Thursday, August 28, 2008

Modern Heat Q&A Pt 3.

Am loving some of these questions you guys are bringing my way!!! Thank you! And so long as you keep em coming I'll keep answering em ;)

Janet asked: What about character careers for this line. Can heroines be artists or have quirky jobs? And can heroes still be in normal jobs such as fire fighters or do they now need to be super wealthy?
This is one of the most fun things about this brand shiny new line for me. There are firm favorites when it comes to fantasy, n'est pas? Tall dark and handsome is a classic. Alpha male is a classic. Millionaires are often billionaire's nowadays but that's inflation (I've patented the squillionaire btw so if you use that term please give me a shout out - I'm thinking ahead with the world economy the way it is and all...) - cos stinking rich is a fantasy right up there with the Prince from fairy stories. Sexy, well do I really need to point that out?

Now let's look at those fantasies from the point of view of Modern/Presents - THE top selling line. Why do they sell the way they do? Because they tap into the fantasies my friends. Some may not be particularly PC in this modern age but we're talking FANTASY and PURE ESCAPISM here. Remember that. And then remember that Modern Heat has frequently been dubbed 'Presents Younger Sister'.

So what does that mean?

I'll give you my take on it shall I?

It's a brand shiny new century our brand shiny new line finds itself in. From a marketing point of view I'm assuming we're here to help tempt a new generation of readers across into the line. Quite possibly the kind of readers who might consider a milder mannered heroine as TSTL. (that's too stupid to live for those not in the know) This may well be the reader who doesn't 'get' the fantasy of being blackmailed into bed by a gorgeous rich alpha male. Nope, this would be the reader who if she walked in that heroines shoes would be seeking a restraining order or a court case for harassment or might merely engage a swift upwards jerk of a well placed knee...

The Modern Heat heroine would agree with that reader (She may well feel bad about the latter but she'll justify it by telling herself he had it coming...) And if there's gonna be any seriously hot horizontal OR vertical OR balance defying action coming out of any blackmailing it'll be on HER TERMS as much as HIS. Or she'll put up one hell of a fight. This heroine may be as susceptible to a decent fantasy as the rest of us with a pulse but she'll go into it with her eyes wide open (or she'll THINK she does). And this kinda gal can be as quirky and original as you like when it comes to her career BUT she will have expectations of that career the way all women her age will. Chances are she'll have plans and goals and will be climbing an invisible ladder in some form or another. Modern day women will get that. They might envy little Miss TSTL when it comes to being waited on hand and foot, her ability to buy Manolo's and having this stunningly sexy male tend to her every...erm... well you get where I'm going - BUT she'll wonder what the hell TSTL does to fill the time and keep her brain active while she waits around for him to finish running his empire. Where are her girlfriends for the gossip factor? How many gay BFF's does she have? Why doesn't she understand texting lingo? And why in the name of all that's Cosmo didn't SHE have a go at seducing HIM???

Now I should point out here in bold lettering for emphasis that NOT ALL MODERN/PRESENTS HEROINES ARE TSTL!!! It's all in the interpretation my friends. And readers tastes are as individual as authors voices. I KNOW. I'm a reader FIRST. So please - no hate comments. I bruise easy.

So hopefully that answers the first part of the question.... if not feel free to elaborate and I shall follow suit. Any old excuse me ;)

Now. Modern Heat heroes. Let's just take a moment to sigh shall we?


...... S-I-G-H.

We could also add a superlative YUM at this point. This guy is fantasy in hyperdrive. He's the main reason readers are drawn to the line and I for one GET THAT!!! To my mind he's the guy who in a few years has the potential to be an ideal Modern/Presents hero. He's sex-on-legs. He's confident to the point of slappable but carries it with so much disgustingly irresistible charm you kinda forget about the slapping while staring at him in stunned disbelief from a new-found horizontal position. What stops him from becoming the kind of tyrant some readers perceive Modern/Presents heroes to be? (and again I hasten to add NOT EVERYONES OPINION) Answer? Our Modern Heat heroine.

Is this guy rich? Editorially we have moved in that direction, I don't think anyone will deny that. After all we want to appeal to existing Modern/Presents readers as much as we hope to bring new readers to the line, right?! What you do to keep it fresh and to add that Modern Heat dash of brand shiny new century is to find ways of making him rich in todays world. Read Forbes online. Read Hello magazine. Have a look see where modern day millionaire's (and lemme tell ya there are more of them nowadays than there ever were and a great many of them are younger now than they ever were! Hence the rising number of Billionaires....) are making their money. Internet entrepreneurs..... telecommunications... media... the younger generation of moneyed families and European royalty... These guys are OUT THERE. And they play as hard if not harder than many young millionaires did decades ago. Just read a paper or two for the associated scandals! And remember as a society we are living longer - so even if these guys are inheriting money the chances are they won't be a CEO (unless they built the company from scratch) or being handed the keys to the kingdom as fast as they might have done a few decades ago (unless their parents were useless and they've stepped up to the plate and salvaged the family fortune). These guys have time to play. And if they're building on their fortunes at the same time? GOLD my friends. Pure Modern Heat GOLD.

