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  • Writer's pictureWalker Buckalew

Those Tricky Background Romances

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Those Tricky Background Romances

All my novels have at least one background romance that develops along with the main themes. Since my stories comprise of action/mystery fiction, these secondary romance elements are never allowed to move to the center of the plot. But those background love stories are never without importance, either.

I have found it easier to succeed with the romance-writing themes when a particular couple is at the center of the main plot than when a couple is not. So, the love stories in the first and second Rebecca novels, featuring Rebecca and Matt, and in the fourth, featuring Luke (Rebecca’s twin brother) and Kory, were easier to write than the secondary love stories in the second novel, featuring Eleanor and Sid, in the third, featuring Lois and Richard, Andrea and Giuseppe, and Sofia and Luke (you didn’t evenremember them, did you?), or in the in-process novel, the fifth, featuring Jack McGriff and Marie Campbell.

When the falling-in-love couple is at the center of the action/mystery developments, the bond between them is strengthened by the fact that they are together in the toughest and most dangerous parts of the story. The fact that they are forced into life-and-death decisions and actions as a two-person team means that their romantic attraction to each other is automatically given a depth that would be much less likely to materialize than if they were getting to know each other in the usual ways.

In A Fearful Thing, Jack McGriff is a significant new character, introduced for the first time in the Rebecca Series. His love interest, Marie Campbell, is a secondary character, important as much because McGriff is falling in love with her as for any other reason. So it is that, in the most tension and danger-filled scenes, McGriff is paired with Rebecca, the central character in the entire series of novels, rather than with Marie, who, in those critical scenes, is usually not even present.

And that’s what I mean when I say it is harder to develop the love story when the (potential) couple is not at the center of the action/mystery. They are not being driven together by the life-and-death need to be mutually supporting in the maelstrom into which they have been thrust.

And this makes their romantic approaches to each other more tentative… more hesitant… less obviously necessary.

None of that is bad.

It’s just harder to write.

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