Writer’s Desk, 14 October

A picture of Sandra Schwab's desk (with lots of notebooks!)Today’s writing desk includes centurions, all the Roman legions, a Roman cookbook, and notebooks. LOTS of notebooks. At the moment I’m digging the slim, black Moleskines (you can buy them three a package). Blank, no lines. They fill up quickly, and each filled notebook gives you a nice sense of achievement. I’ve now reached notebook #7, and at least three of the books are filled with scenes of my characters having … um … fun.

Clearly, three sweet romance novellas with nothing more than kissing make for one very hot romance novel with rather lusty main characters. 🙂

(But never fear: I will tear their happiness apart in the course of the novel and make them suffer quite dreadfully before they can have their happy ending!!) (says the evil author)

With this new story (and if you look at the picture above you can probably make out its title) I’m reminded more than ever that in a good romance novel love scenes aren’t there for the sake of the sex, but are part of the exploration of the hero & heroine’s relationship. They are meant to push the relationship forward and to reveal to the reader (and perhaps even to the characters themselves) something new about this relationship. Ideally, they are also part of the character arcs, and as such play an important role in the characters’ journey / development.

In this novel the love scenes are particularly tricky because of the extreme imbalance of power between my main characters: Marcus, the hero, is a centurion and a free man while Lia, the heroine, is a slave.* But how do you navigate the realms of desire, affection, and love, when one of the characters, thanks to her social status, doesn’t have much of a choice in the matter?

As I said: tricky.

It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the further you go back in history, they higher the stakes are stacked against your characters and against their relationship. Of course, that also means that you can make the happy ending so much sweeter! 🙂


* I don’t particularly like slave romances, so imagine my surprise when this story turned out to be one! (I blame Spartacus & @holundergeist!) (Especially @holundergeist: she tweeted me a link to a Nagron video – and that was that….)