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The Knight Post: Why Do We Read Romance?
Author Tip of the Month: Annie Jones
The Informer: The Mysteries of Romance, or Making Your Couple Work for It
 by Nephele Tempest
Agent Round Table: The Most Essential Element in a Successful Romance
  • Sheila Turnage's THREE TIMES LUCKY won a prestigious Newbery Honor and debuted on the New York Times children's bestseller list at #9.
  • GLASS HOUSES by Rachel Caine was voted the #1 most popular book by a poll of 300,000 UK schoolchildren.
  • N. K. Jemisin was featured in Poets & Writers with Alice Walker and others discussing African-American literary contributions.


Open book with pages shaped into a heartWe're taking a break from our usual format to ask you, Dear Reader, one very important question: Why do you read romance? If you ask different people, you'll get wildly varying answers. However, there's no difference of opinion regarding the formidable buying power of romance readers. According to statistics from Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2012 shared on the Romance Writers of America Web site, romance fiction generated more than $1.3 billion in sales last year. It also held the largest share of the U.S. consumer market in 2011 at 14.3 percent.

So how do writers manage to make us fork over so many of our hard-earned dollars? Below, several romance authors offer their opinions in 140 characters or less. We invite you to join a larger conversation on Twitter happening now under the hashtag #WhyReadRomance. Fly your romance flag proudly on the "Day of Love"!

Gena Showalter, author of BEAUTY AWAKENED: I can have as many book boyfriends as I want, and it’s not cheating!

Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of ISN'T IT BROMANTIC?: Because no matter what people say about Romance, we all want it in our lives.

Leigh Evans, author of THE TROUBLE WITH FATE: Because you can never get enough first kisses.

Chloe Neill, author of HOUSE RULES: To remind me that love truly conquers.

Nalini Singh, author of TANGLE OF NEED: Because no matter what, there is always hope.

Robin D. Owens, author of FERAL MAGIC: Because sometimes I need to escape into another world with a fantasy guy.

Don't forget to join us on Twitter using the #WhyReadRomance hashtag. We'll be talking about our true lovesbooksall day via @KnightAgency. Plus, check out our Pinterest board and Tumblr for book cover-inspired answers to the question of the day. Por ejemplo:

Sizzle by Katherine Garbera. #WhyReadRomance



Eve Langlais: Website | Facebook
Rod Belcher: Website | Twitter | Facebook

  • Sara Lunsford's SWEET HELL ON FIRE: A MEMOIR OF THE PRISON I WORKED IN AND THE PRISON I LIVED IN, the true story of the author's time as a corrections officer in a maximum security prison for men, to CBS Television Studios with Kennedy/Marshall (Lincoln, The Bourne Legacy) producing, by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Deidre Knight.
  • Sandra Steffen's BRIDE FOR A NIGHT, the continuation of the author's Round The Clock Brides series, to Charles Griemsman at Harlequin Special Edition, in a two-book deal, by Melissa Jeglinski.
  • Katherine Garbera's Holiday Inn Series, where vacationing singles find the fire isn't the only thing heating them up during their holiday stays at the Snowy Lodge Resort, to Kathryn Lye at Harlequin Blaze, in a three-book good deal, by Pamela Harty.
  • Lisa Childs's Shotgun Weddings, a new series featuring bodyguard brothers who protect the innocent while dealing with their matchmaking mother, to Tara Gavin at Harlequin Intrigue, in a three-book nice deal, by Melissa Jeglinski.
  • Rita Award–winning author Robin Owens's Ghostlayer series, about an edgy lawman whose leg and life have been shattered and an uptight accountant who's inherited a psychic "gift" along with a fortune and the ghosts of Old West gunmen, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a three-book nice deal, by Deidre Knight.
  • Joey Hill's four erotic romance novellas, to Wendy McCurdy at Intermix, in a nice deal, by Deidre Knight.
  • Lauralyn Thompson writing as Z. A. Maxfield's Cowboy Heart series, in which the unexpected arrival of a new young ranch hand forces three tough, world-weary wranglers to search their hearts and see if they have room enough for love, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a two-book nice deal, by Deidre Knight.
Sales Roundup is a selective sampling of TKA's deals for the past month. For more info on our recent sales, visit

  • Three Times Lucky by Melissa JeglinskiSheila Turnage's THREE TIMES LUCKY won a Newbery Honor, presented by the Association for Library Service to Children. THREE TIMES LUCKY was also nominated for an Edgar Award, and has captured spots on the Best of 2012 lists for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Public Library, Booklist, BookPage, Kirkus Reviews, Newsday, and Publishers Weekly. The book is currently #9 on the New York Times children's bestseller list.
  • Nalini Singh was featured on the February cover of the German magazine Love Letter.
  • Lauren Baratz-Logsted, author of  THE BRO-MAGNET and its follow-up ISN'T IT BROMANTIC?, wrote a guest column in USA Today about how she never set out to write romances.
  • USA Today recommended Chloe Neill’s HOUSE RULES in their Happily Ever After feature.
  • In a well-publicized poll of over 300,000 schoolchildren in the UK, Rachel Caine’s GLASS HOUSES was voted the #1 most popular book, beating out the Twilight series and Harry Potter.
  • Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock made Barnes & Noble’s List of Top Ten Butt-Kicking Heroines.
  • N. K. Jemisin was featured in Poets & Writers with Alice Walker and others discussing African-American literary contributions. 
  • Monica McKayhan's latest young adult book AMBITIOUS was included on the American Library Association's 2013 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list.


