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Guest blogger: Leisl Leighton

2 March 2014

Leisl LeightonWhen romance isn’t enough

I love romance. I love reading it, I love watching it, I love listening to songs about it, I love writing it. When people ask me why I love it, I say to them, ‘Why don’t you?’ and ‘What’s not to love?’

I can honestly say that I can’t remember ever reading anything (except for some of the dreary literary stuff I had to read at university) that didn’t have some kind of romance threaded into it. Humans need love. We need romance. We long for it, dream about it, miss it when it’s not there and feel euphoric in the fresh throws of it. Even in the incredibly popular and epically violent Game of Thrones series, there are budding romances everywhere, a yearning to belong in some individual and whole-hearted way to someone else and they to you, that lifts it from being another dreary medieval fantasy about conniving people searching out the best next way to conquer, to kill or to die, and makes it something truly special that both men and women adore.

However, there is a but (did you feel the but coming?)

I need something else alongside my romance. Romance alone for me is never enough. Don’t get me wrong, I, just like many of you, love to pick up those short romances that centre wholly on the hero and heroine and the passion that threads through their journeys toward each other. They’re quick. They’re snappy. They make me feel all smooshy inside. They are a fabulous way to while away a dreary day, a spark of sunshine if you will. But they also leave me feeling like I wanted more. Like if that supporting character was just brought forward a little more they could have… Or if they’d picked up that piece of paper and discovered a clue to some dark, secret past that someone will kill for then… Or if the hero really did howl at the moon once a month… Or if the heroine sparked magic from her fingers and conjured up a storm to save them all… (excited gasp as fresh ideas pop into my head).

I must have the romance, but I also like a little something else going on. Or a lot of something else. It’s why I was at first drawn to the romantic suspense novels of Nora Roberts, which then led me to wanting even more. I turned to paranormal and fantasy, because not only was there the romance, but whole new worlds were opening up before my eyes with different societal structures and rules and plot possibilities, and usually a whole lot of mystery and suspense as well. These are the books that mostly populate my bookshelves and iPad—series after series by Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, Richelle Mead, Sherrilyn Kenyon, MJ Scott, Keri Arthur and so on. It is also why I like historical romances as well, because they are as much about the manners of the time, the societal expectations, as they are about the romance. The era is a third character just like the ‘world’ in paranormal and fantasy is another character and the mystery in a romantic suspense.

These things for me are a must. Romance plus the third character. And I think this need is clearly reflected in what I write. For years I tried to write the straight romance, but it never quite worked. The third character kept creeping in until I gave into it and let it have its way with my story. This is how my first published novel, Killing Me Softly, came about. And it is also how my new novel, Dark Moon, came about. My original ideas centred around a couple and their romance just wouldn’t work until I accepted that the hero was a werewolf and the heroine a powerful witch hiding her talent from the world. Only then did the story begin to mesh. It flowed through my fingers and onto the computer screen when I finally accepted that the romance just wasn’t enough. I need more. And from the popularity of the genres I read and write in, so do a whole lot of other people.

Romance Plus is what I call it—for when romance is just not enough.

DarkMoon_coverDark Moon

Lately, Skye Collins has been unable to shake the feeling that she’s being watched. After a lifetime spent hiding her true nature, she knows that any unusual attention is something to be wary of. And the only attention she’s been receiving lately is from the intense and attractive Jason McVale.

Jason claims to know things about Skye that can’t be true, and it’s obvious he’s hiding secrets of his own. Yet despite herself, Skye can’t resist the attraction between them, and her surrender will set in motion a chain of events that will have consequences for everyone she holds dear.

Gradually, Jason convinces Skye that she has to trust him if she is to solve the riddle of her past and learn the truth about her power. But believing Jason means that her entire life has been based on a lie.

As her enemies gather strength and the danger increases, Skye is forced to accept who she really is. Will she risk everything and fight for those she loves? Or save herself and let them be destroyed by the forces of darkness?

Leisl is a tall redhead with an overly large imagination. As a child, she identified strongly with Anne of Green Gables. A voracious reader and a born performer, it came as no surprise to anyone when she did a double major in English literature and drama for her BA, then went on to a career as an actor, singer and dancer, as well as script writer, stage manager and musical director for cabaret and theatre restaurants (one of which she co-owned and ran for six years).

After starting a family Leisl stopped performing and instead, began writing the stories that had been plaguing her dreams. Leisl’s stories have won and placed in many competitions in Australia and the US, including the STALI, Golden Opportunities, Heart of the West, Linda Howard Award of Excellence, Touch of Magic and many others.

Leisl lives in the leafy suburbs of Melbourne with her two beautiful boys, lovely hubby, overly spunky dog, Buffy, and likes to spend time with family and friends. She sometimes sings in a choir and works as a swim teacher in her day-to-day job.

Leisl writes paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense. Her romantic suspense, Killing Me Softly, is out now: Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Destiny Romance | Google Play

Her new book, the first in a paranormal series, Dark Moon, is out on 15 March.

You can follow Leisl and find out more about her and her books here: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

  1. Jeanie M permalink
    8 March 2014 10:09 pm

    Thank you Liesl – completely agree with you. I like something added to my romance too.
    Fantastic post, thanks for sharing with ARRA.

    • 9 March 2014 7:01 am

      I’m glad you related. I knew there were more like me out there! 🙂

  2. 4 March 2014 9:54 pm

    Wonderful post that reflects much of myself in what you say.

    Best of luck with Dark Moon.


  3. helensibbritt permalink
    2 March 2014 3:33 pm

    Hi Leisl

    I loved Killing Me softly and am very much looking forward to your new one 🙂

    And I to hear what you are saying I read romance all the time but I do love suspense in them and new worlds actually I love all the genres these days when once I only read historical.

    Have Fun

    • 2 March 2014 5:42 pm

      That’s so lovely to hear, Helen. I love many genres too. Widely read – I think that’s the best way to be.

  4. 2 March 2014 2:44 pm

    Thanks Sandra. I know plenty out there who feel just like you and me. Lucky there’s a plethora of good stuff for us to read. 🙂

  5. 2 March 2014 10:13 am

    I so hear you, Leisl. 🙂 Good luck with Dark Moon.

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