Author Anne Raven talks about why romance isn’t the “easy” genre and day drinking

Thank you, K, for hosting me on your blog today as we start our “Two questions with… Romance Edition” blog tour series. I’m excited to be back and delving into new questions. This time it’s all about romance, so let’s put the candy hearts aside, and share some answers…

Q: How do you tackle romantic elements in your writing?

So, I’m mostly a romance writer. My first love was paranormal romance. I was a late-bloomer in terms of finding my love of books, and when I did, I ended up in the slightly older section in my search for all things vampire—definitely inspired by my love of Buffy the vampire slayer. Enter Lynsay Sands and Sherrilyn Kenyon. While their older works are perhaps a little dated by now, I devoured them, and I’d say they had a pretty big influence on my writing.

But, I was terrified of the amazing worldbuilding needed for fantasy, so when I started writing, I went for contemporary romance. For me, that’s what came naturally. Not saying it’s easy. And I struggle with it all. The. Time. But while I’ve grown from my panster roots and now plot, I generally plot the action elements ahead of drafting. The “this happens here” key beats, and layer in the romance more organically as I draft.

Probably not the smartest decision, but for now, the system is working. I find it difficult to plan out the romance ahead of time. I like my characters to grow together and for their feelings to develop as I write. Once the first draft is done, I go back and layer on more emotional depth, which can take several rounds for me. See? Not easy. It takes time to get those emotions on the page and create the perfect chemistry between your characters.

I think romance is often viewed as an easy genre to write. It has a bad reputation for this, although I cannot understand why. I’m a firm believer that every genre has pros and cons, things that are easier and things that make an author pull their hair out. No genre is “easy” to write. We just decide which one is worth it, and for me, that tends to often fall into romance. Even when I find it difficult.

Q: Melding the outer action plot and inner romance arc–fun times or cause for day drinking?

I’d say fun times most days, with the occasional day drinking hiccup.

Most often, this is the fun part. Getting that wonderful romantic tension mixed in with the action. The two feed off each other. You can bounce the action against the sexual tension. Or create outer circumstances that put your couple into a bind that elevates the romance. When you do this well, the two work in conjunction. Whether that’s in a contemporary romance, and the action comes from a meddling family. Or a suspense, and the couple are racing against time to stop the protagonist from blowing up an all-important building. Or paranormal romance/urban fantasy where they’re caught between waring species.

You get the idea. As I said in the above question, I started writing contemporary romance, but branching out into paranormal romance and romantic suspense (not to mention my current WIP—a slow burn thriller) has been so much more fun. Action and romance go hand in hand, or at least they can, and adding action lifts the romance to a whole new level. Melding the two together can be gloriously rewarding. Of course, there are days where this gets tricky, so it’s good to keep a bottle of the hard stuff on hand. Just in case.

Anne Raven was born and raised along the windy coast of South Africa, and can assure everyone there are no lions roaming the streets—unless you count the feral cat next door. When not reading or writing, you’ll find her being bossed around by her adorable niece, taking freshly baked goods from the oven, or drinking too much coffee. Her romantic suspense IN THE NAME OF THE MOTHER was showcased in Pitch Wars 2017. Anne is represented by Amanda Jain at BookEnds Literary Agency.