Not that I wish anyone pain or suffering, nor do I hope to cause or experience it myself, but people who have been torn apart by circumstance, then put themselves back together, are the only kind I invite into the intimate spaces of my life. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that the heroes and heroines in my historical romance novels always bring baggage to Page One.
Added to this, I am a sucker for a dastardly villain. In order to perform at the highest levels of conscienceless fictional evil, villains' backgrounds must be filled with equally grisly trauma of all types—and they must be willing to inflict the same without compunction.
Because the casts of my books suffer from birth to amuse the reading public, it is only right that—in the end—the hero and heroine get their Happy Ever After. But here, again, I am a fan of the “grown-up” HEA. To me, romance is about the day-to-day—who oversees the laundry maids and approves the castle menus and keeps track of the domestic accounts—much more than dancing and ball gowns and moonlight. Lovers must not only be seduced, but also sustained.
So, in my books, you will find that the ends (and means) may be bittersweet, the reward might be long delayed, and the implications for the characters will likely be farther-reaching than anyone deserves, but when the just deserts are meted out, you will know with surety that the hard-won happy ending will carry them, side-by-side, through the last of the scars on their souls.
A Rose Renamed
a Royal Regard prequel novella, John and Rose's story
Major John Smythe returns from Waterloo a broken man, determined to stay one step ahead of his former life, but when he meets Rose Allen, the sins of his past must be confronted, for without her, he has no hope for a future.
I have always found broken hearts appealing.