Shannon here: Leeann Betts shares how she keeps readers begging for romance in her mystery series. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy of her latest Mystery, Heavier Than Broken Hearts, reader’s choice of e-book or print (U.S. only). Deadline: July 3rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Leeann:
Romance in a Series
We’ve all read stories with a romance element: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. At some point, we despair of them ever overcoming the obstacle or the differences that are doomed to keep them apart, and then—hurray! They talk, they make up, they look for their happily ever after. Romance, whether a sub-plot in a story, or the central point of the tale, is something we all understand to one degree or another, which is what makes it such a universal draw as readers. And, of course, it’s probably the one story type where we can all agree on the ending—happy, or at least the promise of happy.
But in a series, the romance element becomes a little trickier to handle, particularly if the heroine and hero are the same characters throughout the series. One way to overcome this little detail is to have the couple already married when the series begins or shortly thereafter. For those who’ve entered into matrimony, we know that eternal happiness isn’t a guarantee once the wedding is over, and that it takes a lot of work to keep things running smoothly. Enter opportunities for the characters to move closer, then to need distance, reconciling as the series progresses.
Another way to create romantic tension which we all love is to almost get the characters to the altar, then drop in a huge problem that keeps them apart for several books, and perhaps have their loves touch like butterfly kisses occasionally through the series.
In Heavier Than Broken Hearts, my heroine, Margie Hanson, and my hero, Ed Logan, have been unofficially dating over the previous two books. In the first book of the series, while there is mild interest and flirtation, neither thinks anything will come of anything. Plus, Grandma Carly Turnquist, heroine of my previous series, “By the Numbers”, is on the scene squelching any of Cupid’s darts.
However, in the second book, as Margie and Ed work together solving mysteries, they find they share several interests, creating a stronger bond between them. However, both are shy and inexperienced when it comes to male-female relationships. Plus, both have chosen chastity until marriage, and they recognize that moving too quickly in the physical before strengthening the emotional will create problems.
In this, the third in the series, Margie and Ed find themselves drawn together more and more. They wonder if they’re reading too much into the other’s words, actions, and attentions. Ed thinks maybe the time is right to pop the question as they’ve been seeing each other for about a year, but he’s not quite certain what the question even should be. As for Margie, she’d like to know where she stands with him. Are they exclusive? As far as she’s concerned, they are.
But when Ed stands her up for a date and she can’t get a response from him, she isn’t so certain. Maybe she’s making a fool of herself.
As always, a mystery or two threatens to drive them apart even as it pulls them together through the bookstore and his police work. Threats to Margie’s health and safety concern Ed, much like they worried Mike, Grandma Carly’s husband.
So as Margie and Ed take their relationship slow and easy, we’ll see how their romance will play out over the course of the series. Stay tuned for the release on June 30th.
About Leeann: Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, Pikes Peak Writers, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.
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About the book – Heavier Than Broken Hearts:
Dead men are heavier than broken hearts—at least according to Philip Marlowe, the legendary detective. Margie Hanson discovers a copy of “The Big Sleep” in a box lot of books at an estate sale, and she snags it to sell in her bookstore, along with a spice rack and spices for her kitchen. At home, she discovers neither is what she first thought. Can she solve these two mysteries before somebody succeeds in snuffing her permanently?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Get your copy now! Heavier Than Broken Hearts – Amazon
Interested in Leeann’s other titles?
Question for Readers: This series features a librarian-turned-mystery-bookstore owner. As a result, the titles will be drawn from famous quotations by fictional detectives. Who is your favorite fictional detective and what is one of his/her/their best lines?
Come back June 29th for Candace West!