Alyssa: I’m so excited to welcome back Vanessa Kelly! Er… V.K. Sykes! Er…Well, read on, and discover what it’s like to write in two genres, under two names, with both having a book birthday on the same day!
Hi, Alyssa! My thanks to you and the ladies for welcoming me back to Embracing Romance. I’m Vanessa Kelly, and I write historical romance. My latest series is called The Renegade Royals, and book four hits the shelves next week. HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER features my first Highlander hero. Fun, and very Outlanderish of me, don’t you think? And, yes, I did think a lot about Jamie Fraser when I wrote it. **wink**
But I’m not only Vanessa Kelly. I’m also VK Sykes, and I write contemporary romance with my hubby. We also have a new book coming out next week. It’s called SUMMER AT THE SHORE, and it’s the second book in our Seashell Bay Series, set on a small island off the coast of Maine. Think sunshine, beaches, boats, 4th of July festivities, a whole of romance, and you’ll get the drift.
Okay, but having both books out on the SAME DAY? Fun, I must admit, but also kind of crazy making. I’m beginning to feel like I have whiplash as I flip from one book to the other! That sense of whiplash can also carry over into the writing process. So I thought I’d talk about what it’s like to be working on a historical and a contemporary romance at the same time.
Heroes: Similarities? Alpha male heroes all the way, for both series. Differences? I can definitely lean harder into the rake/bad boy type in the historical romances than I can in the contemporary/small town romances. Too much rakish or roguish behavior in the small town romances and the guy just comes off like a jerk. Rakes, however, are very much a part of Regency romance conventions (and the time period, too).
Heroines: Similarities? I like strong, confident heroines, period (so does hubby). Differences? I find it easier to develop a contemporary heroine. There has to be some kind of realism in the way I portray my historical heroines, which means she’s not going to be a lawyer or a police detective or go off to university to pursue a stellar career as a mathematician. But it’s also fun and challenging to play with the conventions of the historical period and try to work around them in a believable way.
Dialogue: WAY easier for contemporary romance. Writing dialogue for a story set two hundred years in the past means trying to catch the proper cadences without sounding stilted or weird, or using terms most readers won’t know. Plus, the profanity issue. Sometimes a good cuss word just works in dialogue, and it’s easier to do that with contemporary romance. My historical heroines are likely not going to drop the f-bomb.
Descriptions: Similarities? I think readers like evocative descriptions that convey a sense of mood and place, regardless of what genre they’re reading. Differences? In contemporary romance, descriptions can often be shorter and more pointed, since we know what we’re talking about. In historical settings it’s a balance between describing a thing or place that might not be familiar to the reader but also not going overboard. For instance, readers generally don’t need to know every step of lighting a fire in Regency times, but you might want to say a bit more than, “she lit a fire.” After all, we read historical fiction to revel in that sense of otherness or exoticism.
Sex: **sob** The virginity issue. Most of my historical heroines are virgins because they’re young, unmarried ladies who also lack an extensive vocabulary when it comes to sex (which makes sex scenes from their point of view a challenge). Plus, it takes longer to get my historical characters into bed together. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes I just want to scream: Get on with it!!
Even though I want to tear my hair out some days as I flip back and forth between manuscripts, it’s also pretty darn invigorating. Navigating my way through all the different conventions of the genres can keep things fresh, even after several years of doing this. I’ll tell you one thing—I never get bored!
Do you read different romance genres? If so, do you sometimes find it hard or disconcerting to flip between them? One person who comments will win a copy of both MEET ME AT THE BEACH (Seashell Bay 1) and HOW TO PLAN A WEDDING FOR A ROYAL SPY (Renegade Royals 3).
BTW, the introductory novella in my Renegade Royals Series, LOST IN A ROYAL KISS, is currently on free at all retailers!
Vanessa Kelly website: www.vanessakellyauthor.com
VK Sykes website: www.vksykes.com
Vanessa Kelly facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessakellyauthor
VK Sykes facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VKSykesBooks
HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER:
At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…
After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…
SUMMER AT THE SHORE:
JUST A SUMMER FLING?
Morgan Merrifield sacrificed her teaching career to try to save her family’s bed-and-breakfast and care for her younger sister. She can’t let herself get distracted by Ryan Butler. After all, the rugged ex-Special Forces soldier is only in Seashell Bay for the summer. But her longtime crush soon flares into real desire-and with one irresistible kiss, she’s swept away.
Ryan values his freedom. As much as he wants Morgan, he’s not ready to settle down with anyone, much less in sleepy Seashell Bay. But his code of honor doesn’t allow him to leave a woman in distress-and she’s in desperate need of help to fix the inn. It only takes one day working under the same roof and Ryan is already hoping for a lifetime of hot summer nights . . .