Archive for January 14th, 2009


Any man in London would worship her. Yet Olivia is, quite frankly, bored of them all. Despite her many dalliances, she’s never felt true passion, never longed for any lover’s touch . . . until Julian, London’s most notoriously wanton rake, decided to make her his mistress.

From the moment he first saw her, Julian knew he must possess her. And when he discovers her greatest secret, a scandal that could ruin her reputation and end her career, he knows just the way to use this damaging information to his most delightful advantage. He offers Olivia a deal with the devil: he’ll keep her secret . . . if she allows him the chance to show her true ecstasy.

But Olivia must be careful, for Julian has a secret of his own: he will not rest until she is completely, shamelessly his.

As a long-time romance reader, I love an over-the-top plot. I was brought up on gothics and historical romances brimming with derring-do and melodrama. I even like the plots of ballets and operas – and you don’t get much more melodramatic than those.

Kidnappings and disguises and stolen babies and twins separated at birth and…

You know the drill.

Both my first books, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and UNTOUCHED, feature kidnappings as major plot points. Not to mention other dramatic elements that have been staples of the romance genre since Cinderella was a pup.

As a reader, if I believe in the characters and their world, anything goes when it comes to action. Because let’s face it, melodramatic things DO happen in real life even if not every day.

I actually think melodrama used well can add an enormous dose of energy to a story. I know romance comes in many varieties, but there’s something to be said for those big, grand, sweeping stories that feature larger than life characters doing larger than life things. I believe that’s one of the reasons historicals have remained so popular over the years. Styles of historicals may change but that “swept into another, more vivid world” factor still works a treat.

However, my third historical romance for Avon, TEMPT THE DEVIL, which came out this month, doesn’t rely on melodramatic elements for its plot. Which I found rather scary as I was writing it.

The story is about a relationship between two people. There is no villain against whom the protagonists must unite in order to prevail. All the difficulties are either internal (past tragedies, complex contradictory emotions, mistrust, fear) or come from the expectations of society and family. All quite realistic, actually, even if the story is set in the familiar glittering world of Regency high life.

The intensity – the drama, desperation and desire of the title – had to come from the power of the emotion between Julian Southwood, Earl of Erith, and his mistress Olivia Raines, London’s most notorious courtesan. All the conflict stemmed from the clash of these two strong characters as they battled each other and an overwhelming and unwelcome love.

This made it a tremendously interesting experience to write the book! There were times when I would have given my right arm for a good old kidnapping!

So I’m interested – does your favorite romance include melodramatic elements? My pick of the answers wins a signed copy of TEMPT THE DEVIL (guaranteed, nobody gets kidnapped!). Good luck!

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