Guest – Anna James – What Makes A Good Romance Novel?

Comment any time this week for a chance to win a copy of Anna James novel. Contest ends July 7th at 12pm PST. Winner will be posted July 9th.

What Makes A Good Romance Novel?

I, Anna James, am a romance novel junkie. I’ve been reading romance novels for more than twenty years and writing them for about half that time (although I’ve only recently been published).It’s estimated that over 2000 romance novels are published yearly and with over 50 million sold every year, someone out there, besides me, is reading them too! So, what makes a good romance novel? For me, there needs to be passion, drama and, of course, romance. But my number one thing is a “happily ever after” ending.
Many things go into creating a good romance novel. Here are some of the things that resonate for me:
The plot –The plot is a sequence of events (the story) through which the hero and heroine travel. The story should start in a place that captures the reader’s attention, then, as you move through it the characters must meet, fall in love with each other and end up overcoming the problems that are keeping them apart. Key elements of a good plot, as far as I’m concerned, include strong emotional conflict, drama and sexual tension.

The characters – Romance novel characters should be interesting, complex and real and linger long after a reader has finished the story.
The heroines must be independent, strong women with determination, persistence and spirit. They must be willing to fight to overcome adversity, should be a romantic at heart and believe that love triumphs over all odds.
The heroes must be sensual, charismatic, successful and strong. They must be passionate about the heroine (although may not show it right away) and about life.
Physical Attraction – The hero and heroine must be physically attracted to one another. As with anything else how physical attraction is portrayed in a romance novel can vary. It can be shown with tender caresses and gentle, loving kisses;in hot and steamy scenes with graphic sex or anywhere in between. I personally like a romance novel that has a high level of sexual tension. It adds to the excitement of the story. But as far as I’m concerned, when the sexual tension results in a love making scene, it must be emotionally driven. The characters can’t just be in it for the sex. Regardless of how the attraction is portrayed the important thing is to make sure the spark is there and evident to the reader.

Romance Wrap-up – This is where all the important issues are resolved, all the unanswered questions are answered and the story is brought to a satisfying conclusion. This usually takes place in the last chapter.
So that’s my take on what makes a good romance novel. Leave me a comment and let me know what your thoughts are. One lucky commenter will win a free copy of Coming Home.
Here is a quick taste to whet your appetite:

Two years ago, Christine Kincaid found her sister, Andrea, in the arms of her fiancé, James Buchanan. This after Andrea confessed to having an affair with James and being pregnant with his child. Distraught and wanting to escape the pain of James ’s betrayal, Christine fled her home, just outside of Washington D.C., to London, England, her birthplace.
As startling details of her parents’ tragic romance come to light, Christine now suspects she was deceived by Andrea and is determined to return home and win James back. Only James seems to hate her now. She’d known that it wouldn’t be easy. She’d hurt him deeply by leaving. But she believed that somehow he’d forgive her and they would finally be together. Why did he have such a bad opinion of her? And what was she going to do to make him see that he was wrong?
James Buchanan was devastated when his fiancée deserted him. He had thought they would be together forever. But he’d been wrong. Christine didn’t care about him. She didn’t care about anyone but herself. If she had, she’d never have left him to pursue her career. But what really bothered him was how he’d been so wrong about her. Christine had been sweet and loving to him, but the way she treated her sister was just awful. Andrea, who was alone and pregnant, had needed Christine’s love, understanding and support. All Christine could do was condemn her for her mistakes and leave her to fend for herself. How could he have ever loved someone who could treat her own sister that way? And what was he going to do now that she was back?

Happy Reading,
Anna James
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7 responses to “Guest – Anna James – What Makes A Good Romance Novel?

  1. I think you hit all the right points Anna! Glad to have read a couple of your books already, and more to come!


  2. For me a good romance is the characters first. I have to be able to identify with them. I have to like them. The story is second. I like lots of action and adventure in mine. Of course, the HEA. I also like lots of sex but it must naturally fit the story, not be gratuituous. Coming Home sounds good, but painful.

  3. Very nice post! Interesting seeing another authors take on what makes good romance. 🙂

  4. Personally speaking, I really like when the hero and heroine are having hot monkey sex just because they want to! They can lust after each other, and have lost of steamy scenes WHILE they are falling in love. To me, love is not separated from good sex. It’s an integral part of it. You can have good sex without being in love, but you can’t really be in love until you know what you are like together in bed…or anywhere else!

  5. Thanks to all for stopping by. I love your responses!

    Happy Reading,


  6. I have to agree with an earlier comment: the characters are critical for me. If I don’t believe in the characters, the rest doesn’t matter. I also hate it when I think the hero or heroine is better suited to a secondary character in the story. Hey! It happens.
    Give me strong characters, chemistry, an intriguing plot, and an HEA, and I’m there from the first page to the last.

  7. Love the blog here and you covered the highlights on romance quite well. I love to feel like I am reading a story from the heart. I would love to win this book as it sounds soooo good. Have a nice day. susan Leech

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