In the way of updates:

The other day I turned in my revisions of SURRENDER OF A SIREN – so that’s one thing crossed off the list! And now I can turn my complete attention toward wrapping up A LADY OF PERSUASION.

To answer a few questions from the comment thread last week – Yes, we are really taking the darelings on a 14-hour plane trip the day after I return from Nationals. Yikes. And the picture I posted last week was taken on the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

Here’s something on my mind this week: In some conversation on a romance bulletin board (can’t remember exactly where and when), I read someone complaining that she had trouble buying into a book’s Happily Ever After when all the action of a book takes place over an extremely short time – in this case, I think she cited a timeframe of about a week. This reader preferred books where the romance develops over months, because that helped her believe in the HEA.

This got me thinking about my own books and my own reading preferences. It’s funny–on first thought, I would have categorized my books in the “short, intense” column, as opposed to the “get-to-know-you-slowly” group. But when I started thinking about it, I realized they’re not that short. In both GODDESS and SIREN, the action takes place over about five or six weeks, and the hero and heroine of GODDESS have known one another for years before the book even starts. In LADY, there are about 2-1/2 months between page one and page three-hundred-somethin’.

But in all three cases, there’s a window of one or two weeks where all the good stuff happens, *grin*. And I don’t have any problem reading books with short timeframes and believing in the HEA, if the characterization supports it.

This is probably because my own romance with Mr. Dare was such a whirlwind. I think I once calculated that we’d spent fewer than ten days in one another’s physical presence before we got engaged – although those days were spread out over a few months. (However, I’d decided I was going to marry him after day 3 or 4.) And here we are six years into our own HEA – so I really don’t have any difficulty believing in instant attraction and short roads to commitment.

How about you? Do you prefer to read and write romances that are short-fuse explosions of lurve? Or do you prefer the slow burn over months, or even years?

7 comments to “Romances – do you like them short or long?”

  1. terrio
    · June 24th, 2008 at 10:57 am · Link

    First off – big HURRAH!! for turning in SOAS. And I do love the title of the third installment.

    Now, I had to think about this one. I do tend to have trouble believing in the HEA if the story takes place over the course of a week and the H/H didn’t know each other before page one. However, some stories make it work.

    In RS, it’s usually the adrenaline that brings the H/H together and I can see when you’re running for your lives, saving each other at every turn, you can form a bond that will last. But without that adrenaline to push things along, I have a harder time buying it.

    I do believe people can fall in love very quickly after meeting. I’ve done it before. But the *forever* part is where it gets bumpy. For me anyway. If an author does it right, I’ll go with it. But I can see where it would make the story a harder sell.

    Playing Devil’s Advocate though, a story spanning three or six months or even several years doesn’t guarantee I’ll buy the HEA either. As I hear so often, it’s all in the writing.

  2. Alice Audrey
    · June 24th, 2008 at 12:44 pm · Link

    I have run across a couple of romances that seemed too short. We’re talking from zero to commitment in less than three days. Even at that amount of time I’m willing to suspend my disbelief so long as the days in question are both intense, and revealing.

  3. Kelly Krysten
    · June 24th, 2008 at 1:41 pm · Link

    I really like both. The slow one is fun to read but the super fast one can be just as intense. And I think that some people just have an instant connection and when thrown into extreme circumstances they get to know each other faster, and better, than people they could have known for years.

  4. Maria Zannini
    · June 24th, 2008 at 4:01 pm · Link

    Only 10 days with Mr Dare. Wowsa!

    I prefer shorter love affairs. The long ones are okay, but maybe in the context of an epic historical, certainly not in contemporary romance. I think we move too fast in this day and age. Things happen quicker.

  5. Lynne Simpson
    · June 24th, 2008 at 6:00 pm · Link

    Congrats on getting your revisions done and on the upcoming vacation! 🙂

    I definitely believe in short fall-in-love periods, having experienced them myself. One even turned into happily ever after.

    But with books, I agree with Terrio — it’s all in the writing. I’ve read both kinds of stories and been convinced — or the opposite — that the characters would have their HEA, and it pretty much came down to the skill of the writer.

    One thing I noticed in recent books from a former fave author is that she’s having a rough time balancing the suspense/mystery elements with the historical romance, and BOTH sides of the story suffer. The romance, in particular, feels extremely rushed, and the believability of the HEA is compromised. I kinda wish she’d go back to straight historicals, but from what she’s said in interviews, it sounds like she’s not interested in them anymore.

    If I had to pick a favorite story setup and romance duration, I’d choose what you’ve done in GotH. I really enjoy that kind of romantic tension.

  6. Santa
    · June 24th, 2008 at 9:42 pm · Link

    I don’t think I’ve ever given this much thought….but here’s the deal for me. I think love at first sight is not only possible but real. It was for me but it took us five years to get to the alter. For some reason we thought finishing college was important after meeting and falling in love the first weekend we were there.

    Writing – really great writing – can make you believe that love and that HEA can take place over a number of years or in the blink of an eye. What I have to believe in a story is that these two people belong together. If I don’t buy that from the beginning, it really won’t matter how long it takes them to get to their HEA.

  7. La Belle Americaine
    · June 26th, 2008 at 1:58 pm · Link

    It depends on the writing. Many of my absolute favorite screwball comedies have taken place over a really short period of time, but I believe in them because the writing is so good (if not the actors). I think the trouble with short-fuse romances is that a lot of authors focus on developing the sexual relationship to establish the path to “HEA” instead of the emotional and cerebral. I want the h/h to get one another, not just merely in bed–great sex can happen between two incompatible people, but knowing what makes your SO tick? That’s priceless and makes the actual sex sweeter.