Friday, February 29, 2008

Guest Blogger - Kate Davies

I’m a sucker for the classics.

Which probably explains how I ended up becoming an English teacher. Shakespeare, Poe, Frost, Hardy…be still my heart!

Then, of course, there are the classics of romantic lit – Austen, Bronte, even L.M. Montgomery.

But there’s another kind of classic that I adore. The classic romance storyline.

Amnesia, friends-to-lovers, secret baby, and marriage of convenience are just some of the classic themes of romance fiction. And I believe that they are all classics for a reason. Their popularity is enduring because they connect to some larger archetype, striking a chord in readers.

So when I set out to write Lessons In Love, I picked one of my favorite storylines—the fairytale classic Cinderella. Creating a fictional European country and populating it with an interesting royal family was great fun, as was tossing a carefree American girl into the mix. I loved playing with the conventions of the theme, adding my own twist to the tried-and-true.

Lessons In Trust, the follow-on book, came about in much the same way. I’d already introduced Princess Lucia in the first book, and needed to find a deserving hero for her. And thus the princess-and-the-bodyguard storyline was called into play.

Both books bring together lovers from two different worlds (look! Another classic theme!), adding an extra layer of conflict to their interactions.

It can be a double-edged sword, using classic themes and storylines. Some may look on the plot as been there, done that. But as King Solomon said in the Book of Ecclesiastes, "there is nothing new under the sun". Even Shakespeare borrowed well-known stories and archetypes. It's what the author does with that theme that makes it fresh and new.

And that's why I love the classics. It's the joy of discovering something new where I'd expected the same old, same old. So whether I'm reading or writing, the classics are what call to me.

How about you? What classic storylines/themes are your favorites?

...because a little spice is nice!


Lucy Monroe said...

Hmmm...I think my ultimate fave classic romance theme is Beauty and the Beast. But not just the physically disfigured beast. I consider those alpha heroes with damaged hearts and no desire to fall prey to love just as sexily beast-y as any disfigured prince. :)

Thanks for coming to guest blog, Kati!

Kate Davies said...

Oh, I love that theme, too. In fact, I love mixing up more than one and seeing what happens. :) And thanks for inviting me to guest blog, Lucy!

Amy said...

Hi Kate, It is great to see you here. I love your books.
I love the Beauty and the Beast and the Cinderella story lines as well. I also love the Boss/Secretary, or employer/employee Stepbrother/Stepsister
sheiks, cowboy's etc...
I really love most story lines as long as the chemistry is really great between the hero and heroine

Jane said...

My favorite themes include revenge, rich boy/poor girl and reunited lovers.

Estella said...

I like Beauty and the Beast and revenge themes.

Cathy said...

I also like the friends to lover's storylines. When he knows everything about you and the sexual chemistry is off the charts.

Maia Strong said...

I like friends-to-lovers, which is mildly ironic. I also like the unexpected pairing - characters that don't immediately leap out at you as the obvious choice to get together by the end.

Kate Davies said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for your comments.

Amy, you made my day! I'm so glad you like my books. I agree -- it's the chemistry that makes the classic storylines work in new books.

It seems like so many of the favorites have built-in tension and conflict -- revenge, friends to lovers, beauty and the beast, workplace romance. And the best thing is, there are so many wonderful classic themes, writers like me will never run out! :)

Brandy said...

Beauty and the Beast, where she falls in love-no that he is "damaged" is one of my favorite. Another is Cinderella, where you have the crossing of lines, whether it be money, class or education never fails to warm my romantic heart. That is after all why they are called classics! Thanks for the thought-provoking question!

byrdloves2read said...

My favorite classic theme is Beauty and the Beast. It has been my fav story since I first "read" it in Classics Illustrated Junior. LOL And, as Lucy said, the beast doesn't have to be physically disfigured, the emotional scars can be just as challenging.

Virginia said...

I am going to have to go with Gone With The Wind, the book that is. The book was better then the movie.

Kate Davies said...

It seems Beauty and the Beast is a very popular theme -- and for good reason! The thought of "taming" the beast inside that wounded man is captivating, isn't it?

And GWTW has plenty of classic themes in it, doesn't it? A touch of Beauty and the Beast, definite (and shifting!) economic and social status lines, revenge...lots to chew on! :)

Thanks again, everyone, for your comments. I had fun, and hope you enjoyed the conversation too!

Stacy~ said...

Hey Kate! Sorry I am so late here.

Me, I love friends who fall in love. To me, that is so achingly emotional, if it's done right, and it's really my favorite theme.

Kate Davies said...

Hi Stacy! No such thing as too late. :) You know I love hanging out on Lucy's blog!

And I'm a big fan of friends-to-lovers storylines, too. Which is why Challenging Carter was one of my favorites to write.