Saturday, April 05, 2008

Tycoon's One-Night Revenge - Bronwyn Jameson

After reading Tycoon's One-Night Revenge, my April release from Silhouette Desire, a reader commented on the amnesia storyline. She asked if Donovan, the hero, actually suffered from amnesia since he was only missing a week's memories. In her mind, amnesia in a romance signifies a complete loss of memory. The character can't remember their name, their home, their job, their loved ones, their anything. My hero's partial loss was unexpected and it threw her.

Interesting. I hadn't considered this might be a potential problem when I decided to write this story. In fact, I thought it was a neat switch from the usual. Donovan would remember enough of his backstory to make things interesting...but he wouldn't remember the week when he met Susannah, they slept together, and a crucial business deal fell apart.

The inspiration to use this storyline came from real life. A friend's son was involved in a relatively minor accident, suffered a concussion, and couldn't remember anything he'd done that day. His memory of that block of time never returned, the doctor said because of the (relatively minor) brain injury suffered in the accident. That got me thinking. What if he'd been driving to or from something significant when this happened? His wedding. A date with his divorce lawyer. Home from his new lover's bed.

And could I use artistic licence to stretch this memory loss beyond a few hours to, say, a few days?

I really liked the idea but it took a number of years to employ it in a book. I have this mental block, you see, about amnesia storylines. I worry about details such as: if he's forgotten everything, then surely he can't remember how to read and write and balance his checkbook and order a meal and drive his car and run his business. If he's suffered a serious head injury, then what about brain damage and changed personality and ongoing medical issues? Not that I don't enjoy reading a cracking good amnesia story; just the plotting of writing of one creates these questions in my pragmatic, over-analytical mind.

BUT the missing memory scenario really suited this storyline, which also involves a bride who runs away on her wedding day leaving a string of unanswered questions. Why does she run? Is there a man involved? And if so, who is he and what power does he hold over her? The mystery man who doesn't remember his one night in her bed fit perfectly, as did using a partial memory loss rather than complete amnesia.

Let's talk about amnesia storylines--do you like them, hate them, don't care either way?--and your expectation as a reader. When you see the word "amnesia" in a blurb, do you expect the full forget-my-name blankness? And lastly, do you have a favourite book with an amnesia hook?


Margaret McDonagh said...

Your character's amnesia scenario is perfectly plausible, Bronwyn - not to mention very clever. I've recently done a bit of research on this for a story I have just finished and both "post traumatic amnesia" and "post-concussion syndrome" can cause many effects and problems, including temporary loss of memory surrounding a traumatic event, eg a road accident like your friend's son, and lead the person to have missing hours or days leading up to the time of the accident.

Having your hero in Tycoon's One-Night Revenge sounds great - losing that one week in which all kinds of emotional or important things could have happened. With that week lost, for now, he would react differently to different things until his memory returns. A very clever plot twist! Wish I'd thought of it!!!!!


Lois said...

I like amnesia stories just fine. . . alas, haven't read too many though. LOL It's still early so I'm having a tough time thinking of many, but two that are coming to mind one he faked it I believe. . . the other I'm pretty sure she couldn't remember for a while. Fairly certain. But I know I read a couple more than that. .. just well, amnesia I guess. LOL


Estella said...

I like amnesia storylines just fine. It doesn't matter if it is short term or long term as long as the story is well written.

Annie West said...

Hi Bron,

Fascinating topic. Personally I love a good amnesia story and yours sounds intriging. Am looking forward to it.

On a personal note a story idea I've been playing around with for several months now includes a similar sort of memory loss, where memory of a specific period remains lost. It didn't occur to me that would be a problem to write and I've heard of instances where that's exactly what happened.

looking forward to getting my hands on 'The Tycoon's One-Night Revenge'!


Jane said...

Hi Bron,
I love amnesia storylines. Lisa Kleypas's "Someone to Watch Over Me" is my favorite. That's the only one I can think of at this moment.

Gigi said...

Hi Bron,
I enjoy an amnesia story. I believe that people can suffer from a part amnesia. You know they lose the part of their memory that is painful to them. The most traumatic part of their past.

i also can see where a good whack to the noggin could take all their memories and knowledge away.

Hope that made sense.

Bronwyn Jameson said...

Mags, thanks so much for the positive response. Knowing you write medicals and therefore do a lot of this research, you know of which you speak!


Bronwyn Jameson said...

Lois, I notice the time stamp on yr post says 5.53am so when you said "it's early, I'm having a tough time thinking of any" you weren't kidding! LOL.

Interesting point about fake amnesia. I'm not sure I've read one where that happens, but it is sometimes assumed/believed and that creates conflict all of its own. Perhaps because we do tend to be a bit sceptical about the forgotten-memory scenario.


Bronwyn Jameson said...

Estella, glad you're open to any storyline that's well written.

Jane, I love Kleypas's books and can't believe I haven't read that one. Must add it to my wishlist.

Gigi, perfect sense. And I hadn't thought of the trasumatic psychological type of amnesia, either, which works brill in books because of the extra conflict of that event/trauma that creates the block.


Bronwyn Jameson said...

Hey, Annie. Always lovely to see you and to chat about books and storylines.

My experience = one reader's response. Perhaps because the word "amnesia" is prominent in the back cover blurb, and so she was expecting a different scenario.

It did make me think about reader expectations when it comes to certain romance novel tropes, though.

Have fun with your missing-memory storyline. It does create some great conflict!


Yvonne Lindsay said...

Bron, I've always loved an amnesia storyline and I'm really looking forward to reading yours soon. The thing that bogs me down, when you want to write something like this, is the research, it's so fascinating! The brain is such uncharted territory. For everything we know about it there's probably just as much we don't.