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Darlene Gardner | Secondary Romances

February 20, 2009

Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley. Willow and Oz. Betty and Barney Rubble.

You’ve probably figured out by now what the couples from the book Pride and Prejudice, the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the cartoon The Flintstones have in common: They’re involved in secondary romances.

Now here’s my shameless confession: I adore secondary romances, often considerably more than the main event. In THE HERO’S SIN, my February release from Superromance that starts a new series, the secondary hero relentlessly — and, I hope, charmingly — pursues his ex-wife. Part of the reason their marriage broke up was because his favorite pasttime was getting drunk with his buddies. I wouldn’t give the primary hero that flaw unless there was a deep, dark reason he was drinking.

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  • Stacy~ February 20, 2009 at 7:46 am

    I love secondary romances! Although I admit there have been times when that romance has overshadowed the primary one and I’d rather read that story instead. The characters are far more interesting, maybe because the main focus is off them and the author feels comfortable enough to let them have free rein, but then I end up liking their story better. It can be a double-edged sword, but I still love ’em.

  • Darlene Gardner February 20, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Good points, Stacy. One way to get around having the secondary romance overshadow the primary is to do a double romance. Then they're both primaries. Remember the Judith Michael book Deceptions that was made into a TV movie starring Stephanie Powers? It was a twin-switch book, with each twin's story getting roughly equal weight. Back when I wrote romantic comedy for Dorchester, I wrote a twin-switch book of my own called Bait & Switch. Great fun.

  • EllenToo February 21, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    First let me say how much I enjoyed “The Hero’s Sin”. Now to answer your question — I really enjoy secondary romances where I can find out what happens in the life of a secondary character. Too often I am left hanging wondering what happened to so-and-so after the original story was over.

  • Darlene Gardner February 22, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed The Hero’s Sin, Ellen. I know what you mean about books that leave you hanging, which is only forgivable if the characters appear in a subsequent book!