What Desire Wants with Harlequin Senior Editor Stacy Boyd

Harlequin Desire novels are short–about 50,000 words–and addictive! Readers love the strong heroes and feisty heroines, and Senior Editor Stacy Boyd is always listening to reader’s comments to tweak the direction of the line. Although the overall promise remain the same, there are a few things you can do to make your story stand out..

Something a little different…

When writers ask me what I’d like to see in Harlequin Desire, my first instinct is to say, “Surprise me!”

I know, I know—that’s not specific enough. But I really do want to be surprised—and it’s hard to pinpoint what will be surprising until I see it!

Harlequin Desire novels are always powerful, passionate and provocative, but recently our authors have changed things up, taking editorial chances that paid off. These authors started with the fantasy of a wealthy world, an alpha hero and a sensual romance, but then they broadened the scope.

For example, Sarah M. Anderson recently wrote about bearded, motorcycle-riding heroes in her Bolton Brothers trilogy. The second book in the series, Bringing Home the Bachelor, was listed on two “best of 2013” lists.

Catherine Mann created sexy former criminals turned Interpol secret agents in her Alpha Brotherhood series. And in Kat Cantrell and Andrea Laurence’s debuts, they  put appealing twists into the marriage of convenience and amnesia plots, respectively. These innovations worked so well that I want more!

 

So I’ve laid out the Desire promise, below, and a list of what I’d love to see. (And, yes, it is specific!)

Every Desire novel should have:

  • A theme that readers love, such as a secret baby, an accidental pregnancy, amnesia, a rancher hero, etc.
  • An alpha hero with a heart of gold
  • A wealthy atmosphere or setting
  • High-stakes conflict
  • Sensual and romantic tension that pops off the page

 

 

But, as with every recipe, there is room for experimentation. Here are a few twists I’ve been wishing for—IF they can be done just right for the line. (That’s the tricky part.)

  • First person point of view—most Desire novels are in third-person and feature the hero’s and the heroine’s viewpoints. I’d love to see a Desire story told in the heroine’s first-person POV.
  • A sports romance—there is money, and glamour, in the world of sports—and a lot of alpha aggression too. Can someone please write a Desire set in the sports world, just for me, and make sure the hero takes his shirt off, a lot?
  • A nearly irredeemable hero who is redeemed by love—it’s the oldest fantasy in romance, I know, but I’d love to see heroes I haven’t seen before. Is it possible to redeem a drug lord, for instance? There must be an author out there who can pull it off!

Is there something you’ve always wanted to read, or to write, that seems to defy the “rules”?

That’s a tall order from Stacy! The last point in particular might be a challenge. 🙂 But we’re sure there are authors out there who can make that story work!  Don’t forget to check in with the Desire Community section, or the guidelines, and follow the Desire editors on Twitter. Check out @Stacy_Boyd, @CharlieGrim, @AllisonPCarroll and don’t miss #HarlequinDesire.

And just keep reading–and writing!–those stories.

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Comments

  1. Stacy Boyd

    After I wrote this blog post, Maureen Child turned in an amazing example of “something a little different.” In THE FIANCEE CAPER (August 2014), her hero is a sexy, smooth-talking, former master jewel thief. And of course he’s paired with an ex-cop–his exact opposite. This is a really fun one, and exactly the sort of experimentation I’m looking for!

  2. Jacinta Owen

    Hello Stacy, I have a question. does the hero of Harlequin Desire have to be a man in his twenties or late thirties? or can the hero be in his early fifties

    Thank You!

    Jacinta.

    Stacy, I look forward to working with you in the future

  3. Stacy Boyd

    Jacinta,

    The Desire hero doesn’t have a particular age–20s, 30s and up are all fine. The most important thing is that he be a wealthy man of power and an alpha hero with a heart of gold.

    Stacy

  4. Andrea

    Stacy,

    Two questions:

    1) Can a Desire Novel be 1st Person, with Dual POV’s from Hero and Heroine?

    2) How sexually explicit is acceptable? What about explicit sexual language?

    Thanks!

    Andrea