HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO
Virtual Match #2
By Sharon Hughson
Release Date: July 24, 2017
Keywords: Contemporary, Romance, Novella, Sweet, Virtual Dating, Series
Ronnie wanted a Virtual Match, until she fell for the guy on the other end of the texts and emails. After real-life dating for only a few weeks, things start to heat up. Ronnie’s crazy family gets crazier, and her therapist gives her an ultimatum.
Marcus teeters on the edge of falling in love, but when he learns Ronnie’s secret, he’s afraid of moving too fast. The idea of life without her terrifies him more than anything else.
Ronnie runs back to the safety of her career, but can her heart ever be free from what Marcus has awakened?
Reality Bites: The Never-Intended Series
Reality Bites is born today. It’s book two in a series of novellas about a virtual romance that got very real. Ronnie and Marcus are happy to invite you into the next chapter of their love story.
When Reality Bites, can romance survive?
Virtual Match was never intended to be a series. It was a standalone story written for a collection centered around the virtual dating company. A collection with seven other indie romance authors. I wrote Reality Meets its Match (although it had a different title) for fun, and intended it to be an introduction of my writing style and voice to the other authors’ readers.
The story had other plans.
I’m a fan of reading series, so it’s not such a stretch for me to enjoy writing them. In fact, my hard drive has a trilogy of young adult fantasy novels in stasis for some time in the future when that market welcomes me into its competitive realm.
When readers complained about the end of the first Virtual Match Romance, demanding to know what happened now that Marcus and Ronnie were dating, I smiled. Oh, I knew the trials facing this couple even before I started brainstorming the next novella.
Even though I’d intended the story to be “one-and-done,” Ronnie and Marcus engaged my imagination. Continuing their love story has been fun. Not that there aren’t any challenges.
If you’ve read many trilogies, you understand there’s something about the middle book that tends to lag into lackluster ho-humdrum. Since I don’t like cliffhangers (and I don’t consider the end of Reality Meets its Match a cliffhanger), I won’t write them. But something has to remain unresolved so people will pick up the third book.
It took me a couple tries to wrangle the story line into submission. Ronnie’s big secret had to be revealed, but I would need to offer up a new unknown that readers would want to find out about. I’m still not sure I succeeded.
I think the three keys to a successful series are:
1. Characters readers relate to and care about
2. An overarching problem that needs resolving
3. Individual stories with their own problem and resolution
Since I intended the first book to stand alone, I didn’t introduce a major problem there that could carry the entire series. However, I sprinkled bread crumbs of the family dysfunction that crippled Ronnie’s emotions and used those to tie in with the second book. That trail is what I hope readers will follow all the way to the end of the series (three books, I promise).
If an author can create engaging characters and write strong stories, I’ll read a series to the very end. I recommend the Judgement of the Six series by Melissa Haag for romance readers who like a little paranormal (meaning HOT werewolves). This series will wrap up in November of 2017, and I’m sad to see it go.
What do you think makes a great series? Is there a romance series you would recommend?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Translating wind-whispered concertos into fiction, Sharon Hughson writes romance and young adult fantasy, living out her lifetime dream and calling it “a job.” After being saved by The Chronicles of Narnia as a teenager, S.L. decided escaping reality alone isn’t nearly as delightful as sharing those make-believe worlds with friends. To that end, she invites you to enter her story realm and fall in love all over again.
Even after twenty-some years married to her high school sweetheart, she enjoys the hearts-a-flutter rush from a well-told romantic tale. S.L. resides in Oregon with her husband, sons and three cats.
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