One of the absolute best things about reading a novel with any type of romance is spying on those first few meetings. The witty conversations, butterflies in the stomach, flirting glances…they’re all so important. It’s not enough to envision the heroine falling for the guy—the reader has to fall for the guy, too.
As a writer, if I can make myself fall for the hero, I figure I’ve made a pretty solid effort. My first series was told through the first-person viewpoint of Camdyn Taylor, and I immersed myself into the character so completely that when she met Cole Parker, I loved him too. I still love him, and probably always will. It’s a hazard of the job.
My recently released novel, Simply Mad, was an entirely different ballgame. Madeline has known Josh practically all her life, and they’re best friends. There are no cute meetings to detail, because those happened when the main characters were five and six. To make things more difficult, Josh is in the Navy and is stationed overseas, so those face-to-face meetings look more like Skype sessions and telephone calls.
As a result, instead of those flirty first conversations, the readers are introduced to Josh as the steadying force amid Maddie’s crazy family and strange work environment. While this scenario produced a challenge in the fact that they couldn’t meet and feel those first sparks, it also provided an extra layer that new acquaintances wouldn’t have. Josh knows Maddie completely…all her quirks, insecurities, and hang-ups. He loves her anyway…just not in a romantic way. Or does he?
Listen in on one of Josh and Maddie’s telephone conversations, where they’re talking about love (of course) and a guy Maddie is interested in dating.
“You’re not looking for someone ordinary,” he counters, a hint of sarcasm creeping into his voice. “Sure, maybe you’ll give a guy the time of day, if he’s exactly the right height, laughs properly, has the same taste as you in reading materials, doesn’t eat any food you think is gross, his facial structure is perfectly symmetrical…”
“Hey, what is this, another ambush? You’re worried about my stellar dating strategies? Your mom’s not coming over here to stage another intervention, is she?”
“No, forget it,” he breathes with a sigh of exasperation—a sound that makes my heart drop in my chest a couple inches. “How is the pirate, anyway?”
Pulling my knees up against my chest on the couch, I fiddle with the hem on my jeans as I listen to the quiet sound of him breathing on the other end of the line.
“Pirate? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Your tennis instructor, with the long flowing hair and the goatee. He looks like the guy from that pirate movie.”
Oh, whatever, he really doesn’t look like…
Well, on second thought, I guess he might resemble him a little.
“He’s nothing like a pirate.”
“I never said he acted like a pirate, I simply said he looks like a pirate. But now that you’re protesting, I think maybe I spoke too hastily. Arr, Maddie, be ye here to learn the art of tennis this fine day? Just let me remove ye olde hook and replace it with ye olde tennis racket. Aha! Shiver me timbers, but don’t make me run too far, on account of me olde peg leg.”
“Very funny, Josh, but there’s nothing going on between me and Max.” Not yet, anyway. “Besides, how do you even know about him? I didn’t mention him to you.”
“What did Jess say about him? This is a little annoying! Don’t you people know the meaning of privacy?”
“You’re interested in him, that’s all. I’m surprised you didn’t bother to mention it to me, but I get it. Is there anything to this one other than the fact that he’s good looking?”
“Of course not, just a handsome pirate,” I quip, shaking my head.
“Honestly, Josh, sometimes I think you must believe I’m the shallowest person in the world. Max is funny and intelligent, and we have lengthy conversations about lots of things. He hopes to travel to Barbados soon—that’s where his father lives. He has a shipping business there.”
“So the guy who’s definitely not a pirate has a ship in Barbados?”
“Sometimes you’re on a ship. Does that make you a pirate?”
“I’m in the Navy.”
In the end, it was pretty easy to make myself fall for Josh.
Giveaway: I’d like to share him with one of you. Comment on this post with your favorite love story, and one of you will get a signed copy of Simply Mad delivered to your door. If you live in the USA, that is. Otherwise, I’ll gift you an e-book. You may enter through Wednesday, July 29, and the winner will be announced in the Sunday Edition on August 2.
Check out my other novels in The Camdyn Series. A Reason to Run is FREE through July 26th, and A Reason to Be Alone is only $.99.
Christina Coryell is an Amazon bestselling author of Christian women’s fiction who lives in southwest Missouri with her husband and two children. She is rarely alone when she does her writing, which leads to lots of creative situations. She’s written with kids climbing on her, loud guitar riffs playing in the background, and while cheering on her favorite baseball players. Her books include the highly rated Camdyn Series (A Reason to Run, A Reason to Be Alone, A Reason to Forget, and For No Reason) as well as the Girls of Wonder Lane series. Simply Mad is available now, and the second volume, Crowned, will be available late August.
my favorite type of love stories are best friends who fall in love because I married mine 15 years ago :)
Julie Arduini says
I love the opposites attract stories.
Julie, that’s the kind of story my husband says we have. Nothing in common, except our love for baseball. :)
Thanks for commenting, Carrie! I have to admit, I like those stories too. :)
One of my favorite love stories is love comes softly by Jeanette Oke.
Valerie Comer says
I think that was the first Christian romance novel I ever read! And I read it a bunch of times. :)
Hi Rachel! Is it terrible that I’ve never read this? But I have seen the movie, and although I can’t remember his name off the top of my head, I loved the male hero.
Franky Brown-Gubler says
My favorite love story is Jane Austen’s Persuasion!
Hi Franky! I do love Austen. I think I’ve watched Pride and Prejudice a zillion times…pretty much every time I’m alone in the house. :)
Dawn Stewart says
My love story is my favorite one of all…met at the local grocery store where we both worked, at age 16. He was a pain, as I always did the return cart. He would grab it when my back was turned and race around the store re-filling it, so I had to stay in the aisles longer, where he re-stocked shelves. Graduation, college, and military time, we remained best friends…until 6 years later when he proposed! Married 27 years, together for 33…4 kids, 3 grandchildren, and he is still my very best friend! Greatest love story ever!!
