One aspect of a Savannah J. Frierson novel is the wait between the hero and heroine meeting each other to the time when they consummate their love for each other. I make them wait…a long time; sometimes longer than the reader would like, but I try to show the getting together emotionally before I show the getting together physically. The few times I’ve started a story with love scenes, I’ve established the hero and heroine had known each other for a while before they got into bed with each other. For me, as a reader, I appreciate the falling part almost more than the actual arrival into love. I adore seeing those seeds of attraction bud and how the couple nurtures that bud so it can grow strong and vibrant. Sometimes, I make that courtship teeth-achingly sweet and teeth-clenchingly frustrating, but I always hope it’s worth it in the end.
I have been asked why it seems the hero has to work so hard for the heroine. I say because the heroine needs to know she’s worth the effort and so the reader’s payoff can be that much more fulfilling.
I want the reader to be able to fall in love just as the characters are. I want the reader’s heart to speed up when the hero smiles at the heroine; I want the reader’s breath to catch when the hero locks eyes with the woman he loves; I want the reader to feel the tingles when the hero and heroine first kiss. I want the reader to indulge in those sensations long enough so when the hero and heroine finally consummate their love, the reader has been prepped and primed for the moment just as much as the hero and heroine have been. I think that takes time; I think the journey towards that consummation is just as compelling and rewarding as the actual act itself.
When I tell my stories, I tend to err on the side of less is more. The less frequently I show the “down and dirty” the more it matters when it does happen; and the more of an impact it leaves as well. I’m not terribly graphic with my descriptions as a rule; but if the characters like it a bit more explicit than not, then I try to accommodate them. For example, Tim and Bevin in Trolling Nights were far racier than Benjamin and Coralee in Being Plumville, but that didn’t mean Benjamin and Coralee didn’t have their intense moments and Tim and Bevin didn’t have their sweet moments.
Relationships are dynamic; they have to be if the couple is to last. There can’t be ruts; but the peaks and valleys shouldn’t be so extreme so often until the reader wonders what is the point in emotionally investing in such unstable people?! Above all else, I try to show the heroine and hero actually like each other as people; that they are friends as well as lovers. Shiloh and Nashoba from Go with Your Heart by Beautiful Trouble Publishing are a perfect example of that type of courtship. First and foremost they are friends; they respect each other. With such a solid foundation in friendship, the leap to love isn’t as vast or as treacherous. And in the case of Shiloh and Nashoba, the fewer treacherous scenarios the better!
I think it is important for the reader to be just as invested as the characters when it comes to the evolution of a relationship. I think that’s what the reader is searching for anyway. The reader wants to be a participant in the journey, not merely an observer, and I try to make that journey worthwhile for all involved.