Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Single Dad Hero in Romance Novels (plus book giveaway)

by Narelle Atkins

The single dad hero is a popular storyline in the romance genre. My publisher, Harlequin, has a Glossary of Terms for the Romance Novel Novice on their website. The Single Father/Parent stories are defined as Stories highlighting the particular challenges of finding love as a single parent.

There are different dynamics at play in a romance story involving parents of small children. The romance plot will include the children in some capacity. The children may play a large or small role in the story, and the heroine will be falling in love with a ready-made family. 

Huffington Post published an article last year titled Single Dad: Should you date one? Romance writers find these types of articles interesting from a research perspective. The article talks about the potential problems and pitfalls facing women who date single fathers. Problems and pitfalls equal potential story ideas for creating conflict in a romance plot. 

The back story for a single dad romance can evolve in a myriad of ways in a general market romance. In contrast, a single dad hero in an inspirational/Christian romance is often a widower who has lost his wife in tragic circumstances. Christian publishers are aware that a portion of their readership may hold conservative values. As a result, they may choose not to publish romances with divorced main characters. 

Ben Morton, my hero in The Nurse’s Perfect Match, is an apple farmer and single dad who lost his wife to cancer. He struggles to understand why a loving God would take away the mother of his children. His late wife was also a Christian, and they had a strong marriage. Her death triggered a faith crisis in his life. 

My heroine, Amy Wilkins, is a widow who lost her husband when her marriage was in crisis. Her late husband made a cameo appearance in Falling for the Farmer. He was the big city doctor with his ear glued to his phone during the photo session after Amy’s sister’s wedding. Amy moves back home to Snowgum Creek. She works as a nurse in the medical clinic owned by Ben’s younger brother, Luke. 

Ben’s two children, Chloe and Declan, are minor characters who play an important role in the story. The romance plot would fall apart if Chloe and Declan weren’t in it. I think they’re cute kids, with their own unique personalities and quirks. They aren’t perfect children, and they do test their father’s patience at times. Chloe forms a special bond with Amy during the story. 

Their Uncle Luke and Aunty Rachel, Ben’s siblings, plus their paternal grandparents, are very proactive and involved in their lives. Luke is the hero in The Doctor’s Return, the next book in the series. 

Why do romance readers find single dad hero's appealing? I think the Huffington Post article provides a few answers to this question. The single dad hero has grown up, matured, and is taking care of himself and his children. He has proven he’s not going to disappear and shirk his family responsibilities. 

The heroine’s maternal instincts are awakened. She sees his nurturing and sensitive side by the way he loves and interacts with his children. Her heart is touched because she can envisage receiving the same love and tenderness from him. 


NURSE AMY WILKINS HAS COME HOME 

After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad. 

As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart. 


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I’m excited that my second book, The Nurse’s Perfect Match, releases in ebook format tomorrow, May 1, and in print on May 6. To celebrate, I’m offering a print giveaway (worldwide, wherever The Book Depository delivers) of The Nurse’s Perfect Match to one of our blog readers. To entry the drawing, please leave a comment on this post and complete the Rafflecopter information below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re a romance reader, do you like single dad romances? Do you have a favourite single dad romance novel on your keeper shelf? Do you like reading fiction books, in any genre, that include children? I’d love to hear your thoughts.



NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a six-book contract. 

She is also a member of International Christian Fiction Writers and Inspy Romance group blogs. 
http://internationalchristianfictionwriters.blogspot.com
http://www.inspyromance.com

Narelle is a co-founder with Jenny Blake of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). 
http://acrba.blogspot.com 

Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, was a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse's Perfect Match in May 2014, The Doctor's Return in August 2014, and Her Tycoon Hero in November 2014. 

Website: http://www.narelleatkins.com 
Blog: http://narelleatkins.wordpress.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NarelleAtkinsAuthor 
Twitter: @NarelleAtkins https://twitter.com/NarelleAtkins

23 comments:

  1. This sounds like an interesting storyline and I would love a chance to read it! Sonja dot Nishimoto at gmail dot com

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    1. Hi Sonja, I hope you have the opportunity to read The Nurse's Perfect Match :) Good luck in the drawing!

