Hey everyone! I’m so excited to have Kimberly G. Giarratano, author of Grunge Gods and Graveyards (May 2014, Red Adept Publishing, LLC), here with an awesome guest post today! First, here’s some more information about Grunge Gods and Graveyards:
Lainey Bloom’s high school senior year is a complete disaster. The popular clique, led by mean girl Wynter Woods, bullies her constantly. The principal threatens not to let her graduate with the class of 1997 unless she completes a major research project. And everyone blames her for the death of Wynter’s boyfriend, Danny Obregon.
Danny, a gorgeous musician, stole Lainey’s heart when he stole a kiss at a concert. But a week later, he was run down on a dangerous stretch of road. When he dies in her arms, she fears she’ll never know if he really would have broken up with Wynter to be with her.
Then his ghost shows up, begging her to solve his murder. Horrified by the dismal fate that awaits him if he never crosses over, Lainey seeks the dark truth amidst small town secrets, family strife, and divided loyalties. But every step she takes toward discovering what really happened the night Danny died pulls her further away from the beautiful boy she can never touch again.
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And now here’s Kimberly’s guest post! Hope you guys enjoy it!
Hello lovely readers. Valentine’s Day is here, so …hurray? I guess your perspective all depends on what stage of a romantic life you’re in — new relationship where everything is sexy times and city dates or married life where everything is minimal time and take out. When I was single, I used February 15th sales as a way to score chocolate on the cheap. Now, I’m married and my husband will probably come home from work with a box of Russell Stover or flowers from Costco. The latter is more likely.
Anyway, real life isn’t very romantic. At least, my real life isn’t. Thus, I get bogged down when writing romance scenes, particularly in YA. There’s a fine line to walk between toe-curling romance and downright cheese. Because I’m always afraid of coming across as lame, I tend to favor snarky, antagonistic romances between characters (ala Blair and Chuck, or Veronica and Logan). Unfortunately, as I learned in edits, my characters come across as not liking each other, a big no-no when writing a romantic subplot, and thus unlikeable to readers. My biggest pitfall, besides the antagonism I unintentionally insert, is the dialogue. I’m not one to write sappy lines, so I compensate with sarcasm.
In my novel, Grunge Gods and Graveyards, my romantic lead, Danny, became a bit of a flirt. But that took revisions to master. Take out snark. Insert hotness. So easy when you write it that way, isn’t it? But it wasn’t easy to do in early drafts. I’m not a guy, obviously, so there was a lot of me tapping my husband’s shoulder and asking, “When you were seventeen, would you say this?” And him shaking his head.
Most readers will tell you they like a slow burn when it comes to their romantic entanglements. Not only does the getting-to-know-you scenes help develop characterization, but it also builds sexual tension which is key for good romance. Insta-love isn’t very satisfying to read nor write. It’s also not realistic. I want to think, “That could happen to me” because the authentic emotional connection is what makes me swoon. Isn’t that why we read romance to begin with? Because deep down we want to feel as loved and desired as those main characters and that’s not gonna happen if there’s no believable buildup.
Even as I write this, I’m struggling with an early draft of a romantic mystery. The two main characters need to meet, fall in love and be willing to sacrifice everything for each other in about 35,000 words (it’s a novella). Even though I know in my head that I’m supposed to be taking the advice I outlined in this blog post, I still find it difficult to write a romantic scene. I’m constantly striving for realism and that’s not always easy to do. Because let’s face it — the average woman’s life is as romantic as a box of Russell Stover and bouquet of roses from Costco.
So, what say you lovely readers — What makes for a great literary romance? And if you’re a writer, how do you tackle a romance scene?
Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day. And remember, on February 15th, all that delicious chocolate goes on sale.
Oh! and as an added goody, I’m giving away an ebook (Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Google Play or Kobo) of Grunge Gods and Graveyards to one lucky reader. Please comment to win. And if you’d like to know when my novella, The Lady in Blue, will be available, consider signing up for my newsletter. I’ll only email you when the book is on its way.
Kimberly G. Giarratano, a forever Jersey girl, now lives in the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and small children. A former teacher and YA librarian, Kimberly adores Etsy, Jon Stewart, The Afghan Whigs, ’90s nostalgia, and (of course) everything YA. She also speaks Spanish, but is woefully out of practice.
Kimberly always dreamed of being a published author. Her other dream is to live in Key West, Florida where she can write in a small studio, just like Hemingway.
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