Mar 7 2014 2:00pm

Soap Operas, Romance Novels, and Tropes, Oh My! Why We Love Them All

Today we're joined by author Jennifer Ryan, whose latest release, The Return of Brody McBride, is out now. Brody does indeed return after eight years, only to find there's more waiting for him than he thought—and he's got a lot of work to make it right! Jennifer is here to talk about what makes the well-loved tropes in soap operas and romance novels so, well...well-loved! Thanks, Jennifer.

Let's face it, soap operas, romance novels, and tropes are just good fun. They make you laugh and cry, root for the guy to get the girl, and above all, believe that no matter what happens, love wins out in the end.

Soap operas and romance novels keep us riveted to the emotional intensity. The ups and downs the characters go through to be together. We love that initial spark that builds each time the couple sees each other until it ignites into something more than a flirtation and turns into a relationship. But will it last?

Watchers and readers alike stay tuned because they can't help themselves. They are as drawn to the couple as the two are drawn to each other. They feel the characters' connection and they want to be a part of the romance and drama. They enjoy guessing what will happen next, and get a thrill when the plot twists and something happens they didn't expect. They are invested in the couple, glued to their TV, or turning the page, hungry for more because they have to know: Will it all work out?

In a romance novel—absolutely. We live for the journey and the happy ending. It makes our stomach go tight and our hearts sigh.

As for those TV soap operas, well, the happy ending is short lived, but worth it, because hey, next week, or maybe even tomorrow, there will be a new wrench thrown into the plot and the couple will struggle to hold onto true love or find it again. But we stick with them, hoping beyond hope they'll find it. We want it for them as much as they want it for themselves, even if they have to scheme to get it. Which only makes it more fun to watch.

Why do we want them to find love? Because it's what we want for ourselves. It's cathartic. We share their emotions and feel their fear, longing, desire, love, connection, because we've dealt with all of that in some form or another in our own lives and relationships. It's relatable, and sometimes so much easier to watch on TV or read it in a book. Hey, if they can find happiness and happy-ever-after, why can't we? We see ourselves in them and maybe we learn something about ourselves we didn't know before. We see or read about our couple in a familiar situation and it gives us courage to deal with our own. Maybe we just shake our head and say, “Thank God, that's not me.”

No matter what, we're in it for the fun and the vicarious experience. We leave our world and join theirs for a little while and take a much needed break from our lives.

What about those tropes? There are so many and we love them all in their many forms. Some of my favorite authors have done them so well. Opposites attract in Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell. Good girl falls for the bad boy in Hard as it Gets by Laura Kaye. A marriage of convenience turns into true love in The Husband List by Victoria Alexander. Marina Adair twists the nanny to wife into a manny to husband in Be Mine Forever.

What's your favorite? One of mine is the secret baby—or how about two? I love this trope so much, I wrote my own version in my new release, The Return of Brody McBride.

Days of Our Lives has used the secret baby trope many times with Sammy Brady and Nicole Walker, but we all stay tuned to find out how, and if, they land the man of their dreams. And since it's a soap and all about the drama: Who is the real father?

No matter what your pleasure, sit back, enjoy the show, or the book. Whatever you choose, you're in for a roller coaster ride of emotions and passion that will lead to the love and happy-ever-after we all want and deserve.


Learn more about or order a copy of The Return of Brody McBride by Jennifer Ryan, out now in e, or March 25 in paperback:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at iTunes

Buy at IndieBound



Jennifer Ryan is the New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of The Hunted Series. She writes romantic suspense and contemporary small-town romances featuring strong men and equally resilient women. Her stories are filled with love, friendship, and the happily-ever-after we all hope to find. Jennifer lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, three children, dog (Bella), and cat (Shadow).

When she isn't writing a book, she's reading one. Her obsession with both is often revealed in the state of her home and in how late dinner is to the table. When she finally leaves those fictional worlds, you'll find her in the garden, playing in the dirt and daydreaming about people who live only in her head, until she puts them on paper.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Oh, man, I love tropes. There's a comfort to them in that, as you say, you know they'll always be enjoyable, at least when done right.

My favorites are probably the fake relationship and friends to lovers tropes. Sometimes enemies to lovers. I could go on... They're so fun!
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
I love the opposites attract trope, and the marriage of convenience. There is something so comforting knowing you know the general framework, but not how it's going to work out.
Julia Broadbooks
3. juliabroadbooks
I love tropes. So much that is familiar and predictible and then, zing! A twist surprises me. I especially love a good marraige of convenience and - the best trope ever - the brother's best friend. Sigh.

And I love your cover too!
Carmen Pinzon
4. bungluna
Variations on a theme keep me coming back to my favorite tropes. I like several tropes, but even the ones I dislike, on the hands of a talented author can pull me in and make me lose myself in the journey.
Lia Riley
5. Lia Riley
I am addicted to enemies-to-lovers and opposites attract. Plus anything with a Byronic hero.
6. Kareni
I have to admit to a certain fondness for well done books in which a character has amnesia or is blind or deaf.
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