and my misspent youth
People often ask me what motivated me to become an author. Or why I write contemporary romance. I blame it on my misspent youth. I was a soap opera junkie for many years. It began when I was in the sixth grade and it continued well into adulthood. I suppose I could blame it on my mother too. Instead of telling me to go do something more productive, she got me started on her soaps.
I used to schedule my college classes around my soaps. Mind you, this was in The Dark Ages, before we had the Internet, so having my first VCR was a truly liberating experience. I could now have a life. I was able to tape my soaps and watch them at my convenience. I taped my favorite soap everyday for many years.
What makes soap operas so compelling?
So, what was it about soap operas that was so compelling? According to Mrs. Fields, my high school drama teacher, soap operas were real life, exaggerated. Soap operas relied on classic plot lines, such as extra-marital affairs, illegitimate children, and long-lost family members. Viewers could make a connection because they were believable stories.
The other thing that made the soaps so compelling were the characters. I never watched the now defunct All My Children, but I certainly knew who Erica Kane was. Dr. Marlena Evans on Days of our Lives was my personal favorite. Two great actresses, Susan Lucci and Deidre Hall, turned these characters into believable, three-dimensional people. So much so that the characters became iconic.
I too strive to create believable, three-dimensional characters in my contemporary romance novels, such as Ian Palmer and Gillian Matthews, in The Reunion, and Carrie Daniels and Alex Montoya, in The Deception. I also work hard to create believable stories. My plot lines twist and turn, just like a soap opera. My characters get involved with the wrong people. Long-lost lovers are reunited, and people are betrayed by the ones they trust the most. In other words, they’re real life, somewhat exaggerated.