Author guest post: What makes for a compelling romance in YA fiction by Isabel and Marilyn Thomas

Today I’d like to welcome sister-writing duo, Isabel and Marilyn, authors of the contemporary YA romance, Stargazing from Nowhere to my blog today. 

Before being in touch with the lovely siblings, I have to admit to not having heard anything about their book before.

However, upon reading the synopsis, I can tell that this is the kind of book that will appeal to most lovers of YA ; not least because it’s a YA but also because the book’s protagonist, Kristen, is a blogger in her own right.

I, for one, can’t wait to give this one a read.

Take one blogger and said blogger’s hatred of a popular rock band, add an unexpected meeting with the cute drummer, mix in with a dash of false fangirling and you’ll get the recipe of a concoction that sounds delightfully fun, zany and quirky - all in one.
What’s not to like about this premise?

So, as part of today’s guest post, I asked the lovely pair to tell us what THEY think are must-have elements in YA romance fiction. 

As always, before I hand over the reins, here’s some more info about the book. 

About Stargazing from Nowhere
Kristen Morgan's blog is about to get her into trouble. Deep trouble.

Online, she is known as "Stargazer" from the popular Stargazing from Nowhere blog, while in real life she is a regular fifteen-year-old high school student.

This online anonymity is quite liberating, allowing her to be completely honest with her readers.

Through a twist of fate, Rising Tide, the band she has bashed the most online, ends up in her small town, which sends Kristen into an excited panic.

To continue gathering fresh material for her blog, she poses as a Rising Tide fan.

After sneaking into the band's private party, she comes face to face with the band's drummer, Michael Stevens, who happens to be even more gorgeous in person than she cares to admit.

Something unexpected also happens to her when she meets him: she becomes giddy, nervous, and inarticulate, leading Kristen to realize that her interest in Michael has nothing to do with her blog, but everything to do with her heart.

As Kristen and Michael grow closer, does she have to make a choice between blog or boyfriend...Or is the choice made for her.

Add Stargazing from Nowhere to your Goodreads TBR pile.
Buy your copy from Amazon.

Over to Isabel and Marilyn

Compelling Romance in YA FIction
Compelling Romance may be hard to find in real life, but in YA fiction, it’s alive and well. There are many components that create this, but we’ve narrowed it down to five main ones.

While they may look simple enough, they are crucial in creating memorable love stories that stay with us long after we put the book down.

Here are our top Five Things that make for a Compelling Romance in YA Fiction:

1. The novel needs to be a character-driven romance:

This means that the characters’ motivations and interactions are true to their character rather than to the plot.

Sometimes it seems like characters aren’t really into each other, or maybe they haven’t reached a certain point in their relationship, yet they’re supposed to be in love, and what happens is that their interaction begins to ring false.

So starting with having good characters is really a crucial starting point and to be authentic when creating their character arch.
2. You have to like the hero and heroine:

You have to cheer for them to be together, otherwise, you don’t care about the romance. They can be flawed people, but they should be good people, and we should be hoping that it all works out for them because we see ourselves in them.

3. Unconditional love:

This is really important because when you’re really in love, it is unconditional, so the protagonist and her/his love interest need to have this level of love. It’s not the kind of love that will alter with time or temptation from other areas.

4. A cute-meet is always good:

This is an old Hollywood technique, but it happens in real life too. People often want to know how you meet someone. Sometimes it’s the boring answer, “We met through friends,” or “Online,” etc.

Once in a while, there’s a cute story that goes along with it, and we like hearing it because you go from meeting someone you don’t know at all or having that person become so close to you and that’s pretty amazing, actually.

It demonstrates that your life can change just like that, and change for the better, of course.

5. The character’s situation doesn’t support their love:

Like in Romeo and Juliet, who came from feuding families, and Twilight, where one was human and one was not, their situation is at odds with their love for one another, and it generates real conflict.

It can’t just be a misunderstanding, it has to be something that has to be resolved. In our book, Stargazing from Nowhere, Kristen, the protagonist, runs an anonymous and popular blog that criticizes a band, and once she meets its drummer, completely falls for him.

She hasn’t told him who she is, so that’s something that would get in the way of their love, as it affects trust. The relationship, their love, has to overcome this deceptive situation as it’s there between them, silently threatening to break them up.

About us:
Isabel Thomas and Marilyn Thomas are sisters who write together. Their debut YA novel, a chick-lit romance, Stargazing from Nowhere, is about a regular girl with a secret blog who meets her rock star crush when he comes to her small town, which is in the middle of nowhere.

For additional information, you can also check out their website.

Thanks so much for stopping by Isabel and Marilyn!

What are your thoughts on romance in YA? What do you look for and what do you wish you could see more of? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.


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