Guest Post (+ Giveaway): Why I Write Romance by Serena Bell

by - Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blog Tour - Yours to Keep by Serena Bell

Today, let's all welcome Serena Bell, author of Yours to Keep, a Loveswept contemporary romance novel. Take a look at her guest post >> Don't forget to check out the giveaway below as well! :)

Welcome to My Book and My Coffee where I’m delighted to be making a stop on my Yours to Keep blog tour. Yours to Keep is the story of Ana, a Dominican-American woman who has been hiding her undocumented status for twenty years, since her parents’ immigration mistake forced her into a life of secrecy. Ana begins tutoring the son of a handsome, wealthy pediatrician in a town near the beleaguered city where she lives, and discovers that her passionate feelings for her student’s father are overcoming her fear of opening her life and heart.

I decided I wanted to write a romance after a friend got me hooked on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander and another friend started me down the path of reading all the books on All About Romance’s top 100 list ( I’d read a little bit of romance as a teenager, but it had been a long time, and I was thrilled to rediscover a kind of reading that was totally transporting. I wanted to make people feel the joy and giddiness romance authors had made me feel. 

I was torn between writing historical and writing contemporary. I didn’t want to do the research that historicals required, but I loved how in historicals, the hero and heroine were driven apart by real, it implacable social forces—they weren’t just having trouble working things out because one of them had had a bad breakup a few years ago. Plus I loved the tropes in historicals: wagers, marriages of convenience, loving the governess. 

They say the best way to become a writer is to write the book you wish existed, so ultimately, that’s what I did.  I decided to write a contemporary using a historical trope. Arranged marriage was my favorite trope, so I decided to work with that one. The first question I asked myself was, “Under what circumstances might people decide to have an arranged marriage in the contemporary U.S.?”

I’d been researching illegal immigration for a series of nonfiction articles. I wasn’t thinking about movies like Green Card or The Proposal. I was only thinking about the people I’d met who were undocumented, and how complicated their lives were. I decided that an arranged marriage between an undocumented immigrant and a U.S. citizen would come closest to the kind of book I was trying to write—one where the stakes, social and personal, were real, and the consequences of falling in love could ruin lives.

I didn’t know anything about the rules of romance. The only thing I knew was that the characters usually had sex around the halfway point, and something really bad happened around the three quarters point, and right at the end, when there was about ten percent left to the book, there was a big climactic moment. I’d figured that out by reading a whole bunch of paperbacks and sticking my thumbnail in the book every time I reached one of these recognizable points. It wasn’t very scientific.  But that—and a gut sense of narrative structure I’d learned writing literary fiction—was enough to get the job done. Ana and Ethan, Theo and Ricky, and their whole cast of crazy family members were born, and I hope you enjoy spending time with them as much as I enjoyed discovering them and dreaming up their antics.

What is your favorite romance trope? Do you read both historical and contemporary, and if so, do you have a preference?  Are there things you like more about one subgenre than the other, and do you think that the subgenres can learn and borrow more from each other?


About Serena's book, Yours to Keep:

Guest Post for Yours to Keep Blog Tour - Serena Bell
Yours to Keep by Serena Bell
A Loveswept Contemporary Romance
On sale: November 11, 2013
Serena Bell makes her Loveswept debut with the captivating story of a woman living on the edge—and the man who’s destined to love her.

Ana Travares has been looking over her shoulder her whole life. Her U.S. visa expired when she was a young girl, and if her secret is discovered, she’ll be forced to return to the Dominican Republic. Ana allowed herself to get close to someone once before—and after he broke her heart, she swore never to make the same mistake again. But when a handsome doctor asks for her assistance, she fantasizes about breaking all her rules.

Even though pediatrician Ethan Hansen is a natural when it comes to little kids, as the single father of a teenage son he just can’t seem to get it right . . . except for the Spanish tutor he’s hired for his son, Theo. Ana has managed to crack Theo’s shell—and he isn’t the only one taken with her. The sexy tutor has fired up Ethan with a potent mix of lust and protectiveness. But as he starts to envision a future with Ana, Ethan is devastated to learn the truth about her citizenship. Somehow he’s got to find a way to help her—and hold on to the woman he’s falling hopelessly in love with.
About the Author: 

Serena Bell - Author
Serena Bell writes stories about how sex messes with your head, why smart people do stupid things sometimes, and how love can make it all better. She wrote her first steamy romance before she was old enough to understand what all the words meant and has been perfecting the art of hiding pages and screens from curious eyes ever since—a skill that’s particularly useful now that she’s the mother of two school-age children. 
Connect with Serena: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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3 Dazzling Comments

  1. I love the synopsis of this book... it sounds really good and I have to admit the cover drew me in.... Great Cover seriously!!! Thanks for the post above and this lovely giveaway!!!!

    1. Hi Melissa. :) Yes, it really is! Me too! LOVE THAT COVER :D :D

  2. Hi Melissa! Thanks so much for stopping by. And thanks for the cover and synopsis love! I look forward to having you as a reader!