At the Squishy Heart of Romance

I’m happy to add to this set of Valentine’s week posts with the fourth member of the Love Between the Covers authors’ panel, Adriana Anders. Please scroll to the bottom for details on how you can see this powerful documentary for free, win prizes, and meet the four of us .

In the meantime, please help me welcome, Adriana Anders as she ponders what is at the squishy heart of romance.



author Adriana Anders
Author Adriana Anders

What is romance? For me, it changes year by year. When I was a kid, I thought of flowers and poetry, traveling the world with a boy, hand-in-hand. Today, with two little kids at home and the work and the writing, I’d say a good night’s sleep is pretty darned special. But romance? Real romance?

My personal romance started off with long, slow, late-night walks along the Seine on my now-hubby’s arm, mist turning streetlights into halos, obliterating cars and shifting us into another century. Unexpected flowers on a random day. And, honestly, the most romantic thing the man has done for me recently was to send me to bed when I was sick. Just go, go, he said, pressing a hot toddy into my hands and cooking dinner, doing bath-time and bedtime. That, between diapers and school lunches, is romance.

Not quite what you expect from a romance novel, though, is it? Romance readers are looking for something more—different things, judging from the number of voices and sub-genres we gravitate toward. So, what’s at the squishy pink heart of romance? The thing that ties them all together as a genre? The ubiquitous Happily Ever After, of course. But before that, there’s got to be something to keep us coming back for more, right, book after book? I read dozens of romances a year, adore them, devour them. What is it about them, I wondered, that I love so much?

Heart Hand couple
Courtesy Adriana Anders

After some thinking, I’ve narrowed it down to the three things that sum up romance, in my book. The three romantic musts to make a heart explode:

• The Connection: There’s a reason our heroine and hero end up together. Whether they’re soul mates or just have extra hot chemistry, this is romance’s je ne sais quoi, the thing that hooks us, that convinces us these two need their happy ending.

• The Struggle: Real life love stories aren’t easy, so why should the book version be any different? In fact, a good romance gives us obstacles that may seem insurmountable—of the characters’ own making or someone else’s. How can he possibly break through her hard-as nails exterior? Will his depression keep him from recognizing the best thing in his life? Motorcycle Clubs, gangsters, parents and Earls: they’re all perfect foils for our love-sick couples.

Kissing in the snow
Courtesy Adriana Anders


• The Partnership: By teaming up, our lovers accomplish things they never imagined they could. In romance, a couple is stronger together than apart. I love this bit, towards the end, when everything comes together. This is my Happily Ever After, when my characters recognize how great their love makes them and 1 + 1 = BOOM!

There are other facets to romance, of course. Things like humor, mystery, faith or kink. Do you have any romance must-haves? What makes your little reader heart go pitter-patter?

Adriana Anders writes dark, moody love stories where the Happily Ever After is hard -earned. Her three-book series, Blank Canvas, is coming from Sourcebooks Casablanca, early 2017.

Adriana can be found on Twitter and Facebook, where she talks way too much about her kids, her cat and her heroes, real and fictional, and on Pinterest, where you’ll hopefully find some ‘inspiration’ of your own.  Adriana can be found online at, or on Twitter: @AdrianasBoudoir, on Facebook: Adriana Anders Author, and on Pinterest: Adriana Anders

Remember to come meet Adriana, Tracee Lydia Garner, Delancey Stewart, and me, Diana Belchase at the Love Between the Covers free screening at the Ashburn public library, this Saturday, February 13, 2016 at 2 PM.  There will be prizes and chocolate and lots of fun. The documentary looks at the romance novel culture — both among authors and among fans. The four of us will be talking about romance in books — the covers mentioned in the title.  😉 Hope to see you there! Here is the address: 43316 Hay Road, Ashburn, VA 20147. 

LBTCovers 2-13-2015


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