Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New trends in romance publishing - interview with Ariana Gaynor

I am pleased to showcase a fellow voice "from the trenches".  Sweet, talented and dedicated Ariana Gaynor, the editor for Secret Cravings Publishing, talks about the hot new trends emerging in romance publishing, the science that goes into cover designs and her own Finding Me series.

MJN: There is a heat index scale based on how many sexual scenes are in the novel, and how explicit.  Is that scale uniform for all romance publishers, or does each publisher establish its own?

AG: Hello! My experience is that most are uniform, but each publisher establishes their own requirements for the rating levels. They are tweaked to fit each publisher's preference. Some might require a bit more for a higher heat level than another publisher will.

MJN: I applaud the founder of Secret Cravings for having so many sub-divisions of romance, including Dystopian (my book fits in that category).  Which sub-genre do you see expanding in the near future?

AG: First, I'd like to congratulate you again on your wonderful reviews for Saved By the Bang. Readers' tastes vary and change so often this question is kind of tough to answer. The Sports romances are taking off in a big way lately. More sports are being included in those as well, which is nice to see. I love hockey but love baseball and football, as well. Who doesn't want to read about a sexy man who can hold his own on and off the field. *big grin* I've also heard MC (Motorcycle) clubs are becoming more popular. That might be because of shows like Sons of Anarchy. We love to see the duality something like this brings out--a man strong enough to handle a large piece of machinery, yet gentle enough to care for his lady and/or family. Can't go wrong there.
MJN: In the key of the genre, most book covers feature extremely hot, fit, airbrushed people.  And that's totally understandable.  If you crave realism, go to your nearest supermarket or gas station.  And yet, if the characters are too perfect, and if they have great sex and end up with happily-ever-after, the reader may walk away saying, "Ugh, I hate you..."  Where do you find the balance between indulging the reader's desire for escape and making characters believable enough to be sympathetic?

AG: The covers are to gain notice, the people on them need to be stunning to compete with all the others, but once the readers are into the book the characters have to be deeper than the picture. Your characters have to be "human", they have to have flaws. I agree, if they are too perfect people are going to hate the characters and the story. The reader has to be able to connect with your characters, to be drawn into their stories. Each character has to grow through the story for the reader to believe in them and to root for them. If your characters are flat, which I believe too perfect characters would be, the readers certainly won't like them.

MJN:  What advice do you have for people who are struggling with certain scenes?  For once, I cannot write an earnest erotic scene. I just start giggling. To me, sex can be funny and awkward.  Should I practice writing steamy scenes, even though that still doesn't come natural to me?

AG: YES! Practice, practice, practice!  The more you write the more natural it will become. There's also nothing wrong with a funny love scene. If it flows naturally in scene and fits your characters' personalities make them funny and awkward.  We all have had our moments of awkwardness and even fun-loving goofing around when with our partner, someone will connect to those characters in that moment. Even if it's the only funny awkward love scene, that could be the very reason the reader tells all their friends to read your book. They don't all have to be serious scenes, they just have to be believable for your characters at that moment.

MJN: Let's talk about your own work and the novellas you have published with Secret Cravings.  You have started a Find Me series.  Usually, each series in this type of genre are set in its own universe and operates by its own laws.  So far you have two books in the series.  What ties them together? 

AG: My Finding You series is about a group of friends finding their soul-mates. You'll see all the characters involved someway in each story. They all work together and support each other through struggles and doubts. One character even finds redemption after being an awful person. That's the book I'm trying to write next, but the characters are being a bit stubborn, so I've moved on to something completely different. I'm hoping I can shake them up and get them talking if I ignore them for a bit...LOL  Think it'll work?


  1. Great interview.Enjoy your insights into writing, Ariana.

  2. Thank you, Marina, for asking me to do the interview. It was a lot of fun.
    Glad you liked the blog, Jean. :-)

  3. Wonderful interview. Love your replies and inner thoughts on the subjects....

  4. Great interview, Ariana. Very upbeat and insightful!