During the month of March, I've had the pleasure of following along with readers over on eHarlequin as they read daily installments of my free on-line read, FAST AND FURIOUS.
For me, it's been great fun listening to readers guesses, likes and dislikes as the story unfolds. It's almost like sitting there in the living room with someone reading my book and having them provide me with their reaction every step of the way. Which, I suppose, can be good or bad depending on how they like your story.
In this case, it started out very touch-and-go. I open the novella with my hero speeding down the freeway in a Lambourghini. As I wrote the story, I'd only been thinking about my editor's directive. Given it's the prologue to the Blaze Spotlight Series, "0-60", I had to incorporate speed somehow into the plot, and I'd decided to do so by having my hero stack his brand new toy.
And apparently, speeding down a freeway was something a few readers took issue with. In fact, I think they were ready to tar and feather the poor guy for it. Luckily, as the story progressed they warmed up to him and forgave him. But it got me thinking about peeves.
As a reader, I'm like anyone else. A character can do something that I might shake my head at, but most of the time, I'll keep reading. However, there have even been a few where I really couldn't get over something the hero or heroine did, and I found myself putting the book aside. One in particular was a heroine who sounded more like a girl in 6th grade than a grown adult, and after about 20 pages of extremely immature behavior, I realized nothing was going to save this person in my eyes. Another was a hero who popped off and kissed a total stranger simply because he'd seen her and found her incredibly attractive. Particularly as a writer of one of the hotter Harlequin lines, I'm the first one to forgive sexual transgretions, but in this case, I couldn't stretch myself to consider that kind of behavior okay. It would have to be sold right, like maybe as a sailor coming home from war, stepping off the boat and kissing the first pretty woman he sees out of the joy of homecoming. Okay. But just because he thought she was beautiful? And am I to believe he's going to stop that behavior once he ends up with the heroine?
I'm curious to know what you think. I think we all have peeves when it comes to characters, but are there any that would absolutely make you put the book down and stop reading?
Lori Borrill writes for Harlequin Blaze. Her most current release, UNLEASHED, was a Romantic Times 2008 Reviewer's Choice nominee for Best Blaze and is still available through www.eHarlequin.com. To see that and all her books, visit www.LoriBorrill.com.