Being Different

Okay so I’m going to say straight up that I have no idea what constitutes ‘different’. Actually, no, I do have some idea, but whether my idea squares with an editors idea is something that hasn’t been determined yet…

Um, no, that’s not quite right either. So far my idea of different has NOT squared yet. In fact, I have been tarred with the cliche brush. Purely my own fault. Note to self: Do not have the hero make the heroine come to work for him unless it’s part of his character and NOT just because I wanted them in proximity to each other…

Ahem. So anyway, different. I think a really good example of this is Maisey’s latest release. Yes, this is a small plug for my lovely CP (BUYBUYBUYBUY), but it’s also because it’s got a different hero who has a very contentious (for romance readers) conflict.
For a start, in the The Highest Price To Pay the hero is black. The first Presents/Modern black hero. AND, what’s more, he’s black on the cover of the UK edition. Considering they hardly ever feature blonde heroes on the covers, having a very obviously black hero on the cover is a fantastic move. Now, he also has a conflict that is very different too. Different in that it’s a thorny one, I think, for romance readers. I won’t give it away by telling you what it is but it’s one that I think is difficult to pull off and yet, IMHO, Maisey manages it.
The story itself is still very Presents – hero is alpha, the settings are glamorous, the heroine is strong and glam too. All the elements that make Presents what it is are there, but with just that little bit of difference.

Being different in category romance – hell, in all romance! – is really hard to pull off in my opinion. But not impossible. The trick is, I think, to not go overboard. Don’t make your Presents hero a secret alien in disguise. They may never have had an alien/werewolf/vampire hero in Presents but that doesn’t mean they’re going to start doing it now! Be different in ways that are a little bit outside the box but not so much that you crush the box entirely. And it MUST be in character. Otherwise it’s not going to work.

Anyone read a romance lately that you found different? What was it about it that was different?

BTW, I realise I am late with my Ask Dr Jax post so if you have any conflict questions, let me know!

16 thoughts on “Being Different”

  1. Hey Jax,

    Here’s to being different!!!! 🙂 And wishing Maisey has bucketloads of sales 😉

    Btw, that you mention it, I don’t really recall reading any book that caught my eye in a “different” sense.. but then it’s been a while since I really went on a reading binge… Maybe it’s time to go into one 😉 LOL!

  2. Ivé barely been reading books lately – not cos I don’t want too but time has been spent on writing to try and finish The Book That Won’t End – so can’t think of a particularly different one, but just wanted to say I AM SO READING THIS BOOK!!!!!!

  3. Maisey’s latest is on my radar to read asap. I’ve been checking out the shelves to see when it’s out. Thanks for sharing. Caroline x

  4. Ju – I can recommend a reading binge. I should go on one myself!

    Rach – yes, I know that feeling. I’m trying to finish the Chessman and that won’t end either!

    Caroline – it’s excellent so keep looking. 🙂

  5. I love that little surprise when something happens in a book that you aren’t expecting. It’s tricky to be different, but not so out there that it’s ridiculous. If you figure out the formula for that, let me know!

  6. I haven’t read any romances with a difference recently, but you’ve certainly made me keen to try write one, Jackie! I’ve just finished reading Maisey’s The Inherited Bride and absolutely loved it – will definitely be getting her newest release!

  7. Madeline – hey there! I’ve been trying to do different for a while now – sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. So far it hasn’t. 🙂 One day though! *waves fist* Yep, IB is a good one isn’t it?

  8. DON’T have a hero that’s a secret alien in surprise? *Deletes WIP*

    Am I joking? You’ll never know 😉

    Maisey’s latest hasn’t been released here yet. I may have to order it. I think having a chessman for a hero is different and I love the sound of his conflict. Is he ready to submit? Is he behaving himself?

  9. I did love TIB tons. Such fabulous angst.

    Particularly in catagory romance, different can be a very subtle thing. But when it’s right, it can really make a book special.

  10. Lacey – I know, right?? Who’d have guessed? *whispers* forward that wip to me, I’ll have a read an let you know… 😉 As to the chessman…well, he’s not behaving actually. I need to finish writing it. On the home straight and then I need to figure out where the hell he’s going to go!

    Julia – Yes, indeed, Maisey does do fabulous angst does she not? And I think you’re absolutely spot on – subtle is the key. But how to get it?? Sigh. 🙂

  11. yes i’ve got my eye pealed for Maisey’s book, but seeing as i love the new covers (that don’t come to NZ GR!!) i will have to order it (It’s cheaper that way anyways!!)

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