Today I am very excited to share with you a wonderful guest post from the awesome Sean Cummings as part of his Poltergeeks blog tour. Poltergeeks is a fab, fun urban fantasy about the daughter of a witch and my review is also being posted today so check that out too. And without further a due, I shall hand you over to Sean to discuss romance and YA.
Not that I have anything at all against love triangles or protagonists who tear themselves apart as they are forced to choose between two prospective suitors. It’s a common theme in a lot of paranormal romance – the love triangle. That or often you find a love interest who is dark and brooding, mysterious and dangerous. Bella and Edward lead the pack on this one, though I don’t really care for either character, I can see how that dynamic is needed for the Twilight novels. But there is something to be said for uncomplicated romance, isn’t there? A love interest who always has your back? Someone who loves the protagonist unconditionally and who is always in the background cheering them on?
I first utilized this dynamic in my Valerie Stevens series. In SHADE FRIGHT, the very first line emphasizes the nature of Val’s relationship with her boyfriend, Dave. Right underneath the words “CHAPTER ONE” is the sentence: “My boyfriend drives a dump truck.”
Valerie might be a powerful sorceress, but she’s got a BF in Dave who, while overwhelmed at times by her secret life, still manages to entertain. And he’s a vital character in the first novel. I’ve sort of tried to replicate this in POLTERGEEKS. Marcus Guffman is a nerd. A dweeb. A brainiac and of course, he’s Julie’s best friend.
And he loves her with all his heart. It takes most of the book for Julie to realize that she too loves Marcus. (Mind you, he’s been attacked by an evil force numerous times in the book not to mention winding up on the receiving end of a Siamese cat’s claws after he tries to rescue it.) So I’ve tried to make the romance very innocent – first loves are always innocent at first. And I’ve tried to use the very few quiet times in the novel to allow for Julie to examine her feelings for Marcus – no small task when you’re up to your armpits in poltergeists.
If you’re wondering why I like writing uncomplicated romance, I’d point you in the direction of the Cohen brothers movie FARGO. Pregnant police chief Marge Gunderson is trying to solve a couple of homicides. At home, she’s got a duck carving husband named Norm Gunderson who loves her immensely and is happy to play a supporting role. It’s an Oscar winning film and for me, Norm was the best thing in the movie.
Marcus has his moments, of course. And there is the tiniest hint of a love triangle in POLTERGEEKS, but I didn’t want the romantic elements to distract from the thrill ride of the story. Julie has thirty-six hours to save her mother – the last thing she needs is to be forced to choose between a vampire suitor and his werething competition. As I wrote POLTERGEEKS, I needed help on the romance side – I sought the advice of a local romance writer’s group and relied heavily on input from my agent and finally from my editor Amanda Rutter.
Will I write more uncomplicated romance? Probably. But I might dabble with a love triangle at some point – it will depend how future works in progress shape up. I will offer this much – in the follow-up to POLTERGEEKS, it’s got a shock ending that rocks Julie right to her core.
Okay, that’s it for hints. Thanks for the opportunity to do a guest post and I hope everyone loves POLTERGEEKS!