Historical Romance With A Twist
HOW DOES SHE DO IT?
A Bride Most Begrudging, The Measure of a Lady, Courting Trouble, Deep in the Heart of Trouble, A Bride in the Bargain, Maid to Match, Love on the Line, It Happened at the Fair, Fair Play, Tiffany Girl....
Have you ever become addicted to reading the same writer's novels? Deeanne Gist novels have that effect on me. After I read my first Gist novel, A Bride in the Bargain, I thought it was just a a cute romance with an interesting setting and that I could find something a little better to read. My search for similarly written novels came up empty. It wasn't long before I read another Gist novel.
Though Gist's books are categorized as historical romance novels, which are often light on history, peopled with flat characters, having predictable plots, and sometimes graphic sex, Gist's stories are more like realistic historical fiction.
Gist crafts her stories with fully fleshed out characters, tension-filled plots, and vivid and accurate historical details. Sexual tension builds between the male and female protagonists in a natural way, with most details left up to the reader's imagination.
HOW DOES SHE DO IT?
From Gist's web site, www.iwantherbook.com, and several internet interviews and her own videos, I discovered her methods:
- She spends 6 months on research and 6 months on writing.
- She spends time in the locations for her settings.
- She interviews knowledgeable people when needed.
- She achieves a daily word count goal when writing.
- She outlines plots according to the universal story structure (see below.)
- She works with a theme that was important to the time period.
- She has a friend that reads her drafts and gives her feedback.
Some other observations that make her stories appealing and enjoyable to read are as follows:
- The plots follow the most satisfying story structure - the Universal Story. The dual protagonists are called out of their comfort zone, overcome a series of problems through several dramatic events, until the final climatic moment that winds down to total transformation. Being true to the romance genre, the dual protagonists get married by the end.
- Historical details are skillfully interwoven within the plot so as to evoke the reality of the time and place.
- In addition accurate history, Gist's topics are unique in that the reader is shown how firsts happened, such as telephones, bicycles, cities, and women working in a man's domain.
- Gist deftly includes some tongue-in-cheek humor to her stories to poke fun at her characters in a light way.
I just recently completed, It Happened At The Fair, which is set at the 1890 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. I avoided reading it for a long time because I was not too interested in this fair. Once I began reading it, however, I was hooked and happily surprised with all I learned about this fair, along with enjoying the story. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next.