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 Love on the Line by Kirsten Fullmer
(Women at Work #1)
Publication date: June 14th, 2017
Genres: Coming of Age, New Adult, Romance, Young Adult

Andrea is an ordinary girl in an extraordinary situation.
She left her comfortable home and family to take a job building a pipeline with her estranged grandpa, Buck. She’s curious about his job, and why her mother dislikes the man. She didn’t expect to uncover buried family secrets, or for the job to be so difficult.
Rooster isn’t a bad guy. He respects women; he was raised by one of the best. But that new girl on the job is too small and feminine. She’s a distraction, plain and simple, and she doesn’t belong on a pipeline. This job is his chance to impress Buck Brennan, a pipeline legend, and no girly greenhorn is going to ruin it for him.
Will Andrea prove herself to her grandfather and forge a relationship with the old man, or will continuous disagreements and unexpected sexual tension between Andrea and Rooster derail their hard work?

Guest Post - How to Write Romance Realistically?

For me, the key to writing realistic romance lies in my character’s motivation. For example, why is the couple in my story feeling attracted and charmed by a potential lover, and why are they feeling conflicted? I believe that attraction, charm, and conflict are essential to creating a believable romance.

First, what is a romantic attraction? Most of us understand the instinctual need for sex. That topic is universal and well documented. Some romance writers simply go with that. It’s real. It’s easy to tap into and describe. But I like to focus on deeper reasons people are attracted to each other.

Some people are drawn to a lover because they feel comfortable with them. This alone is conflict enough for a whole novel because what is considered normal may neglect others. The relationship may not feel good, but it feels natural, and trying something different feels awkward. I personally like to write about overcoming that discomfort and finding a healthy connection.

Second, what do I mean by charm? Some people are charmed by humor, some by thoughtfulness, others by verbal communication. For me, Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages inspired a million romance stories.  For example, two people are attracted, but one is charmed by a lover doing considerate acts like loading the dishwasher after dinner. Still, their partner is delighted by a lover who participates in deep, lengthy discussions. Both are healthy desires in a relationship, but how do your characters find balance? One is busy in the kitchen to show their affection while the other feels neglected back at the table.

Lastly is Conflict. As discussed, both attraction and charm can cause conflict, but some writers choose conflict alone as the basis for a love story. In many classic love stories, the relationship is perfect, but the lovers are kept apart due to war, financial status, or family disapproval.

As an author, if I’m lucky enough to contrive characters with personalities that play off each other, I’m in for a treat. With conflicting motivation running wild, anything can happen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surprised and delighted by things my characters do or say.

Other questions I ask to help formulate my character’s motivation are: How would they respond to stimuli? What would they notice? How would they feel? Would they have a knee-jerk reaction, then change their mind after a few moments of reflection, or hold stubbornly to their first impression? Is the character motivated by the need to feel free? Are they determined to never alter their course? Is my character motivated by guilt, or pleasure, or the need to please others? Is he/she closed off due to past trauma, or are they motivated by a single goal?

All these ideas may sound more like a psychology class than a novel, but to me, motivation is the driving force behind a character’s actions. I believe the deeper a character is developed, the more my readers will empathize and be drawn into the story's passion and romance. I chose to write romance novels about couples struggling because of poignant reasons that they don’t initially understand—problems that they must find, confront, and alter. I know from personal experience that realizing you have an issue doesn’t fix it. My characters are strong, successful, and sometimes stubborn, as well as flawed. Like all of us, they have to alter their thought processes and actions and work by changing themselves to enjoy their romance. 

Once I have my characters' motivations established, I can place them in a setting, confident that they won’t run amuck. Or better yet, maybe they will…

Author Bio:
Kirsten is a dreamer with an eye for art and design. She worked in the engineering field, taught college, and consulted free lance. Due to health problems, she retired in 2012 to travel with her husband. They live and work full time in a 40' travel trailer with their little dog Bingo. Besides writing romance novels, she enjoys selling art on Etsy and spoiling their three grandchildren.
As a writer, Kirsten's goal is to create strong female characters who face challenging, painful, and sometimes comical situations. She believes that the best way to deal with struggle, is through friendship and women helping women. She knows good stories are based on interesting and relatable characters.