Monday, June 13, 2011

Darlene Gardner: After the lovin'

Because my June release from Harlequin Superromance is about a woman who stumbles across boy and girl twins she thinks might be hers due to their distinctive red hair, TWICE THE CHANCE is filled with drama.

My favorite scene in the book, however, is after Jazz Lenox and the twins’ Uncle Matt make love. Up to that point, Jazz has been desperately trying to keep Matt at arm’s length. He’s very close to his family, and Jazz thinks the twins are better off without her in their lives. While Jazz and Matt are still in bed together, however, he pulls out all the stops to persuade her to go on a date with him.

Right about now I should confess that the pages after the hero and heroine first make love are always my favorite part of a romance novel. In my opinion, it’s a terrible mistake if an author ignores the all-important lovemaking aftermath and skips ahead in time.

In one of my early books, a romantic comedy for the now-defunct Harlequin Duets line, my heroine had a one-night stand after her fiancé broke their engagement. I was able to create all sorts of delicious tension by having the ex-fiancé telephone her the following morning because someone had seen her the night before with another man. A man who was still lying next to her in bed and was in no hurry to leave.

The interplay between the characters is so much more interesting after sex than during it. Does the intimacy ease the conflict between them or escalate it? Is the mood serious or playful? And the biggie: Do either the hero or heroine regret making love?

In case you’re not familiar with the old Englelbert Humperdinck song from which I stole the title of this blog, the last couplet is, “After the lovin’, I’m still in love with you.” Now that’s what I’m talking about!

I’m curious if readers agree with me that the post-coital moments constitute the best part of a romance novel? If not, what is your favorite story element? I’ll give away a copy of a book from my backlist to a poster chosen at random.


marybelle said...

It's the lead up to sex that is fun to read. The 'dance' between partners. The electricity.


Jo's Daughter said...

I think the lead up to the first kiss is the best part of the romance novel. It makes me feel young and hopefull. There is also that tension, expectation... And I just love a great kiss.

Darlene Gardner said...

Marybelle and Jo's Daughter, that's a great answer. It seems that's true of television shows, too. Take The Office, for example, with the great office romance between Pam and Jim. Once they got together and got married, their interplay wasn't as fun to watch any more.

I'm about to go missing in action until mid-afternoon Eastern time. I'm visiting family and need to drive home. I'll check in later.

Lil said...

I hadn't thought about it before but can certainly understand your point. I also enjoy the building in awareness between hero and heroine as they fall in love.

Becky said...

I never really thought about it. I understand your point. I like the lead up the the first kiss, but I also like interplay between the characters after the sex.

Darlene Gardner said...

I'm back home after a long, pretty drive. I meant to publicly thank Lee earlier for having me as a guest. It's always such an honor.

I was thinking about my post during the trip. Another part of a romance novel I really like is the first meet. Often it's even more interesting when the heroine and hero are initially antagonistic.

Estella said...

I like the part that leads up to the first kiss.

Leni said...

I enjoy learning about the characters and falling in love with them. Because that leads me to care about what happens to them.

Darlene Gardner said...

I like the build-up to the first kiss, too, Becky and Estelle. Lil, you made a great point about the building awareness. And Leni, good characters are what make a good read.

I'm starting to think I like just about every part of a romance novel! Maybe that's why I write them.

Laurie G said...

I'm afraid that I too enjoy that first spark of attraction whether wanted or not. Then the actions and reactions that lead to the beginnings of the relationship.