Wicked Romantic

balloon-1046658_1920Jessie: In Washington D.C. thinking fond thoughts of my beloved.

Today is my wedding anniversary and my thoughts naturally have turned to romance. I know I like a bit of romance in the books I read and the ones that I write and I wondered if the rest of you do as well? 

Julie: I do like the romance, especially as a reader. As a writer, I’ve learned from all of you that pacing is important. Really important. Keep it going, but don’t frustrate everyone. I loved writing about Ruth and Ben’s relationship in my Clock Shop series. I am figuring out Sully’s romantic path in my Theater Cop series. She has a couple of options, but is also a strong single woman. In my new series, Lilly Jayne is a widow. There may be romance at some point, and there is an interesting next door neighbor, but for the first three books Lilly’s romance is with life, and embracing it again.

Mommyand me
With my mom about ten years ago

Edith: Yes to both, and happy anniversary to you and the dark and mysterious husband (who must be delighted that Brazil is going strong in World Cup competition). I’ve written conflicted relationships and ones that go more smoothly, but in the end I want my protagonist and important supporting characters to be happy in love. One of my favorites was giving Cam Flaherty’s widower great-uncle Albert in the Local Foods Mysteries a new sweetie – who turned out to be my late mother, Marilyn Muller! She never got to read any of my books, and I so love including her on the pages. Romance in the assisted living residence: it’s never too late.

Liz: Happy anniversary, Jessie! I do like a little romance in books – especially crime fiction, where the rest of the world we’re in is so dark. I’ve had fun with Stan and Jake’s relationship in my Pawsitively Organic series, and in a twist unplanned even to me, Stan’s mother also found love in a small town. Romance can definitely add a nice flavor to the story.

Sherry: Happy anniversary! I’ve always love a side of romance dating back to my early reading of Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart. I’ve enjoyed the twists and turns in Sarah’s love life. Most of them were unexpected. Seth? Never planned on him even having a name, let alone continuing on through future books.

Readers: Romance in your mysteries, yay or nay? Are there any you’ve read that didn’t work for you?

40 Thoughts

  1. Happy Anniversary! I adore romance in my mysteries. I think it adds a depth of richness to the characters. Although it is often used in the mysteries I read, i do enjoy the romantic triangle trope. Typically, one becomes my favorite and I am hopelessly thrust into the “Team (insert name)” camp. LOL!!!!

  2. I try to create strong female characters, even if they’re struggling with a variety of challenges. Finding the right guy is not at the top of their to-do list, but it’s in the mix somewhere. If I offer up more than one candidate, then exploring those possibilities becomes part of my heroine’s journey of self-discovery. I do draw the line at allowing the heroine to spend the entire book (or series) agonizing over which one is the right one, but at the same time I believe that a story without any love interest feels kind of flat. It’s always a juggling act!

  3. Having been published in both the romance and mystery genres, I think relationships, romantic and otherwise, are extremely important to developing a well-rounded central character. Most of my romances were actually romantic suspense, because the stories seemed incomplete without the elements of mystery and suspense.

    1. I always feel like stories are improved with a full range of emotions and complications. I love the way romantic suspense combines them!

  4. Real life has romance so why not books? I just like what I would call romance light…not too many details – somewhat like in the old movies where there was a fade-out just before the kiss.

  5. I like romance in books (and in life.) In my Witch City Mystery series, the romance between Lee and Pete has progressed slowly from Book one on. He’s been her only love interest in the series and I’m enjoying watching the relationship develop. Working on Book#9.

  6. Happy anniversary! Our 35th was last Sunday. 🙂

    It’s a big YAY for me.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. Happy anniversary!

    I like a little romance. It makes the characters more well-rounded. But I don’t like when characters fall into bed for no reason other than it’s an expected trope (for example, hard-drinking, womanizing detective and a femme fatale) or just to up the titillation factor.

  8. I can take or leave romance in mysteries. As long as it doesn’t overshadow the mystery I’m fine with it. And happy anniversary!

    1. Thanks, Marla! I think a mystery needs to always be a mystery first and everything else in positions of lower priority. After all, if you promise the reader a mystery that should be the top note in the experience.

  9. Reading or writing the kind of mystery where the propagandist has a life ( as opposed to the lone wolf detective), then romance is part of life and can be a part of the story. Wrong ones, good ones, ones that advance the plot, ones that were there all along but unrecognized ( my favorite, maybe) – all add depth and flavor. Mysteries with a touch of romance? Definitely. ( I have had readers comment on the slow one in my series- so fun to know they care)

  10. I do like a relationship that is built and seems real, I do not like long drawn out love triangles, or on and off relationships, it detracts from the story.

    1. I think a lot of readers share your view on love triangles or very slow moving romances. Anything that detracts from the main event of the mystery itself seems less popular with mystery fans!

  11. Romance in cozies is ok, as it’s part of the real world, but don’t take 10 years to decide between 2 potential partners..lol.. in general I do not like nor read “Romance” books. Oh Happy Anniversary!

    1. Sheryl, I tried to contact you a couple of weeks ago – you won my audiobook – but I never heard back! Please check the email you have attached to your commenting here and write to me at edith @ edithmaxwell dot com.

      1. Yay!!!! xoxoxo Edith and Yes Jessie it seems all types of cozies do have a bit of romance in them, even if it’s just a little flirt! 🙂

  12. I like a little romance, as long as the focus is still on the mystery. And as long as that relationship is moving forward. There doesn’t have to be a sub-plot/complication in every book, but if it’s the same thing in every book, I get bored with that aspect of a series.

  13. Happy Anniversary!! I like a little romance in the cozies, but get frustrated by constant misunderstandings between the characters. It seems so immature. These are not teenagers. I certainly can understand the fear of commitment after a failed relationship, but one does have to poop or get off the pot.

    1. Finding that line between credible tension/complications and unnecessary derailments can be an interesting challenge! Happy anniversary to you next week!

  14. Although the mystery is the main thing, I do enjoy some romance. In a series, the romance doesn’t have to be front and center in every book. As to the 10 year romantic triangles, that may not be 10 years in book time. I was a teenager with Spider-Man and the X-Men, and they are still barely 30’s if that old. Not really fair! Same with Nancy Drew. Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn was in his 40’s in the first books, married his wife, and in the last books had a grown son!

  15. Happy Anniversary, Jessie! I like a little romance in my mysteries, however, I don’t want it to take away from the story.

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