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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

20 Janette Rallison: Romance, Romance

Tonight we were privileged to talk to Janette Rallison, who is a master of YA romance. She has published 15 YA contemporary romance novels, 2 YA Fantasy (romance) novels, and, in October, will be branching out into YA Urban Fantasy (with romance). Her upcoming novel, SLAYERS, tells the story of a group of youngsters descended from a long lineage of ancient dragon slayers... whose skills are needed again in modern times when the dragons threaten mankind. Watch for it under the pen name of CJ Hill.

Janette shared with us all the tricks of writing a great romance. Though she focused on YA romance, she also taught us how to create a believable romantic subplot, why subplots are important, and the elements of any great romance.

Some highlights are:
  • Romantic (or, really, any) characters, should have Grit, Wit, and "It"
  • Romances are mostly for women--add them to "regular" books to attract a female audience
  • Romantic men should be a "catch"--Lord Somebody, or a talented high school artist
  • Romances are about wish fulfillment
  • Don't worry about the first draft so much--fix it later
Janette has generously agreed to give two of her books as prizes to two lucky callers/listeners:

How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend - Sixteen-year-old Giovanna Petrizzo finds it hard enough to fit in. Three years since her family moved to Texas, she’s still the newcomer compared to everyone around her. It doesn’t help matters when her twin brother, Dante, takes on the mayor’s son by running for class president. The least she could expect, though, would be for her boyfriend, Jesse, to support their cause. But Jesse’s apparent defection triggers Giovanna’s rash emotional side, and before she knows it, she’s turned Jesse from the boy of her dreams to the exboyfriend she dreams of winning back.
UPDATE: And the Winner is... Erin Edwards!!

My Fair Godmother -Finding your one true love can be a Grimm experience! After her boyfriend dumps her for her older sister, sophomore Savannah Delano wishes she could find a true prince to take her to the prom. Enter Chrissy (Chrysanthemum) Everstar: Savannah’s gum-chewing, cell phone–carrying, high heel-wearing Fair Godmother. Showing why she’s only Fair—because she’s not a very good fairy student—Chrissy mistakenly sends Savannah back in time to the Middle Ages, first as Cinderella, then as Snow White. Finally she sends Tristan, a boy in Savannah’s class, back instead to turn him into her prom-worthy prince. When Savannah returns to the Middle Ages to save Tristan, they must team up to defeat a troll, a dragon, and the mysterious and undeniably sexy Black Knight. Laughs abound in this clever fairy tale twist from a master of romantic comedy.

UPDATE: And the winner is... Kathryn Packer Roberts!!

Here's how you win:

Required: Comment on this blog post
  • Certify that you listened to the call 
  • Say which piece of advice was the most helpful to you 
  • Say which book you’d rather win
Calculate Your Points:
  • 2 Points for listening to the call live
  • 1 Point for asking a question during the call (no extra points for extra questions)
  • 1 Point for listening to the recording 
Congratulations, Erin and Kathryn! Please email Robin with your snail-mail addresses: robinweekswriter at gmail dot com.

As always, you can listen to the recording below, or access the MP3 by clicking here.


  1. I listened to the call live. I would love either of the books if I were to win. There were too many things to say what was the most helpful, but I could say that learning about what elements need to be included to make a story romance be strong was new to me and very helpful. 3 points. Thx

  2. Great call last night; I did listen live. Robin, as always, kept things moving right along with topical questions. And Janette answered most everything I had in mind to ask within the first couple of minutes.
    For me the most instructive portion was our discussion about love triangles and how romance should be only a minor theme for 12-14 year old characters since younger kids will be reading those books.
    I'm most interested in My Fair Godmother. I have 3 points for listening live and asking a question.


    -- david j.

  3. I listened to the call live. I found it really interesting that Janette breaks her book up into chapters after she is finished, and I asked the question about chapter ending sentences. I already have Godmother, so I would love to win How to take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend.

    Robin, thanks again for doing a great job hosting!

    3 points. Thank you, Janette!

  4. Bummer, I didn't get to listen to call live! But I did listen while at work. Fantastic information. Loved the advice about reading lots of books on writing and the "grit, wit, & it." Thanks for making this possible, David, Robin, & whoever else is involved.
    Thanks Janette for your wealth of advice. & yes I'm interested in winning a copy of either book. 1 Point

  5. I wish I could have listened to the call live, because I had questions, but I did listen to it on the blog. Great stuff! I love your books and can't wait to read your new series. I will always be a fan!

    I'm not sure which bit of advice I loved most. I think it was all really great. I guess something that stuck out to me is the fact that you focus on not getting to mushy in romance, especially not right up front. That you give the reader hints of romance, but don't reward them right away. I think that is key. I've read books where the girl and guy kiss right away and then for half the rest of the book they are making out. There wasn't any tension. So, thanks for pointing that out.

    1 point

    kprwrite at hotmail dot com

  6. Listened to the call. Great stuff. LOVE Janette and Robin, great work ladies.

    I think my favorite bit of advice was about chapter endings. I never really thought about how long YA chapters should be (10-15 pages, I guess ;)

    I haven't read either book and I would be thrilled with either.

  7. OOoh, great tips, great tips!!! It's so awesome to see that I've been doing those things too. So validating, really. *le sigh*

    Can Alex save Winter from the darkness that hunts her?
    YA Paranormal Romance, Darkspell coming fall of 2011!
    Pre-order your early-bird signed copy before July ends!

  8. I listened to the call after the fact. Thank you for recording this!

    I liked hearing our love interests should have "grit, wit, and it." And since it's from Donald Maas, it must be true!

    I would prefer My Fair Godmother, but either would be great.

    Okay, so just one point for me. :)

  9. I didn't get the chance to listen live, but loaded it onto my iPod and listened while I cleaned house--a great way to stay interested while doing drudge work!

    My first novel is a romance so I really appreciated all Janette's insights. Since I'm toying with a YA for my next book, I valued her tips on the differences between YA and adult romance. Also, I have two daughters--one on the verge of 13--so Janette inspired me with how she writes with her daughters in mind.

    I would LOVE "How To Take the Ex Out of Ex-Boyfriend."



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