(AND NOT JUST ABOUT SEX)
by Sandra Hill
Years ago, a wise editor told me that readers like to learn something from books. And, no, she wasn’t talking about non-fiction books, or even novels with specific themes, like cancer, or divorce, or child abuse, or whatever. She was referring to romance novels.
In the context of her remark, we were talking about one of my Cajun novels, in which a secondary character had a collection of antique Roseville pottery (which I also happen to collect). I had asked whether it was too much info for the romance reader. And, no, it wasn’t an info dump, as many writers are fond of doing. (We can’t help showing off our research.) She meant that here and there, almost incidentally, readers like learning something new, even in their romance novels.
So, that got me thinking. First about other authors.
–I love Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series, especially the later ones where Claire is living in 1700s America and has to do things, like make soap, treat a wound, or cook over an open fire.
–Robyn Carr’s WILDEST DREAMS (a Thunder Point book) taught me lots about professional triathetes in an unobtrusive, interesting way.
–Suzanne Brockmann’s TROUBLESHOOTER series gave me a first look a few years back into Navy SEALs, and I’ve loved reading about those special warriors ever since.
–Elin Hilderbrand’s novels about Nantucket make me want to move there. Her settings are almost like characters in her wonderful books.
–Tami Hoag’s old novel, LUCKY’S LADY, gives a great picture of Louisiana bayou life.
–Kristin Higgins has many books written in the setting of a New York state winery. Can’t help but develop a thirst and learn a little bit about wines.
–FIFTY SHADES OF GREY! Okay, I couldn’t miss that one. You know what we learned in that book.
And then there are my books:
–I’ve written more than forty books about Vikings, Cajuns, Navy SEALs. My readers have to have gleaned some info about their various cultures. In fact, I’ve been immensely pleased to see in the VIKINGS series on the History Channel that I’ve gotten lots of details just right.
–THE RED-HOT CAJUN teaches a lot about the environmental disasters affecting the Louisiana bayou ecosystem via its hero Rene LeDeux, an environmental activist.
–My JINX series is about treasure hunting, and one of the books in the series, PEARL JINX is about cave exploring and Amish living.
–SNOW ON THE BAYOU…Mardi Gras masks.
–THE VERY VIRILE VIKING…wine making in California.
–KISS OF TEMPTATION, one of my Deadly Angels books, a view into Angola Prison.
–THE VIKING TAKES A KNIGHT, beekeeping.
So, do you like learning the occasional facts in your romance novels? Can you think of some examples?
Which brings us to my latest book, which just came out this week, THE ANGEL WORE FANGS, another Deadly Angels book. In this novel, vangel Cnut Sigurdsson and acclaimed pastry chef Andrea Stewart are accidentally thrown back in time, for a short period, to the tenth century Norselands. Readers will learn there how Andrea manages to make cream-filled donuts and sourdough bread in rudimentary conditions at a time and place where only unleavened bread is available. There will also be some lessons about the threat ISIS is to the world today. And like all my Viking and Deadly Angels books, there is that tantalizing Viking S-Spot, not to be confused with the modern G-Spot. Laughter and sizzle guaranteed.
For more information about the endearing but clueless Cnut, who sports a Ragnor Lothbrok hairstyle (Enough said!), check out my website at www.sandrahill.net or my Facebook page at Sandra Hill Author.
As always, wishing you smiles in your reading.