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  • Guest Post: Everyday Drama in Contemporary Fiction by K. Piet

Hi guys! Today I very excited to welcome back K. Piet to Joyfully Jay.  She is here to talk to use more about her new release, Making Ends Meet.  Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

My newest release, Making Ends Meet, co-authored with S.L. Armstrong, is a contemporary romance between college students, one of whom (Zach) is a seventeen-year-old single father. Now, if that weren’t enough of a relationship drama bomb waiting to happen, Zach’s love interest, Wil, is from an affluent family that not only looks down on Zach as a match for their son, but also simply believes Wil’s homosexuality is a phase he’ll eventually grow out of.

In most contemporary romance stories such as this, it’s common that the romance is backed by what I like to call everyday drama. The source of the drama is usually from the main characters’ personalities clashing or from the professions they practice in. Does your story star a policeman? Chances are the peripheral drama is going to involve people having a run-in with the law, and you can probably expect there to be guns involved, if not a character getting shot outright. It’s in line with who that policeman character is, so it’s something that isn’t outside the realm of possibility. A mountain biker will probably have some sort of biking accident, a lawyer will have to deal with late nights putting a case together, and characters who have children will have to deal with their children from time to time. That means everything from soccer practice to an infant having ear infections can find a home in contemporary fiction. Let the drama fit the character, I say. And that’s usually the way of things.

The everyday drama is what sets contemporary apart from other sub-genres of romance fiction. Contemporary romance is often pulled from a grounded sense of reality. There might be a little action thrown in there in the way of putting ‘normal’ characters in extraordinary circumstances, but you don’t have the elements that automatically create drama in other sub-genres. An example is that your typical vampire paranormal romance automatically has the interaction of the vampires with non-vampires (usually humans) to contend with. If it’s a traditional human/vampire love story, then you’re going to have the tropes of the paranormal genre to back up that story, even if it’s in a contemporary setting (and no, I’m not just talking about Twilight, but any number of contemporary paranormal romances out there XD). In a straight up contemporary romance, though, you’re left with events that have to be believable in everyday life. Compared to the action of an adventure story or the drama of a sweeping paranormal or urban fantasy romance, the everyday drama can seem… well… boring, and that’s when you have to take a look at the genre, accept the limitations along with the advantages, and see if it’s what you really love to read.

If you go in with expectations of serious action, adventure, and bad guys lurking in the shadows, then Making Ends Meet is definitely not the book you’re looking for. We took a more literary fiction approach with this romance. It’s sweet, it’s mostly lighthearted, and we know it won’t be the soap opera drama-fest that some readers enjoy in their contemporary fiction. In fact, while sending the story through a beta pass, one of our beta readers brought up how she was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for something horrible to happen. She truly suspected that S.L. and I were going to kill off Zach’s infant daughter, Mae. Looking back, we can only laugh, because that was certainly never our vision for this book. Mae doesn’t die, Wil doesn’t turn out to be an ax-murderer, and while Wil’s parents don’t approve of his relationship with Zach, the situation never gets so dark that it pushes anyone to the point of contemplating suicide.

Put against those kinds of plots, Making Ends Meet is a very simple love story, and it’s filled with the everyday drama rather than the over-the-top drama worthy of the Scare Chord. However, if you like your protagonists sweet and your romance family-focused with a little erotic flare, then Making Ends Meet will be right up your alley. Sometimes, the drama of a book is truly dictated by the characters, this is certainly the case for our story. The school, money, and family troubles endured by Zach and Wil as they endeavor to make their relationship work are meant to reflect the reality of teenaged parenthood meeting the fantasy of young love taking shape. We hope you enjoy this aspect of the story!

K. Piet is the marketing director of Storm Moon Press and the co-author of Making Ends Meet and Other Side of Night: Bastian & Riley. She can be found on her website or on Twitter @k_piet.

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