Me? I like to mess with my millionaires. (I WISH!) The delicious Gabe for example made his money in construction. He's a hands on kinda guy. He worked for every cent. And he isn't changing who he is for anyone....well.... except possibly my heroine that is ;) And Adam? Well for a good portion of the book Adam is perceived as being the family rebel. He left when he was 21 and has returned on a stonking great beast of a motorcycle with ATTITUDE. To the naked eye he doesn't appear to be filthy stinking rich. But he is. He's also got a genius level I.Q. And the one, in the end, turns out goes hand in hand with the other. Mind you - it's also part of his conflict. A BIG PART. I like to play with the fantasy some. Mind you I also like it when my heroines are irreverent about the importance of money. But then for a Modern Heat hero who has worked his perfectly toned buns off for that security it's a tad annoying not to be respected for having earned it...

My advice would be to look at the classic fantasy hooks of the Modern/Presents line as much as you study the Modern Heat line. Then think of how you can put an original twist on the kind of reader favorites that make the line the mega-seller it is! Bottom line? A Modern Heat hero could probably become a Modern/Presents hero.... A Modern Heat heroine? Might be a harder sell...

But that's just my opinion.

Please remember the easily bruised statement...


Barbara said...

Okay, I forgot to add something in reference to this question.

I read a post from Kate Hardy where she said that, yes, the h/h will have jobs, but don't let the job get in the way of the story. The story is about the hero and heroine.

At least, that's how I interpreted it.

I will go to my writing now . . .

Trish Wylie said...

Hi Barbara and yes I'd agree with that. To a certain extent. Like I've said - this is a diverse line so you'll get differing opinions ;)

NOTHING should get in the way of the story which is ALL ABOUT THE CHARACTERS. Having said that their job can be a reflection of their personalities and therefore a clue to their conflict (like Adam) - it can be a large part of their social interaction - something that is a source of frustration for them or that gets in the way of their relationships... you with me? So if it TELLS US SOMETHING then it's relevant to the story and therefore worth including... it just doesn't take up so much of the word-count that the characters journeys suffer because of it...

And in the classic boss/workplace romance it's even more of a key ingredient because it causes enforced proximity which can actually ADD to the story...

Make sense?

Barbara said...


You are completely right about that and, yes, that makes sense. You just don't want to choose a job/profession that is going to overtake the story.

I think my first post got lost somewhere. And, now, I can't remember what I said . . .

Awesome post for today.


Janet said...

What a great post. I think I get this type of heroine now.

Oh...and you mentioned blackmail. Would a Modern Heat hero try to blackmail the heroine a little, or does that method of getting what he wants belong more to the traditional Presents hero?

Janet said...

Hey Trish,

There's a great interview with you in a South Africa newspaper today (The Star) From the Independent, Dublin


Aideen said...

Oh yum, you just listed all the reasons that make Mod Heat my favourites.
I'm so in love with the man in my head at the moment that it's not funny. No, really, it's not. My dh is starting to feel abandoned.
Trish, I'm not going back to conflict cos you did a bang up job with your previous answer. But...
take into account that all of us here are attempting the comp right? We know without conflict there is no story. But with only the first chapter to impress with, is it acceptable to show only the 'tiniest' bit of conflict here? I mean, we can start upping the ante after the first chapter right? But I have plans to have my first chapter only barely touch on conflict cos most of it is taken up by H&h trying not to get killed as their chemistry causes explosions.

Please help.

Aideen said...

Just remembered something.
When the posts started over on Iheart I posed a question to all the lovely mod heat ladies who might have time to answer.
I don't want you to feel left out so;
If you had to sum up the flavour of Modern Heat using one word, what would your word be?
So far I've had; cosmopolitan, hot, aspirational, fun, sexy, rich, quirky, relevant, real.


Melissa Blue said...

Aideen, I've also seen young, hip and flirty.

Now for today's question:

50k isn't a lot of room to do anything, but get the characters together (preferrably in bed), but how much face time can you have for secondary characters?

You know you can't (or at least I don't think I can) define your character or the type of person they are in 3D without those friends or family.

Thanks again for letting us pick your brain on this line. Geez, I try to fight the Harlequin itch...