Guest Interview - Lillian Grant

What, no conflict?

I was working on an idea for NaNo the other day. (NaNo is a special kind of torture where writers go insane and sign up to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.) Anyway, I was working on plot ideas and my eldest wandered into my office and asked what I’m doing.

“Plotting,” says I, “My story needs conflict.”

His response. “Is it a war novel?”

Nooo, it’s romance of course!

So, why do you need conflict? Poor delusional child. I explained how it goes. Girl meets boy, or vice versa, they feel attracted, fall in love, something happens to pull them apart (conflict), they overcome the obstacle and live happily ever after.

He grins at me. “I’ve got a conflict for you. How about your hero is abducted by aliens. They probe him and when he returns to earth he’s gay. Now the heroine has to either get herself changed into a man or find the aliens to reverse the procedure if she wants to save their relationship.”

I do apologize for him. I gave birth to him and after that I have no idea what went wrong.

Funnily enough, around the same time as my son was regaling me with even more ridiculous ideas, a whole discussion opened up on Romance Divas about novels being contracted with no conflict in the plot and didn’t readers want conflict anymore.

I myself have a novella that has been tossed back at me by a publisher because it has no conflict. But I actually don’t mind stories without conflict. Hell, my favorite book of all time doesn’t even have a plot. I defy anyone to read Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary and find the purpose of the book. Just when you think it’s about to get to the reason, the bit that ties it all together, it ends. Despite Hunter’s massive oversight in writing a book that has no real point, other than to meander through the life of journalist Paul Kemp as he lurches from drink to drink and from one apparent disaster to another, it’s a brilliant book.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t have romances with conflict, most relationships are not all Romeo and Juliet with calamity around every corner. Unfortunately my own romantic history has been full of conflict and hand wringing. Maybe that’s why I can accept a story where it’s all love and laughter because it’s not my experience of real life. How about you? Do you want conflict in your romance?

Here's the blurb for Lillian's book, Happy Birthday, Nancy Tobin.

Suddenly single on the eve of her fortieth birthday, Nancy Tobin’s not sure turning middle-aged is worth celebrating. She's stuck in a dead-end job as the boss’s bitch with only her morose Labrador for a companion. What does she have to party about? Maybe if she ignores the whole birthday thing, it will just go away.

Hot, twenty-six-year-old Jake Turner has other ideas. When he bumps into Nancy at the library, he sees a woman in need of a wake-up call. Determined to unleash the beauty hidden beneath the sad fa├žade, he schemes to relight her spark. He wants to give her a birthday to remember but he ends up being the one who can't forget: a visit to his apartment becomes a weekend in his bed where he discovers an offbeat, unpredictable, sexually adventurous woman he never wants to let go.

With Jake, Nancy can do anything, her life can be whatever she chooses. But this new and exciting relationship teeters on the edge of destruction when her soon-to-be ex-husband reveals the reason for Jake’s initial interest in her. Can Nancy trust Jake when he finally tells her he loves her?

You can read an excerpt from the book here:
Purchase links:

Thanks for joining us today, Lillian.


Nicole North said...

Welcome to FR Lillian! Sounds like an awesome story! I enjoyed the excerpt!

Lillian Grant said...

Thanks Nicole

Natasha Moore said...

Welcome to Fierce Romance, Lillian! I want to have internal conflict between my hero and heroine in a romance, but I don't need tons of external conflict, like wars or someone trying to kill them, or alien abductions :)

David Kentner -- KevaD said...

I for one enjoy the hero/heroine having to overcome some type of obstacle to find happiness, or at least a future beyond whatever was restricting him or her.
For me, it's part of the character's growth.
If I want to watch a stagnant life . . . I have plenty of relatives that offer that kind of entertainment.

Nice book by the way, Lillian.
It was a pleasure to read.

Lillian Grant said...

Thanks, Natasha.

Yes I think Alien abductions was a step too far.

I hear you David, I live with relatives who think getting off the couch is an obstacle. :)

Jadette Paige said...

Awesome post, Lillian! Snort, aliens turns the guy gay! Hey, it has potential. Work with it, baby, might start a new trend.