I enjoy reading romantic suspense, and I tried writing it, but my editor kept taking out all the humor. Apparently it’s not scary anymore if the heroine binge eats whenever she’s in a dangerous situation.
Picture the hero and heroine in hiding. The hero peeks around the corner to gauge their surroundings and comes up with a plan, then when he turns back to synchronize watches (or whatever), the heroine has somehow extracted a three-foot licorice whip from her pocket and is gnawing away.
Okay, I guess my editor was right. That’s not a scene Ethan Hunt, Jack Ryan, or Jason Bourne would ever have to deal with. But it IS a scene I want to deal with.
So now I write romantic comedy. It makes my heart happy. Here’s why:
1.) Quirky Characters While I enjoy Mission Impossible, my favorite Tom Cruise movie is Knight and Day where Cameron Diaz wore the same boots with every outfit, worked on classic cars, and freaked out when bullets flew. Then there’s Romancing the Stone with author Joan Wilder, a novelist who sobs over the stories she writes, and it’s those same novels that get her out of trouble when South American gangsters turn out to be her biggest fans. As for my favorite Love Inspired Suspense novels? They are written by Heather Woodhaven (who also writes rom-com), and they include a heroine who sleepwalks and a Segway chase scene.
2.) Embarrassing Moments Perhaps the reason Heather and I default to humor is because of all the humorous situations we find ourselves in. Rather than hide in embarrassment, we laugh hysterically and feel inspired to share with others so they can laugh too. Not only do we write about those moments, we want to read about them. I could totally relate to The Guy I’m Not Dating by Trish Perry. When Kara meets Gabe, it’s one embarrassing moment after another–including black newsprint all over her face.
3.) Witty Banter When there’s comedy involved, the romance is too much fun to be sappy or angsty. The interaction between hero and heroine is energetic and playful. When I read Tacos for Two by Betsy St. Amant, I wrote her and said, “I could read a whole book of just the instant messages between Rory and Jude.” Pure delight.
4.) Sassy Internal Monologue. This doesn’t mean the character is sassy in real life. She could be sweet or even shy on the outside. But inside, she’s no sissy. Through December, I read/listened to Christmas stories, and author Sarah Monzon was kind enough to let me read her holiday novel that hasn’t released yet. Only in December offers a character who’s often too embarrassed to talk, but the reader is totally entertained by all her thoughts. There’s never a dull moment when the narrator thinks funny things.
5.) Laughing Through Tears I recently wrote a blog on how to make the reader cry, and I used the example of Tamera Alexander’s tear-jerker Rekindled. It’s incredible. Beautiful writing. I could only dream to write that well. But you know what I didn’t say in my article? I didn’t admit that I’ve never read another one of Tamera’s books. I’m too afraid. I know some people love tear-jerkers. My own daughter can’t get enough of books and movies that make her cry. I personally prefer to laugh. Though I also want the story to have depth–I want it to make me laugh AND cry. That’s why even though Rachel Hauck’s book Sweet Caroline had me bawling all the way to pick up my son from school one day, I still read her books. Because she also includes the quirky characters, embarrassing moments, witty banter, and snarky internal monologue for light-hearted and life-changing entertainment.
I know not every genre is for everyone, but I can’t tell you how pleased I am that romantic comedy is making a comeback. Especially with all our world has been going through. If you share my passion, this is your chance to win ten romantic comedies from some of my favorite authors.
Laugh your way through 2022! The giveaway includes an autographed copy of my book Husband Auditions along with some of the other authors I’ve mentioned. Click here to enter. Then answer this question below: What is your favorite thing about romantic comedy?