Saturday, March 10, 2012

Babes in the book

Do you like babies in your romance novels? For me, the reality of living with babies dictates their level of involvement in the story.

 In something very steamy, where the characters want to make spontaneous, uninterrupted (key word!) love at any opportunity, a baby character might not work as well (though, of course, such passionate love scenes could result in the creation of a baby character.) A sweet, community-based love story practically cries out for babies. And the way the hero and heroine interact with a baby in a book can reveal so much about their personalities.

In my new e-book release Something About Joe my baby character, eighteen-month-old Mitchell, is pivotal to the story. He brings hero, hot biker nanny Joe Martin, and heroine, single mom banker Allison Bradley, together—and also keeps them apart. It is her passionate love for her child that makes Allison fight her attraction to Joe, as she must make life decisions based on Mitchell’s happiness as well as her own. And Joe’s feelings on fatherhood present a stumbling block that he has to work to overcome.

I chose to make Mitchell eighteen months old as he is old enough to have a strong, vibrant personality, say enough words to communicate his feelings about Joe—but young enough to sleep through important scenes between Joe and Allison!

Something About Joe is a reissue of my first published novel Mitchell’s Nanny, and was written at a time when my daughter was still young enough for me to remember her baby behavior and write it into Mitchell. I don’t know why I wrote about a little boy with red hair—maybe a subconscious yearning for the second child I was not destined to have? Whatever, I loved creating this cute little boy and he seems very real to me!

I’ve heard people say they won’t buy a book with a child on the cover—others that will pick it up just because there’s a baby on board. I’d love to know your thoughts about babies in books—or on TV and in movies.Personally, I have a weakness for “secret baby” plots—I love the tension that the secret brings to the story.

Leave a comment to win a free download of my new e-book Something About Joe. Be sure to include your email address.

Something About Joe is available for just $0.99c at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and other e-retailers.

Kandy Shepherd writes fun, feel-good fiction. 

(Baby photos courtesy of


Laney4 said...

Kandy, Kandy, Kandy....
I do not care if a baby is on a cover or not. In years gone by, I simply went by the genre and the back cover blurb. After all, I grew up in the Violet Winspear days of what I consider boring cover pictures - often grainy with only a head shot and/or flowers. Since blogging, I now buy books based on what I've read on the authors' web sites and blogs. The bottom line to me, though, is HOW the story is written and not what it's written about so much. Witty banter, puns, and sexual inuendoes keep me coming back for more - and that can include baby stories.
seytype at hotmail dot com

Michelle Bledsoe said...

I do happen to like babies in the stories. Especially when the hero is the one who has to take care of the baby. It's so heart melting. But your right, I think babies have a place in certain types of stories.
koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

Mary Anne Landers said...

Thank you for your post, Kandy. Just my opinion, but usually I stay away from baby romances.

First, in real life, babies---children of all ages, actually---interfere with romance. Or make it just plain impossible. Hence to this reader, there's nothing romantic about children.

Second, I don't care for the way children are commonly used in romance fiction. A child typically represents a convenient way to force a marriage between the hero and heroine, despite their differences. They come together or stay together for the child's sake. I say they should do so because they love each other; any other reason is sheer contrivance. It just doesn't work for me when, toward the end of the story, the forced-together hero and heroine discover they really love each other.

Nevertheless, I can't write off baby romances entirely. Maybe there are some that would go over well with me. Anyhow, nowadays it's hard to avoid romances with babies and little kids, especially if (like me) a reader goes for feel-good contemporaries.

Keep up the good work!

maryannelanders at centurytel dot net

Kandy Shepherd said...

Such wise words, Laney 4, I totally agree with you. How the story is written is what keeps us coming back to favorite authors. It's all about the voice, isn't it? I know you've enjoyed my books with dog characters so hope you'll enjoy Something About Joe, too!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Heart melting is just the word, isn't it Michelle . I have to admit to happily tearing up with emotion in a well written scene with a baby. My hero Joe Martin is so caring when he's looking after baby MItchell, I quite fell in love with him when I was writing the story!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Such a thoughtful post, Mary Ann, I really enjoyed reading your take on the topic!
It's true that in some novels, the baby is a plot contrivance to get the couple to get together, and it works better in some stories than others. The ones where the baby is a joy, never gets colic, sleeps through the night from the get go, and the billionaire hero provides all the help the heroine needs is probably truly the most romantic! I like it when a baby adds a depth of emotion to a story and brings out the best in the adult characters. However I agree that in many romances, the fantasy of unfettered freedom to love and make love is why I read them--no kids allowed!
I love to see that you like to read feel-good contemporaries, as that is what I like to write!

