I have to confess something. I never intended to write a romance novel of any sort. I wanted to write contemporary fantasy. I wrote Ash on the Stairs as an exercise, just to see if I could write a romance. I chose erotic romance because, like angst ridden vampires, there is a market for it. If I succeeded, I could sell it. I needed to get my foot in the door as a published author. It worked. Now I market my story, my characters, and myself. I’m the short lady with frizzy red hair at the keyboard.
In preparation for writing, I read a few romances and one erotic romance. I did not read Fifty Shades of Grey until I finished the first draft of Ash on the Stairs. From the days of Georgette Heyer and Regency Romances to today the formula is pretty much the same. It is the backbone of romance novels. To over-simplify it, it is: Woman meets Man. They are attracted. There are problems. They work them out. They live happily ever after.
Take that backbone, add appendages and flesh in the form of characters to form the story. Tiers of characters, from the main characters to the one-scene one-line types, provided what I needed. They introduced themselves as I needed them. I started with the Woman because she tells the story.
The Woman in the formula is pretty to beautiful. Avoiding the short voluptuous helpless type seen in some books, I gave literary birth to Jesse Neil Ash, a young woman six feet three inches tall. She is a salute to all the tall beautiful women I know. Tall, skinny, and small breasted, she has a genius IQ, a nice backside, a Taser in her tote, and a mysterious back story.
Conflict showed up on page one and never got a full description. Jack Offiel turned into more conflict than I first imagined. Lucky me, he ran the full length of the story. I put every disgusting, leering, groping, greedy jerk I ever met into Jack. You know what they say about writers. Don’t piss them off, they’ll put you in a book and do evil things to you.
The Man in the formula has to be handsome, because honestly, look what happened to Quasimoto. So, Travis Daniel is handsome and wealthy, but certainly no suave lady’s man. His friends say he gets laid more often when he keeps his mouth shut. Virtually devoid of social graces, he takes a chance and speaks to Jesse. Somewhere along the way, I became a romance writer and the story of Jesse meets Travis got told.