Wednesday, June 12, 2013

All in the Family – Virginia Kantra

As writers and readers of romance, we tend to focus on the main couple in our stories—you know, man + woman = pair bond. But as women, I think we're hard-wired to pay attention to relationships. All relationships. No man is an island...even if, like the Fletchers of Dare Island, the characters live on one. And no couple can stay marooned in their own little world forever.

Your family helps shape who you are and what kind of person you might want to spend the rest of your life with.

For us to trust in our couple's happy ending, we need to believe that they can make a life beyond the time frame of the story. And that means that they must share their lives outside their relationship. Somehow they must integrate their work, their friends, and their families.

This is the stuff I love to write. My first books (now available for Kindle and Nook) featured the MacNeill brothers. And now I'm writing about the Fletchers, three generations with this wonderful, messy mix of family ties and conflicts.

My new release, Carolina Girl is a reunion story, about first times – first crush, first sex, first big, big mistake – and second chances.

It's about Harvard-educated, New York PR executive Meg Fletcher, who thinks she has everything she’s ever wanted until she loses it all. She comes home to Dare Island to help out at her parents' bed-and-breakfast and runs smack into sexy builder, Sam Grady, her big brother's best friend in high school, who wants...Meg.

I hope you'll enjoy meeting them!
The Fletchers had lived on Dare Island for four generations. Tom Fletcher had served twenty years in the Marines, but Sam remembered the summer Meg’s father had moved his family back into the old house falling down above the bay. Sam’s home life that year had sucked. Stepmom number two—pretty blond Julie, with her magazines and manicures—had moved out at Christmas, and before the school year was even over, Angela, broody, moody, and already pregnant, had been installed in her place. Once Sam might have been excited over the idea of a half sibling, but not then. He was fifteen, for Christ’s sake. It was embarrassing, having a father who couldn’t keep it in his pants sticking it to a woman twenty years younger. 
The old man, of course, had swollen up like a bullfrog over this evidence of his mojo. “You better watch yourself, boy,” he said to Sam. “Got yourself a little brother or sister now coming up behind you. That’s half your inheritance.” 
It made Sam sick. 
That afternoon he’d escaped on his bicycle, taking his time going home after killing a couple of hours on the beach. It wasn’t like anybody would miss him. It was lame, not having a car. The old man had promised Sam a new Jeep Wrangler when he turned sixteen, but with all the fuss over the baby coming, who knew what would happen? So Sam straddled his bike at the bottom of the drive near the rental truck, watching the new family move in: a quiet boy about his own age, with big hands and shoulders; a skinny girl maybe a couple years younger; and a happy little kid who barreled in everybody’s way. 
The front screen slammed. The girl came out of the house and down the walk. Sam was making a study of breasts that summer, as many as he could see up close or get his hands on. This girl was too young and too thin to have much of his new favorite thing, but he liked the way she moved, quick and determined. Her hair was dark and short and shiny. 
She caught him watching and looked straight at him instead of down and away like most girls. Her head cocked at a challenging angle. “What are you looking at?” 
You. He flushed. “Nothing.” 
--from Carolina Girl
So how do you feel about families and friends in romance? Do you think they add to the romance? Or distract from the main couple? Do you have a favorite fictional "family" (Julia Quinn's Bridgertons, Suz Brockmann's Navy SEALS, Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Chicago Stars)? I love to hear from readers. Leave a comment for a chance to win the first book in the Dare Island series, Carolina Home. 

Connect with me through my website on Facebook on Twitter @VirginiaKantra or join my mailing list!

***Virginia's winner is Patsy T!  Please email with your full name and mailing address.  Thanks!***


erin said...

Congrats to Virginia on the newest release! I really enjoy "family" romances. It's great to get to know everyone and the romance just seems more real and relateable :) My fav is Suzanne Brockmann's Navy Seals series too!

Raonaid Luckwell said...

When done once "family" romances are often cute, quirky and just downright heartwarming. Julia's Bridgertons rank right up there on the top, Gaelen Foley's Knight family comes to mind. They may be disfunctionable but I think they fit.
Raonaid at gmail dot com

Tammy said...

Definitely need families!!! I need a background story to really connect with the characters.

Jeannie Moon said...

Hmmm...I love the Concannon sisters in Nora Robert's "Born In" trilogy. I also love the families in Joann Ross's Shelter Bay novels. The people, and the roots they have in their communities, make the books special. Whether it be family by blood, or by location, common ground is what brings the stories closer to my heart. (BTW, I adore Dare Island.)

Patsy T said...

I love the connections between families and friends. I'm very much looking forward to this book.

Pat Cochran said...

I love the Brockmann Seals, too! My favorite
family is Stephanie Lauren's Cynsters, in all
their groupings!

Pat C.

Diana said...

I'm a big fan of Suzanne Brockmann's seals. But any book that starts with the characters meeting and falling in like when they are younger is a book I would love to read.

Mary Preston said...

I don't have an absolute favorite. I think you need the family or friends or both to give you a well rounded story. The main characters can't be totally insular.

Lory Lee said...

Families and friends for me play a very vital role in a romance or any genre for the matter. It's the support group that sometimes lightens or even confuses our heroes and heroines. They add spice to very story in short. :) I do love JQ's Bridgerton's, so as Gaelen Foley's Knight Family (Lucien Knight is my ultimate crush!)

traveler said...

Family and friends are always appealing. They contribute to the dynamics and the relationships which are important in the story. SEP's are always interesting.

Eli Yanti said...

enjoy family story, julia quinn - bridgerstone, johanna lindsey - malory