Bundle of Joy by Annie JonesAnnie Jones is the author of BUNDLE OF JOY, an inspirational romance about a former Dallas detective who discovers an abandoned newborn child and a woman looking for a fresh start.

TIP: Don't let negative reviews run roughshod over you. It's gonna happen, so look at it as a sign that you are getting wide exposure. I always say, if everybody likes my books, then not enough people are reading them.



The Mysteries of Romance, or Making Your Couple Work for It by Nephele Tempest

Agent Nephele TempestFans of the modern romance novel have high expectations when it comes to their favorite books. They want the dashing hero, the smart-and-spunky heroine, the ups and downs of the romantic journey, and finally that all-important happily ever after. But not all romances end well, with the couple riding off into the sunset or at least to the nearest wedding chapel. Plenty of romantic literature features tragic endings, with true love thwarted by family or circumstance or death. Are those couples any less romantic for their inability to unite forever? For every lover of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy or Jane and Mr. Rochester, there is someone who adores Catherine and Heathcliff or Romeo and Juliet.
Whether it’s a matter of personal preference or just the mood you happen to be in, there’s a major difference between reading a love story to find out how a couple ends up together and reading to see if they do end up together. It can be reassuring to know that the hero will win the heroine over, no matter how impossible it seems along the way, almost like rereading a favorite book where you know the end and can just sit back and enjoy the details. Other days call for a good cry, for the cathartic experience of falling in love right along with the hero and heroine, even if their relationship is doomed to fail.
But even a guaranteed happily ever after should never feel like a foregone conclusion. The key to the best romances is keeping the reader guessing. You may know that your couple will make it in the end, and the reader might assume so based on the genre, but in the thick of the story, there needs to be that niggling sense of doubt. Somewhere along the way, you as the author have to convince your reader that the obstacles your couple faces might ultimately overwhelm them. You need to put your reader on the edge of their seat, anxious to see how it all turns out because they simply cannot see the road to a happy ending.
Keep your obstacles believable. Give your couple real challenges to overcome in order to be together, and make sure there is an actual possibility that things will not work out for them.
Layer on the problems. Even if there is one major obstacle standing between your couple and happily ever after, you can still add additional, smaller issues to trip them up. These lesser challenges can add up to real difficulties, or can serve as a distraction, taking them away from the more major issue—perhaps until it’s almost too late.
Avoid clichéd or easily resolved means of keeping your couple apart. If your characters’ obstacles can be resolved through a simple conversation, or a lucky coincidence, they won’t hold up to tough reader scrutiny.
Take a page from unhappy endings. Read your favorite tragic romances and pinpoint the moments when the tide turns, making a happily ever after impossible. How close can you take your couple to a similar point in your own story and still pull them back from the brink?
Whatever sort of romance you write, you want to take your reader along for the ride. Let them lose themselves in your characters and the tension in their relationship; allow them to feel the potential for heartbreak as well as the soaring joys of love. Provide readers with the best the genre has to offer, and they will keep coming back to discover what you have up your sleeve with each book you write.


Question: What is one of the most essential elements of a successful love story that is true in fiction as well as real life? Name one fictional couple that exemplifies this attribute.

DEIDRE KNIGHT: Classic romance couple? How about Duchess and O’Malley the Alley Cat from Arisotcats? Farfetched, you say? Those are cartoon animals, you scoff? Well, doesn’t this sound like the recipe for a romance novel? In Paris, a down-on-her-luck blueblood winds up stranded and on her own—with her children to care for—until a rough-edged hero saves the day.  And wins her heart.  But he must decide if he’s really willing to settle down from his tomcat lifestyle and be a dependable family man.  Like every classic romance, the duo confronts commitment, acceptance of the other—even their differences—and lets love rule their hearts.
NEPHELE TEMPEST: I think good communication is one of the most essential elements of a successful love story, both in fiction and reality. It's one of the reasons we get so frustrated with couples kept apart by a simple inability to have a conversation. How often do you read a book or watch a film and feel like screaming at the couple to just go talk to each other? Often a conversation or phone call or letter that reveals how one person feels about the other serves as a fabulous turning-point on which to build a real relationship. It signals an end (or at least a first step in the right direction) to misunderstandings and game playing. A perfect example is Elizabeth and Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. When Darcy proposes the first time and Elizabeth refuses him, she gives him a list of her beliefs and perceptions that have served to form her opinion of him; he, in turn, writes a letter of explanation to give her his side of the story. There is no instant fix, but it provides each of them with a glimpse into how they appear to the other, making them aware of their behavior going forward, and serves as an honest foundation for their feelings.

LUCIENNE DIVER: I think it’s most essential that the reader become totally swept up in the story, which means that there has to be something intrinsic within both the hero and heroine that the reader identifies with and is attracted to.  Neither can be perfect, of course—who is?  But each should have something that draws the reader even as it attracts their match.  We don’t simply want to read the story; we want to become one of the main characters and live vicariously through their emotional ride and the rush of new love.

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