Guest & Contest: Bronwen Evans

Characters – The backbone of every romance
By Bronwen Evans

Hello, I’m waving from New Zealand. Thanks for having me as your guest today! My name is Bronwen Evans and I write Regency romances for Kensington Publishing.

I love talking to readers; they always tell it like it is. They soon inform you if they like your book or not, you can’t escape reviews and feedback in this internet world. I love feedback. It’s how you learn to improve, and learn what readers liked or didn’t like.

Not every reader will like my books. They may not like the plot, or the writing, or worse luck, the characters. Characters are the crux of your story, without demanding, infuriating, honorable, likeable, loveable characters, why read their story?

Readers bond with characters in different ways. I compare it to real life. You meet many people throughout your life, not all of them become you best-friend. Some become friends, others merely acquaintances.

That’s what happens with books. When you bond with the characters, fear for them, laugh with them, love with them, they become your best-friends. Currently my best-friends are Henry St. Giles, Earl of Cravenswood, and Lady Amy Shipton, from my current work in progress, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood, due out August 2012. It’s book three in my Wicked Wagers Trilogy. You also can’t write a book if you don’t love the characters.

Characters drive a romance. Readers have to find something in the character that they can bond with. Empathy is an important tool in building a readers desire to get to know your hero and heroine. I, myself, love the emotionally wounded hero who has to struggle with deep fear in order to open his heart. My hero in book two of the Wicked Wagers trilogy, To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone, Marcus Danvers, The Marquis of Wolverstone, had his heart broken ten years ago when his true love eloped with someone else. Now she’s back asking for a favor and he’s determined not to lose his heart to her again. A reader can empathize with him. I wouldn’t want to trust her again, would you?

Then there is the hero out for revenge. My hero, Harlow Telford, the Duke of Dangerfield, in book one of the Wicked Wagers trilogy, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield, is consumed with revenge. His mother was seduced and left pregnant by a man who took advantage of her grief and fear when she became a widow with an estate to hold for her young son. When the cad refused to marry her, Harlow vowed to take everything the man owns from him, and give it to his innocent half-brother, who should by rights inherit. Once again I can empathize with his situation. He wants to do right by his half-brother.

Excerpt:

Caitlin had never met Dangerfield’s mother. She’d seen her from afar but never been invited to approach. Harlow looked so much like her.

The Duchess was still an attractive woman. Only a glimmer of grey showed in the fair tresses. However, while Harlow’s face resembled his mother’s fine aristocratic features, he must have received his dark curls from his father. Caitlin didn’t remember the previous Duke at all.

“Likewise, Duchess,” she responded, politely. “I hope you were not hurt.”

“Not at all. Harlow you must introduce me to your companion, although I can guess who this delightful young woman is. You must be Lady Caitlin Southall.”

As she spoke the young boy—Jeremy—moved to his mother’s side, staring at Caitlin as though she were some evil monster he’d discovered under his bed. The ferocious expression on his face made him far less attractive than she’d originally thought.

“Lady Southall.” The Duchess spoke hesitantly. “May I present my younger son, Jeremy. Jeremy, make your bow to our neighbor, Lady Southall.”

But the boy didn’t move—except to look her over. Then a sneer formed on his lips. “I refuse to acknowledge a Bridgenorth,”  he said. And with that he turned on his heel and stalked back to wait by the carriage.

The Duchess’s face paled to the color of milk and her fingers tightened.

“Mother.” Harlow urged his horse closer. “It’s late. Lady Southall must get home.”

Caitlin understood neither the hatred spewing like sulphur from Jeremy’s mouth nor the urgency in Harlow’s tone.

His mother ignored him. “Caitlin—I may call you Caitlin?”

Still completely taken aback, Caitlin could only nod agreement.

“Thank you. Please, Caitlin. Forgive my son. He is young and does not think before he speaks.”

It was more than that, Caitlin knew, but as she had no idea as to the origin of the bad blood between the Harlow Dangerfield and her father, there was little she could say except, “Think nothing of it, Your Grace.” After all, it wasn’t the duchess’s fault that her son—both her sons—seemed unable to be civil to their neighbors. Why should Caitlin care? All she required was the opportunity to win her house back.

“Since Jeremy has chosen to be rude,” the duchess continued, “I do hope my eldest son is not bothering you.”

“Not at all. He has been helping me with a project dear to my heart.” That, at least, was true.

“How interesting.” The duchess sent Dangerfield a beaming smile. “I do hope Harlow remembers that he is a gentleman.”

Dangerfield looked even more uncomfortable and his mother laughed. “I heard some interesting gossip in London, Harlow. I shall discuss it with you when you get home.”

Caitlin watched, fascinated, as the dreaded Duke of Dangerfield’s cheeks flushed a very unmanly shade of pink.

“Mother, is there any need for this?”

“Absolutely. We shall discuss the significance of your social schedule later this evening. Don’t be late I shall be waiting up. It has been lovely to meet you, Lady Southall.” And, with another smile, the duchess turned back toward the carriage. “Come along, Jeremy.”

