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How Much Sadness Can You Take by Kate Hewitt!

We invited author Kate Hewitt to share with us and here she is!

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Now over to Kate...

It’a All About The Angst by Kate Hewitt

 

How much sadness can you take in a book? It’s a question I ask myself a lot, because I tend to gravitate towards serious issues in my stories, and I do like to write and read a fair bit of angst!

 

But if a book is all misery and suffering… well, it’s not much fun to read. So how do you temper the angst with humour and fun and of course, since this is a romance, some flirting and sexual tension?

 In His Brand of Passion, my third Bryant Brothers book, I tried to lighten what feels like a very serious, dark book with the heroine Zoe’s sense of humour. Aaron, sadly, doesn’t have much of a sense of humour at the beginning of the book. He’s driven, focused, burning with ambition and churning with grief. But Zoe? Zoe’s fun. Zoe doesn’t take too much of Aaron’s arrogant bluster; instead she teases him about it, and eventually he learns to laugh at himself. I hope the banter between them lightens the angst of the book.

 

My second summer release, An Inheritance of Shame, also has a lot of sadness and darkness in it—mainly because the heroine, Lucia, lost the hero’s baby seven years before the story starts. Having suffered from a similar loss myself, I wanted to make that very real and poignant, without dragging the story down too much. Again I think Lucia saves the story from being too sad. Angelo, like Aaron, is ambitious and driven—in this case by revenge. And again Lucia isn’t willing to take any of his nonsense! I love a strong heroine, and I think Lucia and Zoe are both some of the strongest I’ve ever written, even though they’ve had their fair share of tragedy too.

 

So what do you think? Do you like your romances to tackle serious or sad issues? How sad is too sad?

24 comments:

  1. Sometimes, I just expect a romance to be a piece of easy-reading fluff. (Potato chip books, I call them.) But in general, I do like to read books I can sink my teeth into... like Jodi Picault books. So a romance that also tackles topics with more substance than fluff would be very appealing to me.

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    1. I like Jodi Piccoult too! But sometimes a read can just be fun and easy, and that's good too. It all depends on your mood, doesn't it?

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  2. I definitely like something that isn't too fluffy, though I know I'll shy away from books I know are going to make me cry. It's a tricky balance to strike, but definitely can be done. I always appreciate a bit of humor thrown into the mix :)

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    1. I like books that make me cry even though I don't particularly like crying :) But if a book can actually move me to tears, I am amazed. That's some powerful writing! But humour even in the midst of sadness is great too--you need a little levity!

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  3. I don't usually read books with issues because I don't like to read characters that whine a lot or are too introspective. I'm more in it for a good time or a good mystery. But if your heroines are not the whiney sort, that's a great start.

    I enjoyed meeting you.

    Waving to Nas :)

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    1. I agree, I don't like a lot of introspection or whining. I think as a writer you always have to be on your guard against that. Often when I'm revising a manuscript I cut out a lot of the introspection. I needed it there to help me figure out the emotional conflict, but then it needs to go!

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  4. Personally, I like to read and writer books with a strong issue involved. Books without issues I find just froth and bubble. I know some books/genres are mainly about entertainment, but I like my entertainment to have a serious side. I like what you've done with your stories.

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    1. Hi Denise, thank you! Occasionally I am in the mood for froth but mostly I like stories with a bit more depth. It does depend on the issue, though, as there are some things I really don't want to read about, although I try to keep an open mind!

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  5. It's all in the author execution for me, and also it depends on the actual issue involved. If it's one that is close to me, I'm less likely to want to read about it.

    I like the way you lightened the tension a bit with humor.

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    1. I agree, it really matters what the issue is. I have different responses to different issues, and my attitude towards the book will change depending on the issue.

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  6. Good question. Grief is okay if there is a glimmer of hope; i.e. the love will conquer all effect. I like books that are well written with realistic scenarios and if I can 'feel' the love and attraction between hero and heroine, then I'm hooked. Yep author execution matters. If you can pull it off and keep the romance brewing then it works.

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    1. I agree, there must be a glimmer of hope! and sometimes just a glimmer is enough :)

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  7. I think sadness is an emotion that works well with romance.

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    1. Interesting... I think it does too, because if there is a sad or serious issue, the stakes are higher and the emotional conflict between the hero and heroine is heightened. One of my pet peeves as a reader is when the conflict between the H and h feels manufactured or fake. I want whatever is keeping them apart to be real, believable, and seemingly immense! Love conquers all :)

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  8. It's probably tough to balance just the right of amount of sadness and grief. If you have some comic relief, it helps.

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    1. It's always a balancing act, Sherry. You need to treat the sadness or serious issue with the sensitivity it deserves, but no one wants to read a soberest or pity party! Comic relief is a good thing, definitely!

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  9. I generally lean toward happy novels, but I'll read sad novels if they're executed well.

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  10. It really depends on my mood. I like novels with a happy or at least hopeful ending, but with some sadness along the way.

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  11. Hi Nas and Kate,

    I thought HIS BRAND OF PASSION balanced humour with tragedy in a beautiful manner. Well done.

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  12. I think if there is sadness intertwined with the romance then there does need to be something to lighten the mood- and humor is perfect. Some reads are pretty light and others have different layers. I like to read different things for different moods. :)
    ~Jess

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  13. I prefer to have some light moments. Balance is needed. I've read a few sad books, but they were either classics or literary, not really specific genre books.

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  14. I think balance is key. Great post! And great recommendations :)

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, with Joy)

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  15. I am so sorry to read about your loss lovely Katie. I wish you well with your fabulous complex romances - I love strong realistic heroines and romances that bring hope and a happy ending!! Makes the eternal romantic inner me very happy!! Take care
    x

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  16. It can be difficult, I think, finding that balance between sadness and levity, but it needs to be done.

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