This week’s topic happens to be one of my contributions to the “idea pool” for this quarter. It stems from a remark one of my daughters made after listening to me describe a work-in-progress. She said, “All your books have…” and she proceeded to list several common themes.
I’ve mentioned some of the things she pointed out in previous posts, and as one reader pointed out, these aren’t necessarily bad things to repeat, but can be considered part of my writing style. Perhaps I could even go so far as to say that they make up my platform. And if that’s so, I’m okay with that.
So, what do my books have in common? Well, most of them are relatively short. Almost all range in length from 17,000 to 40,000 words, putting them in a category called novella. Of my fourteen published books, only three weigh in at more than 50,000 words, which for some romance publishers is the minimum length to be considered a novel. Of those three novels, only one (The Samurai’s Garden) was written entirely by me. The Calico Heart and The Friendship Star Quilt were both written with my friend and local author Stephanie Michels. I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve spent so much time teaching (making it necessary to say what I have to say within a limited amount of time), or if it’s because I’m too impatient to read longer books, articles, blog posts, etc. and figure other people are, too.
Another thing you’ll find is at most of the time, my heroine shares one or more of my interests. I suppose that’s because I need to show that they have a life. And the life I know best is, well, mine. So many of my characters, when they’re not working or solving whatever issues they have, are sewing, crafting, playing with kids, reading, or making music.
Finally, every single story I write ends happily for the main characters. Because that’s what romance is. Whether there’s a wedding in the works, or they’re heading for a permanent relationship, or happy-that-we’re-good-friends-but-not-a-couple, both characters are satisfied with where they are, and normally they’re happier than they were at the beginning. The external conflict has been solved (or at least their part of it), and their personal story arcs have been achieved.
So there’s my basic analysis of what you’ll find in my books. Perhaps my readers could come up with more, but these are the characteristics I’m aware of. What common threads do you find in your favorite author’s books?