Today we welcome author Kennedy Ryan to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Kennedy's When You Are Mine, the first book in the Bennett series, is a story of forbidden love—namely, when a woman realizes she's falling in love with her fiance's best friend! Kennedy is here to talk about breaking the rules of romance, and why she likes to read rulebreaker authors. Thanks, Kennedy!
When I decided to seriously pursue publishing my novel When You Are Mine, I didn’t have an English or a creative writing degree. Or an MFA. My degree was in journalism, and I knew nothing about trade fiction, but I’d been reading romance since the seventh grade. That should count for something, right? What was there left to learn really? Based on contest feedback I received, a lot.
“You’re breaking too many rules. This isn’t a romance.”
But I had two people in love! I had a happily ever after…eventually. I had hot, steamy moments. How was my book not a romance with all those elements present? Turns out when you read between the lines, or rather between the rules, there’s something much more insidious than rules at work.
As a reader, I want a delicate balance between accommodating what would more accurately be termed “conventions,” rather than rules, and becoming so predictable I could practically write the novel myself after chapter one. A few years ago, I found myself in a reader rut. I wanted to be surprised. I wanted to grapple. I wanted to be discomfited. A few trends, in the hands of some gifted writers, have done those things for me.
1. (In Joan Crawford/Mommy Dearest Voice) “No Cliff…hangers!”
There is quite a bit of vitriol surrounding the becoming-more-common cliffhanger. And I get it. I’m not crazy about them either, but sometimes there is a read so good, you wouldn’t have missed it, even if you have to wait for the happily ever after.