Now Reading
Marissa Meyer on creating romances that will stay in readers’ memories for a long time

Marissa Meyer on creating romances that will stay in readers’ memories for a long time

Romance is always front and center for me when I start writing any new book, regardless of whether it’s a sci-fi space opera, a superhero action series, or—as in the case of my newest novels—sweet contemporary romances with a hint of magic. I want my readers to have a full experience of emotions as they’re reading. I hope they get caught up in heart-pounding action and feel devastating heartache and laugh at the lighthearted moments… but I also hope to make them fall in love. I’m always trying to create romances that will stick around in readers’ memories for a long time.

To try to accomplish this, I aim to create characters that 1) Can’t help falling in love with each other, and 2) Have some pretty big obstacles keeping them apart.

The first part of that equation lends itself to a fair amount of soul searching. What sort of person am I attracted to? What personality traits make me go starry-eyed? This might seem like it would lead to all my love interests being photocopies of the others, but it turns out, there are so many things that make a person attractive! Wit. Charm. Bravery. Loyalty. Silliness. Intelligence. Confidence. Compassion. Talent. Generosity. The list goes on… we could be here for a while. As I get to know the protagonist and love interest, I want the reader to easily be able to see why these people are drawn to each other. More than that—I want the reader to feel like they’re falling in love right alongside them!

For each of my couples, I eventually get to a point where I can point to the exact moment when the sparks started to fly.

In Instant Karma, Quint can’t help being attracted to Pru when he sees her shake off her typical uptightness and let loose on stage at karaoke night, whereas Pru starts to fall for him when he takes her snorkeling and opens her eyes up to the beautiful world she’d written off before.

In With a Little Luck, Jude can’t help but admire Ari’s easygoing confidence—whether she’s dancing through the aisles of a record store or strumming her guitar to the songs she’s written (though admittedly, it takes Jude a while to realize it). And Ari is one of the few people who can see past Jude’s shyness to recognize the sweet and artistic person he is.

But there wouldn’t be much of a romance if these characters just admitted their feelings and got together on page two! Rather, once I know why these characters are made for each other, the fun part is figuring out how to keep them apart, to give readers that long, agonizing slow-burn, all the “will they or won’t they” tension that keeps us turning the pages. For me, that’s the best part.

So why do Pru and Quint take so long to see past their differences? And how does Jude finally realize he’s been in love with Ari for years?

You’ll have to read to find out… and I hope the discovery will make you swoon!

Instant Karma and With a Little Luck are out now in paperback via Faber & Faber

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.