by Nhys Glover
They say the Romance novel is about wish fulfillment. Marrying a billionaire. Taking a biker lover. Healing the wounded heart of a soldier. Lots of secret wishes a woman might like fulfilled for her by an author when she opens a book.
When I'm contemplating writing a new novel, I often sit down and ask myself what my ideal reader's greatest wish might be. As she's a lot like me, it makes answering that question easier.
Before I started Nine Lives, this was the answer I got: She wanted to be young again, while retaining her old mind. She'd worked hard to acquire knowledge and wisdom over her lifetime; she wasn't willing to trade that mind for a new body.
Fair enough. So how could I make that happen through her surrogate, the heroine of my story?
She needed a new body, maybe cloned from her DNA, into which her consciousness could be placed. That isn't possible yet, (if it ever will be) so I had to set my story in the future. But that's not much good to her right now, is it? I needed to be able to get her to that future…
Ta Dah: Time Travel, of course!
An interesting thing happened then. As I started to write from that seed, I realised I was actually fulfilling an even greater wish. My heroine wasn't just getting any number of new improved bodies that would extend her life indefinitely, she was getting the hero. This was a Time Travel Romance, not just Time Travel, after all. And Cara, my heroine, was getting way more than just renewed youth and a hot lover; she was being offered the possibility of a love that could last forever.
Her hero, Jac, was a seemingly much younger guy who loves Cara no matter how she looks. That is a fantasy women of all ages could relate to. And it was fun playing with that wish to see where it would take a character like my heroine, who didn't have a Cougar bone in her body.
There's a lot of freedom granted an author of time travel, but there are also strict constraints that, if broken, will throw a reader out of their suspended belief and leave them saying, 'That's not possible.' It's like granting a wish and then taking it back. Not good form. So, from those few questions and the answers that followed, I had to build a whole believable world that remained consistent, sticking to the rules I'd created for it.
What you have to understand about my method is that I have no plan or blueprint when I start writing. My books just evolve. If I knew what happened in the end, I doubt I would have finished writing any of them. The fun for me is letting the book write itself so I can find out what happens next. That is the ultimate wish fulfillment for me.
The finished Nine Lives gave my readers (and me) a taste of what it was to have a love that could last forever (without being a vampire), and of the challenges that could arise from it. And for me it seeded even more questions and answers that eventually resulted in thirteen novels in the New Atlantis series, with a new one on the way.
So as a reader, ask yourself whether a love that could last forever is a secret wish you'd like fulfilled. If so, try Nine Lives or Vampire fiction. If not, what is your greatest wish? Share it here as a comment. I'm sure someone can suggest a book that meets it. Underneath, our wishes and dreams are not all that different.
At home in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales of England, Nhys these days spends most of her time "living the dream" by looking out over the moors from her window as she writes the kind of novels she loves to read. The ones that are a little bit steamy, a little bit different and wholly romantic.
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Nhys' Featured Time Travel Romance: Nine Lives
Because it comes naturally to a teacher of autistic kids to help, Cara decides to take the second option. By doing so she unwittingly opens herself up to a passionate new love in an unimaginable new world, where clones extend lifespans and time travel is used to repopulate a decimated human population.
To Jac, Cara appears to be the ideal target for Retrieval: a worthy, productive human being. But when her free-thinking individualism begins to clash with his peaceful, highly regulated world he has to rethink his priorities. How much is he willing to change to keep this loving, beautiful woman in his life? And, more importantly, is he prepared to break the rules that define their very existence to stay with her.
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