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  2. You see this happening all around us today.So glad you created a story about it, Narelle. It may very well touch a chord in many hearts.

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    1. Hi Rita, I agree, and I hope my book will touch a chord with readers. I had a lot of fun writing about the children :)

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  3. Your first book was great and I was wondering what happened to these characters!! I can't wait to find out!

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    1. Hi Beth, I'm glad you enjoyed Falling for the Farmer, and you'll see a few familiar faces in The Nurse's Perfect Match. Megan, Jack's sister, is the heroine in the following book, The Doctor's Return. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing :)

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  4. Romances with single dads and children are fine when it doesn't detract from the storyline, but enhances the theme of the novel. As long as it's well-written I like them just fine!

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    1. Hi Heidi, I agree, we can't allow the kids to take over the story! And, they do try to take centre stage, lol. Good luck in the drawing :)

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  5. Looks like a grew book.
    LsnLjohnson at aol dot com

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    1. Hi Marilyn, Thanks for stopping by, and good luck in the drawing :)

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  6. Hi Narelle, Congratulations on your latest book. I've read several romances with a single dad in them but I think maybe I've seen more of the single dad theme in the movies. I recently read a short story by Sandra Orchard which had a single dad hero, it was very sweet. All the best with your tour.

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    1. Hi Linsey, I agree, the single dad theme is popular in movies, too. Sandra's short story sounds interesting, and I'll have to look out for it. Thanks for your congrats :)

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  7. Hmmm, this is always an interesting one for me.
    To be honest, as a general rule I don't enjoy this storyline. The reason being: it is too often portrayed as terribly romantic with no follow-up to the healing process needed after marriage (don't worry Narelle, I wouldn't expect that with the word count of a single title and The Nurse's Perfect Match is still on pre-order for me!).
    You see, I married a widower and became an instant mother to a wee boy of five - and I was only nineteen. I understand that most novels stop at the couple getting married or thereabouts, but as someone in this unique situation, I would like to see the story continue more often than it does, after the I do's.
    Perhaps a sequel Narelle....?

    Great post as always and I look forward to getting my copy to put next to Falling for the Farmer.

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    1. Hi Cat, Thanks for your insightful thoughts, and sharing your experiences. It's challenging to write the single dad romance plot in a realistic way that isn't sugar coat.

      I'd be switching genres to women's ficton/contemporary fiction if I continued the story after they married. It would be an interesting premise to explore, especially the healing process you've mentioned. I hope you enjoy reading The Nurse's Perfect Match :)

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  8. Congratulations on the release of The Nurses Perfect Match, Narelle. I'm a fan of single parent romances and look forward to reading this one. It's next on my to-read list, which means I'll be reading it this Saturday. :)

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    1. Hi Dotti, I hope The Nurse's Perfect Match meets your expectations :)

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  9. Hi Narelle,
    Both you and the Huffington Post article make very interesting points. If I'd stopped to think about it, I would have thought the single dad character has a bit of appealing vulnerability, some tenderness, loyal and proof that he will still stick to something that matters. I even had one in one of my books (Piers in "The Risky Way Home") Looking forward to reading "The Nurse's Perfect Match" and hope it does well for you.

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    1. Hi Paula, I agree, the vulnerability, tenderness and loyalty are appealing qualities in a hero. I hope you enjoy The Nurse's Perfect Match :)

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  10. The blurb for 'The Nurse's Perfect Match' really appealed to me and I guess it's the single dad thing that got me although I hadn't realised it. Really looking forward to reading it.

    BTW I'd really like to read something longer from you one day - no pressure!!!

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  11. Hi Andrea, yes, one day I'll probably consider writing longer books. Right now, I'm happy to write the shorter books for Heartsong :) I hope you enjoy reading TNPM.

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  12. Hope this one does well for you too Narelle. I enjoyed your first book. Look forward to this one

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    1. Hi Dale, Thanks for your encouraging words :) I'm glad you enjoyed reading Falling for the Farmer, and I hope you enjoy reading this one, too.

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  13. Congratulations to Beth N :) Beth has won a print copy of The Nurse's Perfect Match in the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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