“Can’t I ride back with you, Harlow?” Jeremy asked.

“Not today,” Dangerfield said. “I have to see Lady Southall home first. You go with mother. We can go out riding tomorrow morning.”

Once again the boy shot a furious glare at Caitlin. She, in turn, studied him, making sure to keep her face as expressionless as she could. What on earth was wrong with the boy? She couldn’t understand why he’d taken such an aversion to her.

She tried not to listen to the pair’s private conversation, but Jeremy was so loud.

“How did you get the black eye?” Dangerfield looked grim.

Jeremy flushed and bit his lip. “It was nothing of importance. A few of us were practicing our boxing. My face accidentally got in the way.”

Harlow couldn’t see Jeremy’s expression, but Caitlin could. The boy was lying. Why?

Harlow must have guessed this because he said, “Do you need me to come to the school?”

“No.” Jeremy’s chin lifted and his fists clenched tight. “I can fight my own battles, thank you. I don’t need you to treat me as if I’m still a child. I can manage on my own. But what are you doing with her?” He stabbed a finger accusingly at Caitlin. “I don’t need my older brother, the Duke, to marry a Bridgenorth just so I…”

 

[CLUE TWENTY-EIGHT: WOMAN]

For my hero, Henry St. Giles, I’ve twisted a feminine desire and applied it to Henry. He wants to marry for love. He grew up in a household where there was little to no love. He refuses to put his children through that kind of upbringing. He wants a love match and will not be bullied into a marriage simply in order to ensure an heir, even though he’s the last in his line and someone may be out to kill him. I think we all agree with his sentiments here. We all want love.

Character’s motivations are the foundation for their emotional journey. Make them realistic, make them understandable, and build empathy with readers for your characters. Use this as the launching paid to writing loveable characters. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it when they become reader’s best-friends.

I’m giving away two copies of To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield in eBook format to two lucky commenter’s. Simply tell me who your favorite romance character is and why? (Open internationally)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don’t forget my Invitation to Romance blog tour.

The Book Tour Grand Prize – A $200 Amazon, or B&N, Voucher PLUS… A Book Basket of 30 ‘SIGNED by the AUTHORS’ books…

About Bron:

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Being able to write her characters stories is never work, it’s a dream come true. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer.

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. She’s won several romance writing competitions and is a member of several writing organizations, including RWA, RWNZ, and The Beau Monde. Her 2011 debut novel, INVITATION TO RUIN, received a 4.5 star rating from RT Book Reviews and was nominated in the RT Reviewers’ Choice awards – Best First Historical.

When not ensconced in her study writing her characters thrilling journeys to their happy ever after, Bron can be found on the golf course.

Readers can contact Bronwen via email at romance@bronwenevans.com For more information on all of Bronwen’s books, including updates on novels yet to come, visit Bronwen’s website at www.bronwenevans.com

 

 

 






32 thoughts on “Guest & Contest: Bronwen Evans

  1. Again, I say, just pick one?! I can’t!!! LoL! I have so many! But, if I had to pick just one romance character it would have to be……..Finn Emerson from Terry Spear’s A SEAL In Wolf’s Clothing….he’s just super hot and very romantic!!! 🙂

  2. erinf1 says:

    awesome post and giveaway! I’m so excited cuz I just go my copy of Invitation to Ruin straight from the awesome Ms. Evans and I can’t wait for this weekend to start reading!!! Thanks again and have a lovely tour!

    • erinf1 says:

      I forgot to answer the question… lol… I don’t have a favorite per se, but I love the characters that I’m reading right now and I just finished North of Need by Laura Kaye and Owen was so *hawt* 🙂

  3. Maria D. says:

    Choosing one hero really is an impossible task so I’m going to go “old school” and choose a hero whose personality/character traits are shared by many of my heroes – I’m choosing Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. “Fitzwilliam” is an alpha male who is used to getting what he wants and being treated with respect, he’s intelligent and has had the best his society offers – he’s at the op of his game but he has no idea what life for someone who isn’t him is like – he’s never been poor, never had to depend on others and he’s reluctant to share anything which he considers private. It’s only when he meets Elizabeth and she “puts him in his place” that he realizes how much other people have to offer and he in particular realizes what an intelligent, verbal woman can bring to the table. She in essence humanizes him and that’s something I think that makes them the perfect couple. They bring out the best in each other.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Chey says:

    Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series. He does what needs to be done. Doesn’t sit around whining about it, just does it. And he’s ahead of his time.

  5. Mary Doherty says:

    I love Gabriel St Croix from Broken Wing. He is my very favorite, because I so love a wounded hero and you will not find a more wounded hero then Gabriel. Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Oh my gosh, I love Alexander Everett from A Scandalous Pursuit. He’s my favorite scandalous guy. However, I’m sure my favorite will change, but he’s been my favorite for at least a year now.

  7. Kim says:

    Oh, there are so many. I’ll pick Ian from Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught. He had to do some serious groveling to win back the heroine.

