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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Virgin is In

There was a question on one of our Downunder writing loops recently about why so often heroines in romance novels are virgins and how unrealistic it was in this day and age to be writing contemporary novels featuring inexperienced twenty-something heroines.

Now I don't think virgins are either as rare in real life as some would have us believe, or that contemporary novels are full of them - I think it depends on what you read - but I have to admit to writing a few of them myself:-)

So far I've had The Italian's Virgin Bride, in January 07 we have The Greek's Virgin to look forward to, and right now on the shelves is my A Virgin for the Taking (Hint - if you like gorgeous pearls, to die for heroes and romance under tropical sunsets- you'll love this book:-))

And okay,if you look at the titles of the latest Presents releases and you'll find plenty more sprinkled amongst the Greek Tycoons and Italian Stallions. Some might think it's a home away from home for virgins:-)

But not all my heroines are virgins. None of them, however, are sex in the city girls - it wouldn't fit the line, whereas it might work perfectly well in other lines or in single title.

I want my readers to be able to empathise with the heroine, so I don't want her to fall in bed with every guy she meets. I want her to be a tad more selective. And maybe, even though perhaps she's had sexual encounters in the past, they've left her cold or uninvolved or unimpressed or whatever (enter Mr Sex-on-Legs hero - she's incredibly drawn to him but damned if she's going to give into it in a hurry).

But whether the heroine is a virgin or not, it has to fit the story and be true to the character and to the tone of the book. When you're talking high stakes and drama (as in the Presents line), a hero who has the hots badly for a woman and who must possess her at all costs, then her being a virgin can be one more factor that ratchets up the stakes. That's certainly the case in my A Virgin for the Taking - discovering that the woman he believes to have been his father's mistress is a virgin is crucial to the hero's journey in that story (and that's not giving anything away, crikeys the title manages to do that quite nicely, thank you very much!). Hopefully I've also built into her history a reason why she's avoided men these past few years.

It's also worth remembering that the Presents is first and foremost a fantasy line. Larger than life heroes, larger than life situations. For instance, how often do blackmail or arranged marriages or deep seated revenge or secret babies happen in our everyday lives? I'd wager not that often. And yet this one line's books are full of just those things. They're hooks, hopefully set well enough in a believable context so that the reader becomes that heroine, and is transported away to a world of high stakes, high conflict and high passion. And heck, we all deserve a bit of the latter, eh?

Just before I sign off, I want to send huge congratulations to our fellow noodler, Jenna Ness, who just this month became the latest Presents author!! Apart from being a fabulous writer and Golden Heart winner, Jenna is the most gorgeous woman and I'm over the moon to think that sometime soon our books might be shelfmates together!

Congratulations Jenna, a soon to be wetnoodleposse bestseller!!


At 9:46 PM, Blogger Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Trish, who cares? your stories are incredible and I'll always have you on my auto-buy so them them coming.......

At 2:29 AM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

Wow Marilyn, I didn't expect to see you here! Great going and thanks so much for the comment!

Marilyn has given me a gorgeous review of A Virgin for the Taking and is just such a fabulous supporter of the line.

Thanks Marilyn!

At 4:05 AM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

PS Marilyn - wait till you read Jenna's books - I've only read a sample, but from what I've seen, I can guarantee you'll love them!

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

I think this is a great description of the Presents line and it so accurately explains the appeal. I think it should be an article somewhere. Like in RT or at least in an RWA chapter newsletter.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Oh my gosh, Trish, you're making me blush! Thanks for the praise, and as I've said many times, I never would have even finished the book if you hadn't told me to go for it. ;)

Marilyn, your name sounds very familiar -- I think we might have met at the Emerald City conference a few weeks ago? You were talking quite a bit with my roommate, Tatia. I was the pregnant redhead who was constantly waiting in the buffet line. *grin*

Trish, I totally agree with you about the virgin fantasy. Remembering the first time, when love and sex were both so overwhelming and new, can create strong emotions in many women. Just like remembering the first time you realized you were pregnant and had to figure out how to tell the father. Stories with virgins and secret babies and revenge and amnesia are popular for a reason. Like you say, it's high conflict, high passion, and also high glamour.

It's what I love so much about your books, and the whole line really: I get so involved with your ruthless tycoon, the plucky, in-jeopardy heroine, and the gorgeous locations (a palace on the Mediterranean, a luxury villa on Australia's Gold Coast, a Ferrari racing through Rio) that I forget all about the laundry piling up and let the chicken-and-broccoli casserole burn. (Fortunately, it doesn't hurt the taste really - my cooking is pretty much DOA.)

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

Thanks Diane, that's a good thought! I just might do that.

Jenna, I loved your blog on the Emerald City conference and the piccies - you look great with Jane Porter!

Love the article on you in this month's ezine too!

At 9:21 PM, Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

I started to read this in the bath tub tonight and stayed in so long the water got cold! I just couldn't get out.

I'm loving it.

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

LOL Colleen, who needs warm water when you've got a hot hero?:-))

Thanks so much! I really hope you enjoy the rest of it.

I had such a ball writing Zane and Ruby's story - the moon, the pearls, the tropical heat - it made for a great setting for a romance.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Colleen Gleason said...

I'm really enjoying the Virgin, Trish. I started it in the tub the other night, and didn't get out until the water was bone cold. :-)

At 8:13 AM, Blogger bridget said...

Trish, I think you're right, there are more gals out there with the v-chip than people might think! Part of what I did in graduate school was study surveys, questionnaires and statistics, and sexuality is one of the top subjects people lie about in questionnaires. So whatever we're hearing about the alarming sexual behaviors prevalent in today's society...I take it with a whole shaker of salt.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Trish, I loved your Story about Ruby, I couldn't put it down I was up until 12 something this morning finishing it. I also read your book Stolen By the Sheikh which featured Ruby's sister Sapphire (I loved that one too). Although I would like to know did Sapphire's twin Opal also have her own story? I was wondering if I had missed that book all together, because I grew to love these characters

Ebony Mckennie,

New Jersey

At 4:18 PM, Blogger Trish Morey said...

Hey Bridgey Didge, great to see you here. The V-chip. I like that! And I think you're so right, people are much more likely to boast about their sexual experience than their sexual inexperience. No wonder it's all we hear about.

Hi Ebony! I have just received your email today too. As you deduced, Opal's story, The Italian's Virgin Bride (there's that V word again:-)) will be out in the US in May 07. I don't know why it's taken so long as it was the second book I wrote for Presents and seeing it's the first of the Clemenger sisters' stories, it's a bit of a shame it's coming out last of all. Talk about confusing!

But I'm delighted to hear you enjoyed Ruby's and Sapphire's stories and I really hope you enjoy Opal's story when it does come out.


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