Tropes! No matter the genre you read, they’re always there. Secret babies, friends-to-lovers and more pepper our favorite books, TV shows and movies. Today we’ve got trope master — yes we said master — Marie Ferrarella, who’s celebrating her 250th book release — yes we said two hundred and fifty — next month with Carrying His Secret (secret baby, obvs). A category romance staple, Marie’s here to share her favorite tropes, and how she subverts them. Congrats, Marie!
There are a number of go-to plot devises that both intrigue me and challenge me. If I’m lucky, I can make it unique enough to make the reader keep on turning the page despite the fact that the first mention of the basic “gimmick” might elicit a groan or even cause some readers to roll their eyes heavenward. I try to keep that down to a minimum.
The first go-to plot gimmick is the ever popular amnesia victim story. That’s when either the hero or the heroine—always beautifully groomed for the occasion (who wants a dirty-looking main character to root for?) has come down with a bad case of amnesia (usually from a blow to the head). In my case, I’ve done it a number of times (The Amnesiac Bride, Angus’s Lost Lady, Forgotten Honeymoon to name a few) and I’ve even dealt with selective amnesia where the heroine only forgot her husband (Husbands and Other Strangers), not anything else—and how many of us would like to experience that for a little while?
There is also the ever popular secret baby theme, where the hero and heroine had one sizzling and unexpected night of passion before one of them goes off into the horizon. That night results in a bouncing baby girl or boy, usually much to the hero’s surprise when he comes back on the scene (The Prodigal MD Returns, Husband Optional, Christmas Bride and my 250th, Carrying His Secret).
However, as much fun as those are, my very favorite recurring theme to do is enemies-to-lovers. The friendly enemies who, in most cases, have known one another since childhood, have been trying to best one another since childhood and suddenly love enters the picture and everything else goes out the window—however, how do both parties deal with that with dignity? (It Happened One Night, Innkeeper’s Daughter, Baby In the Middle), I love having the duo engage in one-upmanship because since I’m both the hero and the heroine, I need to be on my toes, giving each some pretty cutting putdowns—but never loading it in favor of one or the other.
Finding new and different ways to say the same old thing is definitely what keeps writers of romantic fiction on their toes. It does for me—and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.
Has Marie written one of your favorite tropes? Be sure to pick up Carrying His Secret when it hits stores February 3! And for more romantic tropes, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page!