Saturday, January 28, 2017

DO I WRITE ROMANCE? by Terry Shames

Roses and Readers, welcome our guest today, Terry Shames.
I don’t write romance. Ha! Everybody writes romance. If they don’t, their writing is flat and uninteresting. Without romance, life wouldn’t be much fun. I don’t necessarily mean “sex,” although that’s a nice part of some romance. I mean the interplay between two people that gives them a little thrill, that makes them think of life’s possibilities, that puts a little spring in their step. 

The protagonist of my Samuel Craddock novels is a man in his sixties who used to be chief of police and in the initial book, A Killing at Cotton Hill, takes on an investigation because the current chief is a drunk. In a later book he becomes the chief of again. He’s not ready for a romance because his beloved wife has just died. He’s a great guy who takes his responsibilities seriously, who has integrity and compassion, and a strong sense of justice. All of which makes him catnip to the women in his life. I don’t know about you, but his loyalty makes him even more appealing. That’s why I frequently get the question from readers: Is Samuel Craddock ever going to “get any?” I’ve even had readers tell me they’d like to marry Samuel Craddock. 

In the early books, the romances are limited to his next door neighbor and an older woman down the street, his good friend Loretta. But in the third book a new woman comes to town, Ellen Forester. She has a mean ex-husband stalking her, and Samuel’s protective side kicks in. Tentative interest ensues, but no “action.” 

I actually like the tease more than the idea of putting sex into the novels. As is true in life, sometimes the lead-up (okay, foreplay) is more exciting than the action. I have found myself unwilling to commit my protagonist to hopping into bed with one of the possible partners. But when I decided to write a prequel in which Samuel is about thirty years old, I knew I couldn’t be coy about sex He and his wife have been married for six year and they want to have a baby. The only question I had was when and how the sex would get onto the page. 

I’m not timid. When my husband started reading the prequel, he laughed out loud and said, “Wow, first page?” Yep. I decided there was no reason to pussy-foot around. 

I’m now back to current times and Craddock’s relationship with Ellen has heated up. But, as in real life, the course of love is not necessarily going to run smoothly. Ellen has a secret that she’s reluctant to share with Samuel. And furthermore her grown children have bamboozled her into having Thanksgiving with them and her ex-husband. Should Samuel be worried? I hate to tell you, but I haven’t quite that out yet. Stay tuned for more romance!

Terry Shames writes the best-selling Samuel Craddock series, set in small-town Texas. A Killing at Cotton Hill won the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. Mystery People named Shames one of the top five Texas mystery writers of 2015. Her sixth novel, An Unsettling Crime for Samuel Craddock, January 2017, received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and has been nominated for a Lefty for Best Mystery. For more, see


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

Thank you for being a guest on The Roses today. We also enjoy hearing a fresh voice. Almost all of us are romance writers of one flavor or another. Some of us are mystery writers, too. And one in particular...*cough*...would like to try her hand at mystery or political thriller. I love the premise of your series and your hero. I can see why your readership want him to have a little spice in his relationships. He's a hero in their eyes and every hero needs a heroine.

Diane Burton said...

Welcome, Terry. Your protagonist sounds like a great guy, a real hero. As Vonnie says, we all write different genres/sub-genres, but the romance flourishes whether the story is sweet or hot or somewhere in between. As I get older, I'm more drawn to the old movies whether the bedroom door is closed. My imagination can provide the details. Best wishes on your series, esp. the new book.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Glad to have you with us, Terry. For me, the mysteries of a relationship add complexity to the suspense/mystery in the plot. Just as the the 'case' proves difficult to solve, the hero/heroine seem destined NOT to get together. Readers love the chaos because it makes their own lives look calmer in contrast. Most important: to have fun with our writing and take some risks! Looks like you've got that covered!

Jannine Gallant said...

Samuel sounds like a great guy, and your series obviously provides quirky characters along with the mystery. A big plus! Best of luck with it!

Leah St. James said...

So happy to have you joining us today, Terry. I love your not-ready-for-romance guy! (But I also have to check out that prequel!) I'm with you on the romance thing. Isn't it human nature to crave romance, to enjoy the story of two people finding each other? Sometimes it's meant to be, sometimes...not so much. Great topic!

Alicia Dean said...

Wonderful post. Sounds like a great series. I love that your characters are...experienced. :)