Wow Dawn! That is a fantastic story. Someone should write a book about that. ;)
This sounds like such a fun book!
I don’t know if I can choose just one favorite love story! My favorite one currently is Ross and Demelza in Poldark (just finished the first season… haven’t gotten my hands on the books yet though). And I really love Jane Eyre…. :)
Hi Amy, thanks for commenting! I love Jane Eyre too. Such a fantastic book.
Lori Daley says
I love all love stories! I don’t think there is enough love in the world anymore. My husband and I got married after knowing each other for inly two weeks. Here we are 22 years later and just as happy! Thank you for the chance at the giveaway! I love reading Christina’s stories! She is a wonderful talent!!
Hi Lori! Thanks for your kind words. I love your comments – further proof that when it’s right, you know. Two weeks = 22 years. That’s pretty amazing.
Valerie Comer says
My hubby and I met in high school, where he’d sit gazing at me across English class. Yeah… I wasn’t a fan! But 35 years into marriage, this guy is very definitely a keeper. :)
Valerie, that is so sweet. I can just picture it in my mind. :) There were definitely no guys in my high school English class that I wanted gazing at me!
Sally BradleyS says
Christina, that was so fun! Another book to add to my TBR list. Grr!! I’ll never get the house cleaned. :D Oh, well.
Favorite love story, hmm. I still love Elisa and Murphy from Vienna Prelude, and in the movie world, I loooove The Lake House, even if Keanu Reeves is the hero. Have you seen that one?
What’s a clean house? ;) I have seen The Lake House, and I liked that movie. My favorite is While You Were Sleeping. I’m not sure why, but the part where he’s leaning…sigh. It gets me every time!
Connie Brown says
I don’t have a favorite love story. I didn’t read them for a long time as I burned out on romances by a company when I couldn’t do anything all summer but read. I love to read but when you are forced to do nothing it gets old quick. Would like to have this one though. Christian romances are much better than secular ones. They leave somethings to the imagination.
Hi Connie! One thing I love in a good book is a lot of building of character aside from the romance, so there’s the feeling that the characters could survive apart from one another. That makes it even better when things work out, the way I see it. :)
Jessica B. says
My favorite fictional love story is that of Ashley Baxter and Landon Blake in Karen Kingsbury’s series about the Baxter family. He never stops loving and pursuing her even when she’s trying her best to run away from him and isn’t being easy to love.
Jessica B. says
My favorite fictional love story is that of Ashley Baxter and Landon Blake in Karen Kingsbury’s multiple series about the Baxter family. He never stops loving and pursuing her even when she tries her best to run away from him and isn’t being easy to love. After they’re married she is able to learn so much from Landon and their relationship is continually growing deeper.
Linda Rainey says
Hi,Christina.I believe my favorite love story ,at the moment was between Camdyn and Cole.
I will not ever forget their whirlwind romance.
You have such a way with words.
Linda, you just made my day! Camdyn and Cole are so real to me, I actually thought I saw her two nights ago. I was staring at this poor young lady for quite a while. When she finally fully turned toward me, her face didn’t quite match the idea in my head. :) Now I sound like a total nut!
My favorite book cover is Simply Mad! I enjoyed the story too…. I like an author who can make me laugh out loud and Christina is becoming one of my most favorite writers.
Cheryl, I’m sure that will be your favorite cover for all time! Thanks for the compliments. :)
Sarah Niebruegge says
My favorites I think are the unexpected ones. Also I love the ones set in the old times of covered wagons and such.
Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! I love the unexpected, too.
Honestly I was never a huge fan of romance novels, until Cole and Camdyn!! I read the entire series in less than 3 weeks. I find myself thinking about them, wondering what they are doing. Loved the Camdyn series!!
Jennifer, that makes my heart happy! Thank you so much, and I hope I can get you invested in my new characters too.
Autumn Macarthur says
Oh, I can so relate to needing to fall in love with the hero! Josh sounds a total sweetheart :)
And I’ve loved reading the real life love stories here in the comments!
Thanks Autumn! Reading the comments has been fun. Sounds like we’re in agreement. :)
angela chesnut says
My favorite love story would be Gone with the wind
Great classic, and an interesting choice since it doesn’t have the traditional happy ending. Thanks for stopping by!
Andrea Brooks says
My favorite, but surprising love story is Sophie’s heart by Lori Wick
Admittedly, I haven’t read that one, but I’ve heard lots of people say they love it. Thanks for chiming in, Andrea!
Trixi O. says
I can’t really name a “favorite” love story because I am a hopeless romantic so I LOVE them all :-D But I can name a few of my favorite story-lines….Mail order Brides, Marriages of Convenience, Past loves reuniting, & anything historical. I hope that about covers it…lol!
I am loving your book from this post already…..put my name in the virtual hat for a copy of “Simply Mad”!
Thanks Trixi! You’re in the virtual hat. :) I think it’s awesome that you’re a hopeless romantic, too.
Terrill Rosado says
My favorite romance has always been Pride and Prejudice. That is until I read Katherine Reay’s, Dear Mr. Knightley. You can’t compare the two, but it’s been months since I read it and my mind always goes to Katherine’s book when asked this question.
I do love Pride and Prejudice! And is it funny that when I read Dear Mr. Knightley, I hear Gwyneth Paltrow’s voice in my head? :)
Iola Goulton says
My favourite romance is … probably whatever one I read last (or too many to list!).
So today it’s Oslo Overtures by Marian Ueckermann.
Iola, you sound like someone who really gets immersed in the books! Glad you can love so many characters you meet.