Thanks for inviting me to come play on the Playground this week—it’s great to be here!
In November, Harlequin Intrigue Senior Editor Denise Zaza hosted an Intrigue Pitch contest on http://www.eharlequin.com/ . And while the winners have been chosen (all the finalists were invited to submit their mss, btw!), the Intrigue Authors Blog and boards there are still buzzing with questions and discussions about writing for the line.
We’ve been chatting a lot about writing for Harlequin Intrigue—some of the qualities that are unique to the line, like fast pacing, larger-than-life heroes, ending scenes with hooks, heroines who are smart/scrappy/strong, villains who demand the best and more from our hero/ine, sexual tension and deep emotions, how much sex to have in the book, the differences between Intrigue and Silhouette Romantic Suspense, and so on. And as we were discussing what kinds of stories work well for an Intrigue, I got the idea for my blog post here.
Traditional romance storylines.
Yep. Amidst all the shoot-em ups and explosions and clues and daring escapes, the most popular storylines for Intrigue are ones that feature traditional romance story hooks. Of course, with Intrigue, we take that familiar story and twist it up with danger and heart-stopping passion and villainous show-downs. That traditional story of a woman with amnesia, a hero in uniform, a Cinderella tale, friends becoming lovers, cowboys and on and on are all storylines that sell really well in Intrigues.
Take my December 09 Intrigue, BEAUTY AND THE BADGE. Hmm… Any clue what that storyline will be about? I’ve taken a romance classic—the Beauty & the Beast fairy tale—and turned it into an Intrigue. I made my hero, Detective Kevin Grove, a “beast”. He’s big, he’s bad, he’s scarred inside and out, and you guessed it, he’s not handsome. But, ooh, does he ooze masculinity. And he’s got a protective streak in him that runs straight down to his bones. Both traits that make him a perfect Intrigue hero. My heroine is the beauty who wakens him in the middle of the night, needing his protection. She’s also the one woman who can break the spell of mistrust that encases his heart. She’s stumbled upon murder and conspiracy at the company she works for, and has nowhere else to turn. There’s even a wise grandmother/fairy godmother who plays matchmaker. He’s gruff—she’s stubborn. He’s sexy—she notices. When he falls, he falls hard, knowing he’ll probably wind up with a broken heart—but she’s the one with the magic, remember? It’s her love that ultimately saves him. After they get the bad guys and he saves her life, of course.
I thought it’d be fun to turn some traditional romance story themes into something Intrigue-ing today. I challenge you to put your own suspenseful twist on a favorite romance storyline of yours. What’s something you’d like to see in an Intrigue?
Here are some examples:
Plain Jane—spinsterish secretary sees her boss get murdered. Her boss’s handsome son, a cop, comes to her, demanding answers to the murder. When he sees that the killer has his eyes on her, too, the cop steps up as her personal bodyguard—keeping the witness safe. What he doesn’t count on is how close quarters with the surprisingly sexy secretary not only fuels his passion, but soothes his grief and awakens his heart as well.
Get the idea? You don’t have to be as detailed as I’ve been. I tend to be long-winded.
I’ll give away a copy of my brand new release, BEAUTY AND THE BADGE, to one lucky poster. You can see all my books on my website at http://www.juliemiller.org/.
Have fun. And good luck!
Ooh, fun - a challenge! Thanks, Julie. Everyone, be sure to comment, even if it's just to share your favorite themes and check back in Saturday for our lucky list of winners!