Anna Campbell said...

Kandy, what a lovely piece. And aren't they cute little munchkins in the picture? I LOVE Something About Joe - goodness me, it takes me right back to the beginning of our friendship when I read it. It's such a wonderful story!

TashNz said...

Hi Kandy. Love the sound of your book. Will put it on my Amazon TBR list.

I don't specifically chose to buy a book because it had a baby in it or on the cover but at the moment it seems to be a popular choice of storyline. I am similar to Mary Ann's post in the way that I read this genre to have a quick and light escape from reality (kids, work, daily hum drum).

But I do have a few faves which include babies/kids. The first that come to mind is Abby Green's The Spainiards Marriage Bargain... the baby (or toddler i think) was pivotal to the story and your heart just aches (from a mums point of view) following Rowan, the heroine'sjourney to build a relationship with HER baby that SHE abandoned which is also a different take on the norm... usually it's the father who's trying to build the relationship.

Another favourite is Michelle Reid's The Arabian Love Child... well he's a child actually but it was necessary and even more enjoyed if you've read the whole series.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Thanks for calling by, Anna! Aren't those baby shots cute? Usually I've got pics of dogs and cats!
You've always been such a supporter of SOMETHING ABOUT JOE, yes it does take us back a while, doesn't it!

Kandy Shepherd said...

There do seem to be a lot of babies around in contemporaries, doesn't there, TashNz? For me, I'm in different moods when I read a romance, sometimes I really enjoy the emotional pull of a baby in the story, others I want pure escapism, a hero and heroine falling in love with none of the complications responsibilities for third little person can throw into the mix!
Thanks for your recommendations, they sound like stories where the baby element really works.
I hope you enjoy SOMETHING ABOUT JOE when it surfaces to the top of your Amazon TBR list, if it's anything like mine it's cyber-toppling!

Pat Cochran said...

Kandy, I very much enjoy babies in stories
and if you have a baby on the cover, you've
got me right away! In fact, seeing a man on
a book cover or in real life, cuddling a
sweet baby really melts my heart! One of the
dearest things I've ever seen was Honey
rocking one of our grandchildren to sleep!

Pat Cochran

Katrina W said...

Honeslty If I have read the authors previous books the cover is not an issue for me.. Karen rose smith Im sure has babes on her covers or cover !

I loved Something about Joe !!! I love a romance and I think that the way you have written this story its realistic how many times in your life, have you and BFriend- hubby had a hot moment and the baby cries lol.. ** snickers**

I personally dont mind whats on any cover, If I judged a book buy its cover I would have missed so many wonderful reads ;)

Its whats inside that counts ;)


TashNz said...

Yes haha - mine is too - i thank the person who thought of the wishlist, it's so good having a cyber list so that the brain doesnt have to remember. I think too thats the best thing about Romances of all kinds - the escapism and the brief joy that there can be happy ever afters :)

Kandy Shepherd said...

Pat, what a lovely image of your Honey rocking the grandchild to sleep. I think I fell more in love with my DH after our daughter was born, he was so brilliant with her, and continues to be so.

Kandy Shepherd said...

Absolutely, Tash, I try to explain that to people who ask why I read (and write!) romance, but some of them just don't get it. I just love to wallow in a happy ending!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hey Kat, how lovely to see you here! I'm so glad you loved SOMETHING ABOUT JOE, and I so appreciated the wonderful reviews you wrote of it.
You are so right about what's inside the cover of the book being so important, that's what keeps us coming back to the author's next books, isn' t it!

Michele L. said...

I am a sucker for a beautiful cover on a book, I will admit. I love artwork and the more colorful it is, the better. I have read many stories with babies in them and they sure make the story realistic. There are times when I just like stories that offer up a hot relationship between a man and a lady.