[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have author Erika Kelly guest post on the site today. Take it away Erika!]
One of the questions I ask myself while writing is: how do I want my readers to feel when they close my book?
I write sexy, contemporary romance, so you can bet I want them to swoon. But I also want them to let out a big sigh, sad that the story’s over. I want them to feel part of a community—even deeper, part of a family. I want them to be eager for the next book, so they can sink back into that world.
My first series—the Rock Star Romances—is about a brotherhood of men in a rock band. The guys have been together a long time, but they’re not as close as blood brothers. And the reason I say that is because, when one band member goes off the rails, they kick him out.
You can’t do that with siblings. They have to stick it out. They have to work through the hard times. So, when I was developing my next series, I centered it around four brothers raised by their eccentric dad on a three-hundred-thousand-acre legacy ranch in an old wild west town in Wyoming. These guys are fierce, rugged extreme athletes—and when they find their one true loves, they fall hard.
There’s a richness in writing about siblings. They know everything about each other, and they accept each other unconditionally. Their bonds go deep, yet they’re fraught with a tension that comes from the fact that, though they grew up in the same family, each one has a different perspective on his childhood and parents.
I asked my reader group which sibling-based series they loved most of all, and the first answer I got was Gansett Island and Green Mountain series by Marie Force. Marie’s got devoted, hardcore fans who devour every book she puts out, just so they can rejoin a community that’s become family to them. I asked her about it, and she said, “I love to write about siblings and extended families because of the shared history, the inside jokes, the deep backstory and the connections between the siblings, their parents, grandparents, cousins, etc. While I only have one sibling, I also have 19 first cousins, so I come from the kind of family I like to write about. I hear frequently from readers who don’t have much family of their own, but they tell me they find a family they can feel part of in my books. I can’t think of a greater compliment an author could receive.”
Blogger Sandra Lombardo from Reads and Reviews believes that “a well-written book is always enjoyable, but one with siblings adds the element of family dynamics, taking the story up a notch.” Her favorites? Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick and Chaos series. She also mentioned Nicole Jacquelyn’s Fostering Love and my Bad Boyfriend series because they “take a sexy romance and throw in the vulnerability, love, and, at times, resentment that our siblings bring out in us. Throw in the bones of following these characters throughout the series, and I think you’ve got something special.”
As a kid, Sharon Slick Reads of Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews “always wanted to be part of a family like The Partridge Family or The Brady Bunch.” Nothing satisfies her more than “watching the way siblings interact and react, especially when one is falling in love.” The first sibling-based romances she read were “the Westmoreland and Madaris Family series by Brenda Jackson. These were some big families with lots of attitude, and it was interesting watching the way they interacted as each one fell in love, and sometimes under some unusual circumstances.”
She also loved Mari Carr’s Wild Irish series, which “centers around a family whose parents immigrated to the United States and opened a pub in Baltimore that has been there for decades. They had seven children who were raised living above the pub and have put in hours there as they were old enough to do so.” She’s read this series countless times and says it never gets old.
I love all kinds of romances, but there’s nothing as satisfying as immersing yourself in the world of a family, experiencing their lives across several books. Because, as Sharon says, “you hurt when they hurt; you laugh when they laugh; and you love when they love.”
My latest release, The Careless Boyfriend is the third book in The Bad Boyfriend series. The fourth and final book comes out in October. After that, I’ll be writing about three sisters from the same story world as the brothers, and I can’t wait to explore their dynamic, especially because they’re all leading a double-life and have done a great job of hiding it from each other.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.
Careless Boyfriend by Erika Kelly
Gray Bowie broke the bro code: he fell in love with his best friend’s girlfriend.
For years, he hid his feelings…until one terrible night, it all came to a head.
Since her life blew up in high school, Knox Holliday has spent her time honing her skills as a couture wedding dress designer. But, just weeks before her debut, a freak accident wipes out her collection. The culprit: her ex’s former best friend, Gray Bowie.
Gray does everything he can to get her career back on track. As they work together, they find forgiveness and start to stitch together something that looks a lot like love. But, at the very moment they realize they have a chance for something real, her ex comes back to town, bringing opportunities Gray can’t provide.
This time, Gray’s not going to step aside, so he can only hope Knox will hold onto his heart.
She’s his dream, but will he be hers?