Tuesday Author Spotlight: Mysti Holiday

3 Things I Want In a Good Romance Story

Everyone is different, that’s a given. But the more I read and write and interact with other readers and writers, the more I realize the amazing difference in what each person likes or doesn’t like in their romance tales. Here’s my list of “musts” for anything I read or write.

1. A happy ending.

It doesn’t have to end with a marriage proposal, or even an “I love you”. But it does have to end with the feeling that the protagonists are going to make a go at a relationship. I HATE a story where I get invested in the characters and then they break up or one of them dies. Here are the facts as I see them:

Riding off into the sunset SUCKS.

And while “Frankly, Scarlett, I don’t give a damn.” is a fabulous line, it’s a terrible ending (though why anyone would want to be with Scarlett, I don’t know – so I really couldn’t blame Rhett).

Romeo and Juliet weren’t romantic, they were stupid (though the play has some fabulous lines). They could have avoided all their drama if they’d just been a smidge more patient and … yanno… TALKED to each other.

When that crap happens? I swear, I’ll burn the book and then burn a picture of the author for good measure and then add them to my list of “I’ll never buy your books again, and will make it my life’s work to tell other people how horrible your story is.” Yes, I’m a little passionate about my happy endings.

2. Sexual tension.

Okay, yeah, I write erotic romance so it’s going to have sex or readers are going to be pissed. But even better than the sex act itself? That delicious anticipation leading up to it. The gut-tugging awareness. The little zings of desire dancing up and down your spine.

:::shivers with delight:::

I love nothing more than to read stories filled with tension and hate when characters meet and then just get it on. Where’s the fun or the romance in that? Draw it out a little. Make the sex a reward, the much anticipated dessert, not the appetizer.

3. Characters who like each other as well as (eventually) love each other.

I can’t buy the stories where the characters spend the entire time screaming at each other (despite their overwhelming attraction for each other) and then end up madly in love at the end. Really? I’m a big believer in people needing to like each other in order to romantically love each other. If not? Then it’s lust, not love.

What about you? What things MUST you have to really enjoy a book? I’d really like to know.

Visit Mysti at her blog or website.

Comments

  1. Thanks in advance to everyone who comments! I’ll be here off and on through the day, and would love to hear from you.

  2. I’m with you Mysti. If I invest in a romance, I expect the characters to find a way to work things out–even if that means they promise to work hard. Heh heh. That really is the most anyone can do anyway.

    And people say romances aren’t realistic.

  3. Yea, what she said!! LOL
    Really, I couldn’t agree more about Gone with the Wind or Romeo and Juliet.
    Happy endings – yes.
    Sexual tension – yes, yes!
    Good post:)

  4. Tarah, the only unrealistic part of romance fiction is probably character appearance (the heroes are usually incredibly handsome, the heroines gorgeous — even if they’re plus sized, they’re still beautiful). Otherwise, yeah, I think they’re right on.

    Jennifer, thanks! I never understood why folks like sad endings. The real world is bad enough. Thanks for visiting!

  5. I agree completely. I want a happy ending in my books and movies. I don’t want to waste my time if at the end I feel depressed.

  6. And I will never see Romeo and Juliet the same way again and you are right, they were stupid. Great interview Mysti.

    Terra

  7. Ingebor, I think real life is depressing enough. Gimme a HEA!!

    Terra, LOL… didn’t mean to ruin “Romeo & Juliet”, but I’ve never found it romantic that they killed themselves (esp. when it all was a misunderstanding and could have been prevented).

  8. I agree with you on your 3 “Musts”. I have many e-books that look like they will have some good sexual tension only to find out that the characters just jump into bed from just a “hi”

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  10. Let me share a life experience.

    I worked with a woman who fought with her boyfriend a LOT. Three years, then they get married. That was…oh…25 years ago…ouch.

    Ran into the husband, who was still a cutie, 3 months ago – father of three and divorced. Why am I not surprised? He was patient, she was high maintanence – he was down to earth and she was fashon conscious and had to have everything new and perfect. He was quiet and she was loud and abrasive.
    Sure they say that opposites attract but sometimes they are as opposite as different sides of a river and never the twain shall meet.

    So .. those fighting heroes and heroines never do it for me because I know in reality, the I LOVE YOU is a lie. It’s not built on a solid foundation.

  11. Heather, yeah — I really hate that who jump into bed thing. It’s something I refuse to write, which makes it interesting for me to write short, erotic romance, lol.

    Michele, that story doesn’t surprise me a bit. And I completely agree.

  12. Yes, I agree, there is a certain author I refuse to read because someone always seems to die at the end. There’s enough unhappy endings and sad things in real life, I don’t need or want them in fiction, too.

    And I also agree, the sexual tension is the absolute best part! (in a book, anyway. LOL)

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