  8. Joy Gifford says:

    I love them all, but for a standout favorite I would have to say my favorite romance character is a toss up between two of my fave Stephanie Laurens men….Devil Cynster from the Cynster Family and Dalziel,(aka) Duke of Wolverstone from The Bastion Club, both are dreamy hot…., cool under duress, and born leaders and lovers. Gotta love a man in Charge who can waltz you off to someplace secluded and Kiss your Stockings off!

  9. librarypat says:

    I agree with most of the others. There are too many heros out there to be able to pick a favorite. We like them all for their own reasons.
    Thank you for the excerpt from TO DARE THE DUKE OF DANGERFIELD. It shows the dynamics of the relationships at that point of the story well.
    Good luck with the rest of your tour.

  10. chris bails says:

    Tough choice. So many too name. I will choose someone from a recent book. Will choose top 3 favs. First would have to be malkolm from kristen painters blood rights book. Second would be daniel smythe-smith from julia quinn’s a night like this. Third would be harry brody from jennifer bernard’s the fireman who loved me.
    Thanks for the great giveaway.

  11. DawnM says:

    Very difficult to pick just one, and there have been several mentioned here that would qualify. So I, too, would go for Devil Cynster. In fact the thought makes me want to dig out all my Cynsters and re-read them, which I haven’t for a couple of years.

  12. Diane D - Florida says:

    One of the most favorite men in books that I’ve read is Royce Varisey, the Duke of Wolverstone from Stephanie Lauren’s book, “Mastered By Love”. He was strong, fearless, big time Alpha male, and an amazing lover. The scenes with Minerva quite took my breath away. PHEW!!!

    I’m loving your book tour Bron.

  13. I have many favorites but must number JD Robb’s Roarke and most of Stephanie Laurens’ Cynsters among them.

  14. Cathy P says:

    My favorite romance characters are Emily Townsend and Barnaby, Viscount Joslyn, in Rapture Becomes Her by Shirlee Busbee. I liked them because Emily is feisty and heads a ring of smugglers to save her village. I like Barnaby because he works at getting her out of her messes.

  15. My favourite character is Louisa in French Kiss by Cherie Le Clare. She’s my favourite because she is based on my real-life heroine Nancy Wake. Nancy was born in New Zealand, married a Frenchman, and performed many acts of bravery for the French Resistance during World War II. Her husband was captured by the Gestapo and tortured to death because he refused to reveal his wife’s hiding place.
    That’s what I call ‘true love’.

  16. Lisa H says:

    A favorite hero is Jackson from Savor the Danger. Actually, cant I have all of the guys from the series? They all really go together! LOL

  17. Carol L says:

    Hi Bronwen,
    I loved this excerpt. I’m wondering if it’s in Print. ? Don’t enter me in today contest because I don’t have an e-reader. But I am loving this Tour. It’s definitely so hard to choose so I’ll say Jamie Fraser first. A man who has endured the most horrific challenges and torture and he’s still a gentle man. Then Roarke form the In Death series. It’s his brogue lol And hat an Alpha. 🙂
    All of the Highlandsers in Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  18. nurma says:

    my favourite character is SEBASTIAN ST.VINCENT and EVIE from lisa kleypas’s book DEVIL IN THE WINTER…
    thx u so much 4 the giveaway 🙂

  19. Jeanne Miro says:

    My opinion of my favorite romance character may be biased because it was the first “historical” romance I read but it’s Don Quixote from Man of la Mancha by Cervantes. The story was required reading in my High School English class,

    Who wouldn’t love a hero who sees his heroine as beautiful and pure when she is any thing but that! I think if any one of us really looks at our inner self we can find things that we can regret about ourselves but Don Quixote is willing to “dream the impossible dream” and fight the “impossible foe” in order to honor his Ducinea.

    Don Quixote is a tortured hero himself but is willing to stand up for what he thinks is the right thing to fight for in a time period when doing so was considered the “thing to do”..

  20. Maureen says:

    That is a tough question. I would pick Jack Seward and Anne Wilder from All Through the Night by Connie Brockway since they have both dealt with some awful situations leaving them pretty messed up but they were able to overcome them to be with each other.

  21. JoAnne says:

    This is a tough one because each book I read I get attached to the characters.
    Two of my favorites would be Cam Rohan from the Hathaways series by Lisa Kleypas and Chase Calder from the Calder series by Janet Dailey.

  22. My favorite genre is historical romance and you are a new author for me. It appears I’ve been missing something.
    My favorite book is One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney. Her characters are Stephen and Rosalind. This is a great book that I highly recommend to lovers of historical romance.

  23. Crystal Newman says:

    I can’t pick just one character but I can tell you some of the characteristics that I like. I love a strong man and one that will be there for his woman no matter what is going on and always takes her side. Doesn’t matter how her family or his family is. The women that I like are the one’s that are strong and can do anything without having a man to depend on. I love for them to connect and have a strong bond and chemistry between each other.

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