Posted by Carly at Mar 14, 2013 6:00 am
Here’s something you didn’t know – I knew Jennifer before she became a big deal New York Times Bestselling Author. Yep, we’re in the same local chapter, HUDSON VALLEY RWA, which means: I know she’s not just a talented author but a super nice person! So please give Jennifer a warm jungle welcome!!
The Lure of the Contemporary Novel…by Jennifer Probst
First off, a big thank you to the amazingly talented Carly Phillips for allowing me to hijack her blog today. Iâ€™m a big fan and have been reading her books for many years and they never disappoint!
I always knew I was going to be a romance writer. I also knew Iâ€™d always write contemporary romance.
Sure, I adore reading in different settings and genres â€“ it keeps me fresh as both a reader and writer. But nothing can come close to a good romance amidst current times â€“ whether itâ€™s the busyness of a major city, the idyllic setting of a hillside in Italy, or the backdrop of a quaint, small town. Iâ€™m a sucker for the here and now and I never get bored of what an author can accomplish in the contemporary romance.
Why? There are certain elements that pull me back again and again, beyond the vampires and steampunk and fantasy. Thereâ€™s enough angst and emotion and drama in todayâ€™s world, and I donâ€™t need to go any further to get it all.
Iâ€™ve taken a few key fundaments to break down and analyze why this genre works and is so popular.
1. Setting â€“ I love getting to know new places in the world, especially when I know itâ€™s in current time. The small towns are a perfect backdrop to creating a family within a real world, and getting to know characters well enough to move them into their own stories. I can close my eyes and see the quaintness of Lucky Harbor in Jill Shalvisâ€™ series, or feel I just visited Serendipity in Carlyâ€™s books. The charm of meeting the local baker or retailer, the pull of main street, and the interconnection of people who have grown up and lived together their whole lives is rich and full of drama.
In my newest release, All the Way, my setting is an Italian restaurant in the heart of Manhattan, NYC. Iâ€™m able to bring in the classic chaos of a major city, have my characters attend an opera at the Metropolitan, and sketch out an ice skating scene in the park.
Using every day settings gives readers a sense of the familiar, and adds rich layers to a novel.
2. Realism â€“ Certain authors have incredible talent in building worlds that feel vivid, but I love the concrete realism contemporary romances offer. In All the Way, I pit a restaurant owner with a food critic in real time rivalry, combining a revenge plot. When my heroine trashes my heroâ€™s restaurant, he sets his goal on gaining a new review and getting her back into bed. Incorporating interesting careers educates and entertains, giving readers a glimpse into a new occupation. Whether it be a bed and breakfast, a yoga studio, or a matchmaking agency, readers love to imagine themselves as part of the characterâ€™s journey. Popular tropes can be twisted into realism with contemporary books, from the best friendâ€™s older brother crush, marriages of convenience, bad boy coming back to town for redemption, and second chances at love.
3. References â€“ I love to pepper my books with references to pop culture to ground the story in the here and now. I also have tons of fun doing it. In The Marriage Mistake, I mentioned Fifty Shades of Grey in a particular scene for a bit of humor and to give the reader a sense of reality. For All the Way, my heroâ€™s father sits with his cronies in the back of the restaurant, playing poker, drinking grappa, and talking about the Rat Pack. They revere Frank Sinatra like a God. Popular music, songs, or trends are fun for the reader to come across and bring something fresh to the book.
4. Conflict â€“ Thereâ€™s enough conflict in todayâ€™s times to fill a million books. The heroine or hero who has to decide if sheâ€™ll choose her career over the love. The wounded military veteran who has to re-connect with society. The struggle for ambition or money or power. The broken relationships of the past which carve out the characters. In current times, day to day life is full of struggles that are perfect for the backdrop of conflict in contemporary romance.
Contemporary romance is my passion for all of these reasons, but most of all, because I can imagine the love story taking place today. And it always comes down to one critical element: the romance. Add all these elements to a contemporary romance and readers will clamor for more.
What do you love about contemporary romance? What are some of your favorites? Come by and share â€“ Iâ€™m giving away a copy of All the Way to one reader! Check back Sunday to see if you won!
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Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasnâ€™t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a masterâ€™s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons, one 5 and one 7, keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of both sexy and erotic contemporary romance including The Marriage Bargain, The Marriage Trap, and The Marriage Mistake. She has been published with Gallery, Entangled, Decadent, The Wild Rose Press, and Red Sage Publishing. She has also written a children’s book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her niece, along with a short story about a shelter dog, “A Life Worth Living.” Look for her upcoming release, The Marriage Merger in July 2013. All of her books are available at her website: www.jenniferprobst.com
New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jennifer Probst
A Little Bit Naughty…A Little Bit Nice
The Marriage to a Billionaire Series:
The Marriage Bargain – #1 Bestseller
The Marriage Trap – October 2012
The Marriage Mistake – November 2012