The current state of the world has many of us figuring out how to work from home, with our kids in the background, foreground and all over, now might be a good time to mention that today is actually Incredible Kid Day! I beg of you, please remind me of this day in the coming months! It’s often said in Hollywood to never work with kids or animals, for they will undoubtedly upstage you. I think that can easily transition to writing. Writing kids in romance can run the gamut of possible outcomes. One the one hand, they can be tedious when they are used as nothing more than a prop; they can be written poorly when treated as overblown caricatures. But, when done correctly, they can steal the scene and your heart. Let’s take a moment to look at some books that definitely get Incredible Kid Day right.
I’ve often said Kristen Ashley has a unique way of writing kids into her storylines that comes across brilliantly effortless. She is an author that consistently includes children of all ages that often have pivotal roles in the larger arc of her stories. They aren’t just filler, she develops them in a way that makes them practically leap off the pages. Ashley’s The ‘Burg series is ripe for the picking when it comes to clever kid writing. From Vi Winter’s teenaged girls Kate and Kiera in At Peace to Layne’s boys Tripp and Jasper in Golden Trail, the kid list is long and mighty. Side note, I still think Jasper deserves his own book, he saved a girl from a potential spiked drink date rape situation back when books weren’t telling stories with that sort of plotline. Ashley deftly crafted these kids into the more significant stories from these books giving these Incredible Kids meaningful roles and memorable stories.
Ashley takes the kid-set a little younger in her Ghosts and Reincarnation series. If you haven’t read Sommersgate House, the story of ghosts haunting a rumbly old castle inhabited by three young orphaned kids and their somewhat reluctant guardians is nothing short of enthralling. Add in sweet four-year-old Ruby’s emotional epiphany, and I dare you to walk away dry-eyed. To this very day, it is still the book I read when I need to clean out my tear ducts! Rubygirl will shatter your heart, she is most certainly an Incredible Kid.
Emma Chase’s Sustained comes in hot with not one or even two kids, she leaves SIX orphaned kids to their aunt, Chelsea McQuaid. Six kids! It boggles the mind and bless her heart, Chelsea is way too kind for her own good. Chase shows that kids need tons of love and affection, but they also need boundaries and rules that are enforced. Attorney Jake Becker had no idea his cold and intimidating demeanor could be laid bare by sweet kids and One Direction concerts. In a stroke of sheer writerly genius Chase gives us Incredible Kid content, humor, heart, and a stunning love story that will leave you breathless. Side note: Chase also writes excellent sex scenes. I feel a little skeevy mentioning that in an article celebrating Incredible Kids Day but I thought you should know. Also, do not, for the love of all that’s holy, under any circumstances, google the words, kids in romance books, when trying to refresh your memory of a book title.
Protecting What’s His by Tessa Bailey has Ginger Peet on the run from a dangerous situation with her younger sister Willa in tow. Bailey manages to give Ginger and her grumpy, protective, OTT alpha neighbor Lieutenant Derek Tyler one hell of a roller coaster ride of sexy that doesn’t ignore Willa’s character. Younger sister Willa is sarcastic, and a touch goth with the street smarts needed to keep a suspecting eye out for bad guys. Willa is such an Incredible Kid, and fabulous character, she gets her own book, a very sexy, ridiculously hot book a few years later. Unfixable is Willa-girl’s all grown up story and the stuff she gets up to with race car driver Shane Claymore in Dublin, Ireland will make your toes curl!
Nicole Jacquelyn does not shy away from writing painful conflicts. I believe she calls them “big bads,” and she goes hard when she writes them. No one gets out of a Nicole Jacquelyn unscathed. In Craving Molly Rebel is Molly’s young daughter. She is a beautifully written child, filled with nuance and heartbreakingly sweet details. Molly is a single mom, and the love and affection she has for Rebel are palpable. Will, our hero, and I use that term loosely does Molly dirty. I mean, you don’t mess with the single mom unless you’re in it for the long haul. Will screws up and hurts Molly and Rebel with his actions. True to real life, Incredible Kid Rebel struggles when Will walks away – I’m pretty sure you’ll struggle to keep the tears at bay when you read it.