Hi everyone, A very Happy Valentine’s Day.
On this special day of romance, I have here the lovely Aarti V Raman to share about her favourite books to read and how she fell in love with them.
So without delay, over to Aarti.
How I Fell For Trope-y Romances.
The arrogant billionaire. The brooding boss. The virgin secretary. The betrayed wife. The secret baby. The ugly duckling turned into beautiful swan. The lover she can’t forget. The best friend who becomes so much more. The marriage of convenient revenge.
For those familiar with category romances (Mills and Boon and Harlequin, to be precise) these words will sound like home. After all, any romance lover worth their salt has consumed the case of the brooding arrogant billionaire who blackmails his innocent (read sexually inexperienced) secretary into becoming his wife because her brother steals his patented video game. (I JUST MADE THAT UP!) Of course, then they have mind blowing sex and intense revelations that lead to their happy ever after, because romance.
Romantic tropes are God’s blood for romance writers. It is our personal playground. Our heaven and hell. Because the trick to writing good, nay, great romance is to ‘subvert the trope’ without losing its essence. And, trust me when I say this, it is Mission Impossible on the worst days.
Now let’s go back in time, to when I was a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, extremely lazy student who snuck novels into her textbooks and read them. I have always talked about how Sidney Sheldon’s Nothing Lasts Forever was my introduction to adult books, to truly great writing and plotting at age 10.
But, my first brush with trope-y Mills and Boon romance was a little gem of a book called Don’t Fence Me In by the esteemed Kathleen Korbel. It was an early nineties love story but it subverted all the tropes, people.
Picture this. A famous Hollywood superstar has burned out and wants to hide out in his cattle ranch in mega-rural Wyoming/Montana/Missouri/Colorado till he figures out his next move. He wears a bushy beard and contacts to hide who truly is. The heroine is his competent ranch manager. A single mom with a gifted child. A snarky redhead. A spectacular horsewoman. And, like basically, kickass.
Sparks fly when the drunk ranch owner shows up unannounced and wants to see how the place works. Can the Hollywood superstar win the heart of the small town cowgirl or will it be curtains close for these two sweet peeps before opening night?
Don’t Fence Me In worked for me on so many freaking levels that I immediately went to our local secondhand book shop (this was pre-smartphones so I actually READ the books) and devoured all the Mills and Boon romances and well, it was the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship that lasts till today.
Don’t is a classic example of trope subversion – a cowboy romance coupled with fish out of water and the ever-classic small town and city mouse. But, here the heroine is the cowgirl, the hero falls on his ass when he tries to rope a steer! The heroine is adorably small town and still worldly wise for never having been outside of the continental United States. Their pasts are addressed neatly and the dialog is sparkly. And, Noah Campbell is SUCH A DECENT guy for being a Hollywood top dog, I can’t stress this enough. Oh and if all this isn’t too much, there’s a cattle ranch mystery to solve too!
All in all, Don’t Fence Me In and other great category romances will basically do this – put you in the world of a wonderful, universal love story and still shake up your world view just a little. All with a guaranteed happily ever after and oodles of smexy scenes.
It’s why I love reading them. And why it is my personal privilege and honor to write tropey romances.
Wishing everyone a very tropey, gooey, HAPPY Valentine’s Day!
Aarti V Raman lives in Mumbai, India and has been a commercial editor and business journalist for the better part of a decade.
She is an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing Happily Ever After to life for the characters in her head. She has three traditionally published novels out, all contemporary romances from 2014-2016, with the next one slated for release in 2019.
She currently writes and self-publishes steamy contemporary romance for urban millennials with a global twist. Sometimes, there are guns and car chases too.
Her new contemporary romance series include GEEKS OF CALTECH and ROYALS OF STELLANGARD as well as standalone romances – all of which have become Amazon India and US bestsellers.
She has also appeared as speaker at lit festivals and events around India and also dabbles in poetry, while conducting creative writing workshops.
Thank you, Aarti. Now let’s take a look at her new book. Congrats, Aarti on the lovely cover.