’s get back to the questions of, “Why can’t I get a guy? Is there something wrong with me?” Every person has some kind of emotional trigger, EVERYONE! No matter how confident someone is, there is something that bothers them. They don’t like messy kitchens. They don’t like being social. They don’t like aggressive men/women. They don’t like being alone and crave constant companionship. Everyone has issues. When dating, no one is realistic about these things. They don’t consider the problems their anxiety or their strange quirks might cause someone else. Still, they turn to romance novels and cheer for the bad boy/girl to overcome his/her domineering ways or his/her need to control everything. They cheer for the sympathetic lover to love them no matter what. They want this couple to overcome their problems and learn to love each other. Why? Because everyone craves this in their own lives! Everyone wants to find someone who can accept their flaws and faults, no matter how horrible they are. This is the definition of true romance. It’s not about the superficial sexy smiles and false pleasantries during dinner. Romance is about being redeemed in someone else’s eyes.
Too heavy for you? Of course it is. This why romance novelists choose sexy chiseled men who are bachelor billionaires and sexy sirens who works on Wall Street. We need to dress up the stark reality of the core issue. No one wants to read about a burned-out overweight man who can’t even bother to shower because he is so depressed who finds love at the Dunkin Donuts from the pudgy girl behind the counter with the lazy eye who gives him his coffee every day. We have to jazz up our characters and make them beautiful or turn them into dangerous creatures so that the reader can live out the fantasy of finding such a person. Then we give them what they want by taking the hardest person to love and turning him into the most caring lover possible. The exotic locations and beautiful characters are the window dressing for our miracle love stories. That’s what most readers are looking for when they dive into a romance novel. They, typically, want a happy ending and to know that nothing can break the couple apart.
We give our readers hope that they can find the true love of their life. Will he have a yacht or a mansion? Probably not, but hopefully he can understand why the dark scares you or be willing to help you overcome something dark from your past. These are the kinds of people you want to have a long-lasting romance with. You may not find your prince charming, or wereshifter, but you can find something better if you know what you are really looking for.
Again, thank you for allowing me to share my insight into what makes a great romance. You can check out my website http://www.thethirdthrone.com to learn more about me and my Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance novels!