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!