Friday, August 23, 2013

Keep 'Em Guessing!

A couple of days ago I got a fabulous review for Rajasthani Moon from Thistledown at Long and Short Reviews.

Of course I was delighted that she liked the book. But what really pleased me is the fact that my multi-genre story really kept her guessing:

"This book really took me far and wide. At first you have a kidnapping fantasy with rip roaring sex that honestly left me breathless. Then you have a ménage with kinky toys that made me crunch ice. ( A lot). Then you add a paranormal twist and I couldn’t decide what I enjoyed more. It all worked. Every part of it."

This was exactly what I was trying to achieve in writing Rajasthani Moon.  The biggest problem with writing romance, in my opinion, is the predictability. Of course the reader knows the story will end happily. Plus there are so many sub-genres in romance, each one with its own conventions. When readers encounter the distinctive signals for one of these sub-genres, they remember other tales in the same category and think they already know how things will turn out.

I hate that! What's the fun of reading if there are no surprises, no suspense? I understand that when readers encounter a genre they enjoy, they want more of the same - but hopefully not exactly the same!

It's my goal to make readers sit up and think, "Wow, that's different!"  I could write cookie-cutter stories in any of the genres where I work, but I really don't want to do that. Whenever I sit down to write for a specific call for submissions, my first thought is, How can I twist this to make it original and surprising?

For instance, in my latest release, Challenge to Him, the call asked for M/F BDSM stories in which the hero is a billionaire and the couple ends up married. Now I know there are more billionaires out there in the world today than ever before, but somehow they didn't interest me. Instead I decided to write a historical billionaire. My story is set in the Gilded Age, when industrialists like John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, and Jacob Astor were making tons of money out of their factories, railroads and banks. I'd been to the Newport mansions built by these guys. If you want to see opulence...well, let's just say that no contemporary penthouse can compare, at least not in my opinion! My hero Andrew MacIntyre is a businessman born into this world of consummate luxury. His partner Olivia comes from a very different background.

I wanted my story to stand out, and I think it does.

There's a negative side to my quest for surprise and originality. Some readers get annoyed when an author breaks away from the conventions. I apologize, but those readers will have to go somewhere else. (And of course they do...) I'd probably be more popular if I stuck to tried and true formulas, but I just can't force myself to do that.

To be honest, I never know myself what I'm going to write next. So I keep myself guessing!

By the way, Challenge to Him is now available as a single title from Total-E-Bound - at a 10% discount until the general release date! Just click here.

You can read an extremely sexy excerpt here at Beyond Romance - and enter to win some great prizes!


C. A. Szarek said...

I totally agree, Lisabet! For me, writing and reading, it's all about the chase! How he gets the girl! I LOVE when it's different. And I agree, the worst word to describe any of my books would be "Predictable" it would be right up there with "Boring." AWFUL! Hehehe. Have a great Friday!

Normandie Alleman said...

I agree, too. My favorite thing to hear from readers is "I didn't see that coming!" And it is difficult when you know there's going to be a HEA... Probably why I read a lot of thrillers too. Haha.

Unknown said...

A great review Lisabet! Well done for taking readers on such a roller coaster ride!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks, Chrissy,

I only hope my readers agree with you!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Normandie,

Thanks for stopping by.

It IS difficult to keep them guessing when you know the end has got to be happy. One reason why I sometimes enjoy writing plain old erotica, which does not have that constraint.

On the other hand, most of my erotica ends happily, too. But you can never be sure.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Jasmine,

There's nothing as satisfying as a reviewer that "gets it" - sees what you're trying do - and approves!

hotcha12 said...


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