Archive for March 13th, 2013

I’ve been reading romance novels for a long time. Over the years, I’ve heard the complaint (largely from the Y-chromosome population, I’d wager) that romance novels give women unrealistic expectations about relationships. I said hogwash. And then I wrote a romance novel about it.

VJ, the heroine in The Things She Says has read a lot of romance novels too and it was no accident the perfect hero for her is straight from the pages of her favorite books. Kris is moody, artistic, sexy and let’s don’t forget Greek. Okay, I did kind of pile it on. J

But my intent was to explore common romance novel themes and really hash out what’s so “unrealistic” about happily ever after. When VJ meets Kris and talks him into helping her escape the small town she’s stuck in, they embark on a long road trip. What better environment to highlight the differences in how men and women view relationships than nine hours in the car with someone who makes your toes tingle?

Hash it out, they do.

“How long have you and Kyla been together?” VJ asked.

Back to that again. “I don’t know.” He tapped the steering wheel with restless fingers. “I don’t pay attention to stuff like that.”

“You don’t celebrate anniversaries?”

“There’s more than one?”

“Anniversary of your first date, anniversary of your first kiss. The first time you made love, the first time you…” She trailed off as he raised an eyebrow. “What?”

Nobody kept track of those milestones.

VJ realizes during their conversation that they have very different worldviews on everything, especially relationships. She offers to teach Kris about romance, as she’s gleaned from her novels, and he agrees, only because he finds the subject amusing. Until the things she says start to dig into his emotional wounds and he tries to put on the brakes.

“This is all fascinating. But I don’t believe in fairy tales.”

“Who said anything about fairy tales?” VJ countered. He didn’t believe in romance. And she was going to change his mind. “Romance novels are not fairy tales. I’m talking about real life.”

“Whose real life? Yours?”

“Sure. One day.”


Of course, VJ’s “romance instruction” continues through the course of their story until…well, you have to read it for yourself! But I’ll share a small hint—Kris teaches her a few things as well.

In the end, they both earn a happily ever after by examining their own flaws and growing into a person worthy of the other. I don’t consider this a spoiler. It’s the basis for all romance novels…and all real relationships. Because shouldn’t we (women AND men) expect love to make us better than we were?

What do you think? Are romance novels a reflection of real relationships or escapist fantasy?

Now go read The Things She Says and then visit me at http://katcantrell.com/ to let me know how I did at dissecting the romance arc.

I’ll give away a print copy of The Things She Says to a US resident or a digital copy to anyone. Your choice. Answer the above question in the comments to win!! Good luck and thanks for hanging out with me today. J

THE THINGS SHE SAYS: eHarlequin |Amazon | Barnes&Noble


The Things She Says CoverHer knight in a shining yellow Ferrari

One wrong turn on a Texas highway and heartthrob director Kristian Demetrious is breaking his first rule: don’t get involved. Beautiful, sassy VJ Lewis needs his help—and a ride to Dallas. Kris wants to give her both….

Yet his career depends on arriving without giving in to the passion VJ ignites in him. And denying temptation gets harder with every mile. VJ insists the heart of a hero beats beneath Kris’s suave exterior—and she intends to prove it, one hands-on lesson at a time. Suddenly this road trip is taking a whole new direction….

Bio: Kat read her first Harlequin novel in third grade and has been scribbling in notebooks since she learned to spell. What else would she write but romance? She majored in Literature, officially with the intent to teach, but somehow ended up buried in middle management at Corporate America, Inc.

Kat became a stay-at-home mom and devoted nap time to writing. After many thousands of words, her dream of publication finally came true. When she’s not writing about characters on the journey to happily ever after, she can be found at a soccer game, watching Friends or dancing with her kids to Duran Duran and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Kat, her husband and their two boys live in North Texas. She’s a proud member of Romance Writers of America®. Kat was the 2011 Harlequin So You Think You Can Write winner and a 2012 RWA® Golden Heart® finalist for best unpublished series contemporary manuscript. She’s represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Agency.

Follow Kat on Facebook and Twitter.

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