Hope all you moms out there had a great Mother's day! (I did) Mine started with sleeping in, lovely homemade gifts from the kiddo, then a brunch with my mom and family, then I read all afternoon, then the hubby cooked me dinner.
It doesn't get better than that!
Anyhew, last week I was at a writer's forum and they were discussing children in romance novels. (Maybe Mother's Day prompted this. I'm not sure.)
Not a lot of readers (at the forum, anyway) enjoy seeing children in romance novels. In fact, I think I was the only one who said they liked seeing children in them.
What is it? Too close to reality?
Actually, yes. Most felt children or a child or a baby took away from the actual romance, the "fantasy", and was too real world for them.
Considering two of my soon-to-be three published romances have a child or children in them, I don't find that the case. :-) And apparently Harlequin's family style and/or secret baby romances do quite well too. Unless I'm the only one reading them, and I know that can't be.
But here's why I think a child or children can be a nice addition to a romance novel:
1) a child is a great vehicle to show character growth in one or two of your main characters. Your character may have started out a selfish playboy but now that he learns he has a family, he can change and be a responsible father by the end.
2) a child is a great vehicle for comic relief. I know my kiddo says the funniest things--and some of the things she's said or even the situations she's gotten herself into, I've used in my books.
3)a child can provide "likeability" for your character. Maybe your main character isn't the nicest person on the planet, but she/he can show a different side and have a different heart around a child. Very likeable.
4) a child can add great internal or external conflict for a character. Your main character doesn't have just he/she to worry about now, they have the child to consider in their quest for their goal. Conflict!