Why I write romance + my top 5 romantic tropes

Welcome to the Summer Loving Blog tour! Hang out for this week and into the next for some fun giveaways and behind the scenes from other authors! 

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First – a little about me. Romance is my jam. I love the goofy, giddy, silliness of new romance and the solid, surety of old romance. I love stories and movies of budding new relationships overcoming extreme obstacles. Even more so, I love the stories of broken relationships being restored. Give me all those gushy gooey feels! 

While I am a fan of some mainstream romantic novels, movies and TV shows, what they’re missing is why I write Christian romance. In mainstream romance, it’s no surprise and no secret that our culture continually propagates the notion that relationships should be and are often based on sexual encounters. When in reality, that’s not how life works. Even for non-believers. What used to be the ‘first kiss’ encounters that established the relationship moving to the next level, has morphed into ‘the first sexual encounter’. To propagate such a notion that sexual encounters are the foundation of the beginnings of a relationship is unfortunate and completely backward. In my opinion, it’s an inaccurate and dangerous portrayal of romantic relationships.

After reading through several mainstream romance novels as a young adult with this very message – both subtly and not so subtly presented – I decided it was time I wrote the romances that I want to read. The romances that I want my daughters to grow up reading. That I want any of the children I work with to grow up and read.

It’s not that all romances develop from friendship. I’m not completely against Love at first sight. I know it’s often cliché, but it happens in real life! What I am completely against, are one night stands that lead to a ‘lasting relationship’.

Enough blabbldigook and romance preachiness. Below are some of my favorite romantic tropes (with examples!)

Unrequited love/oblivious love/secret admirer

I didn’t rate these in order – but I’d say this is the first on my mental list whenever anyone asks. Watching one person agonize over the other person who doesn’t know they are in love with them is like powdered sugar, whip cream and strawberries on a fried fritter. All the sweetness. All the feels! The tension! The conflict! The obliviousness! I get all swoony just thinking about it. Some of my favorite examples: Ordinary Snowflakes by Jennifer Rodewald, Sweet on You by Becky Wade. Topaz Heat by Hallee Bridgeman.

Friends to more

Sometimes, not always, these stories have some level of unrequited love weaved in. However – the basis of friendship is what draws me in. I love the emphasis on more of the steady strength of friendship. This foundation is often difficult to capture by authors because it requires giving the reader a solid, authentic sense of a past relationship. Sometimes this is done through a prologue.

Rosanna M. White does a masterful job of immediately establishing the friendship between the hero/heroine in The Lost Heiress. Ordinary Snowflakes again, is another superb example.

This is the best trope in which to describe my book A Worthy Heart. Joel and Serena are friends. (though they haven’t been for that long) The foundation of their romance develops through friendship. They spend a long time in that friendship camp – both with specific reasons for doing so.

Enemies to lovers

There are two different kinds of enemies to lovers. Two people who hate each other for whatever reason. And two people who are literally physically actual enemas of each other. Like in Lynn Austin’s A Candle in the Darkness. Or Colleen Hall’s Her Traitor’s Heart. You are literally standing on two sides of a line that you cannot cross. Yet you’ve somehow crossed it and are falling in love with someone behind enemy lines. The conflict and tension is the best part. The good, happy endings are harder to predict here, and it’s what makes these page turners!

Of course more contemporary examples with heroes/heroines who just can’t stand each other would include One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg, Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner.

Love triangles

Some readers hate this trope. I don’t mind it – when it’s done right. I’m not really for jealousy vengeful 3rd wheel heroes or heroines who try to get in between the first two lovers in a mean-spirited fashion. A good love triangle elicits from the reader all the agonizing tension of decision-making. Where both heroes or heroines are just as strong, charming and enduring. When there’s no obvious choice (well…maybe not for the heroine lol) I loved how Jennifer Rodewald handled the love triangle in Ordinary Snowflakes. Nadine Brandes in her Christian Speculative fiction series, Out of Time employs the use of a love triangle between two brothers and Parvin through the first and second of the series. This was so subtle it was perfect – and heartbreaking. So so much.

Another spin: The best-friend’s-girl love triangle: I adored the Yesterday Series by Amanda Tru because I just loved the third wheel side-character. Though Hannah doesn’t really like hero #2, he falls for her harder in each book, even though he can’t have her. I just couldn’t get enough! Poor guy!

Broken hero/heroine 

This isn’t exactly a trope – because it often involves weaving together many tropes in one.

Anytime there’s a romance story with a hero is broken down and needs some TLC – let’s just say you’ve got me hooked. It’s not to say I don’t like broken down heroines, because their stories are just as emotional and heartwarming, but there’s just something about a hero in need of emotional and spiritual healing that brings me to tears. The idea that the hero/heroine I’m falling in love with on the pages of a book can find hope and love and redemption keeps me turning page after page. 

Some fantastic examples. All of You, by Sarah Monzon, My Stubborn Heart, A Love like Ours and True to You by Becky Wade. An Aria for Nick and A Harmony for Steve by Hallee Bridgeman. 

This trope, (or umbrella trope perhaps?) also very accurately describes my new release coming out in 2021, Anchor My Heart.

So there you have it – some of my favorite tropes and stories in Christian Fiction.

What’s your favorite romantic trope? Let me know in the comments below

Don’t forget to visit the rest of the blogs in the tour to enter for more chances to win a huge giveaway package, INCLUDING a copy of my newest book, A Worthy Heart. 

 

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ENTER TO WIN the giveaway HERE

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

June 22: Ann Brodeur – The Sweet Side – Sweet Traditions of Christmas.

June 23: Laurie Wood  – Excerpt from  Northern Hearts.

June 24: Kara Leigh Miller –  Embrace Your Imperfections.

June 25: Julie M Arnold – Summer Reading 101.

June 26: Laura Thomas – Six Sweet Summer Reads.

June 27: Sara Beth Williams – Why I write Christian Romance & My Top 5 Romantic Tropes.

June 28: Renée Lichtenhan – Quiz: WHAT’S YOUR BEST CHARACTER TRAIT?

June 29: Connie Michael – Trusting the Plan.

June 30: Christina Sinisi – Love and Cake in the LowCountry of South Carolina.

July 1: Joiya Morrison-Efemini –  TBD

July 2: Melony Teague – If you’d have told me a year ago…

About A Worthy Heart

“To say she’d been waiting her whole life for this exhilarating breath of fresh air that was Joel Bennett was the understatement of the year.”

A 2020 Selah Award Finalist

Joel Bennett has always known Serena Hayes as his sister’s gregarious best friend. In the three years since Lacey began college, Serena became a regular house guest, but lately, she’s absent more than not. When Joel discovers she’s in an abusive relationship, protectiveness from within roars to life.

 

With only a part time job to support her and nowhere to go, Serena fears leaving her current relationship would jeopardize her chances of graduating college. After a brutal attack leaves her no choice, she courageously moves out. On her journey toward regaining confidence, self-worth, and independence, Joel falls in beside her, encouraging her. The way he emulates Godly love and compassion draws her close—not just to him, but to the God who can satisfy her longing for love better than any man.

 

Attraction sizzles between them, but events from their pasts cast shadows of doubt.

When the unthinkable happens, can Serena open her heart to a second chance at love, or is she destined to be alone?

currently free with kindle unlimited

Available on AMAZON in ebook and print format.

 

 

 

Published by Sara Beth Williams

Contemporary Christian Romance author, wife, mother, believer in Christ, freelance publicist,

2 thoughts on “Why I write romance + my top 5 romantic tropes

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