Friday, March 26, 2010

Cara Elliott GuestBlog: Those Who Can Teach, Learn

CONTEST TODAY!!! One randomly chosen commenter wins a copy of Cara Elliott's marvelous debut "To Sin With A Scoundrel!" Pls have your email address available in your comment or blogger profile to enter.

From Cara: Elliott here, feeling absolutely delighted that Michelle invited me to stop by to chat with the Bellas about books! As some of you may know, I’ve been doing a lot of talking about romance novels this spring, as fellow author Lauren Willig and I have been teaching a undergrad seminar at Yale on the Regency Historicals. (You all heard about it here first from Michelle in December)!

Well, in addition to talking, I’ve also been doing a lot of thinking, and lot of listening. To prepare for each class, Lauren and I draft up a worksheet or the book assigned, with detailed questions about characterization, plot. POV (Point of View) and style, designed to provoke student discussion. It’s been such a fascinating learning process for me to re-read books I’ve enjoyed just for “fun,” for now I have to step back and look at them from a different perspective. Analyzing the elements of a story, as well as the historical trajectory of the genre as a whole, has made me see so many new nuances of voice and style.

But even more fun has been listening to eighteen college students discuss romance novels. For two hours, they engage in a spirited debate about the elements that create a compelling book, talking about such things as what makes a great hero or heroine, how does an author ignites emotional “chemistry”, and all the ways in which love is portrayed. As you can imagine, the opinions are . . . inspiring, especially for an author like me. They are fresh, funny, original -- and sometimes unexpected. The energy and enthusiasm just lights up the room! (BTW, we meet in a wonderful wood-paneled seminar room, with fabulous stained glass windows—here’s one of them, left). I come out of class smiling, feeling that I’ve learned as much as my students.

So what about you, Bellas? What do you like about sitting around with fellow romance readers and discussing what works and doesn’t work for you in a story? In our class, we’ve had the most fun in talking about the characters. Do you like Alphas or Beta heroes? Or a mix of the two? How about heroines -- do you prefer a hellion hoyden or a lady who keeps her talents under wraps?
***
Make sure you jump on board the RBTB NEWs so you don't miss out on any of the upcoming new stuff happening. You'll only get the advance deets if you take part. So please join here, won't you?!
___

30 comments:

LauraR said...

My only opportunity to discuss romance stories is online. I appreciate the online community as I have discovered several authors this way. Also, many times someone else can describe much better than I why I enjoyed a particular story than I can myself. Then I use their words!
My favorite heroes are the Alphas, but I know I couldn't live with one in real life. Hoydens are a lot of fun.
Thanks for the opportunity to win your book!

lranda11 (at) yahoo (dot) com

cara elliott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cara elliott said...

LauraR, it's definitely fun to hear other talk about what they like in a book because it helps clarify your own thoughts. And LOL on real-life Alphas! So true!

Danny said...

I discuss romances with my friends worldwide online, because no one here reads romances and if they read it's only in German and the market here is pretty limited.

I absolutely love Alpha heroes, but they to have a tiny Beta touch, otherwise they are unbearable and I could constantly wring their necks. LOL.

When it comes to heroines I like the unusual ones like the tomboys or the shy ones

Becke Davis said...

I tend to prefer the alpha heroes, as annoying as they can be at times.

And I like heroines who are stronger than they think they are.

twin2for2 said...

I too, only comment on-line about romances. I don't get out much but my books keep me company and "take me away" (as an old commercial once stated). I love almost all romance genre's. I absolutely love Nora Roberts, but, I find the novels she writes as JD Robb not to my liking. I like a mixture of characters. Hoydens are fun, Ladies are superior, Alphas have to be shown how to be more sensitive. My reading is ecclectic and my joy.

Yea to the romance genre.

denise said...

I like the Alpha male and the lady who keeps her talents under wraps. There is something very exciting about that to me.
Congrats on your new release. The cover is absolutely beautiful.
I would love to have this book.
csdsksds[at]gmail[dot]com

cara elliott said...

Danny, that's one of the great things about the internet. It connects you to like-minded people all over the word.

I have to agree about the Alpha-Beta mix. And glad to hear you like unusual heroines!

cara elliott said...

Becke, that's a very interesting comment about heroines! It really touches a very basic core element of the human spirit

cara elliott said...

twin2for2, we authors love hearing from dedicated readers like you. I'm so glad books give you such pleasure.

cara elliott said...

Thanks Denise. I love the cover, too!

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Mallory said...

Hi Cara!

Heroines can vary in other ways, but they have to be strong to keep me interested.

I'm curious about whether any guys signed up for your class.

Margaret

cara elliott said...

Kirsten, sound like you want your heroines strong enough to tame the alpha!

cara elliott said...

Hi Margaret! Congrats on the RITA nomination. That's SO awesome!

And yes, we do have men in our class, and it's wonderful!

Deb said...

I agree with Becke that I like heroines that are stronger than they think they are. I think I also like a hero to be a little bit Alpha and a little bit Beta; hmmm, well, maybe more Alpha than Beta!

I like reading reviews from some of my friends and fellow bloggers because I know I can trust their voice and opinions. I haven't sat with others discussing romance novels, but I have taken a children's lit class several times and we sit and discuss character devel and story structure.

It would be so much fun to take a class on romance novels!!

Margaret Mallory said...

Thanks for the congrats!!

I'm guessing a couple of those guys thought a class on Romance would be a good place to meet women. ;)

Margaret

Barbara E. said...

I love blogs because it gives me an opportunity to learn about fabulous authors and their wonderful books, and to discuss books with other like-minded folks. I like all kinds of heros and heroines, as long as the story is engaging and entertaining, and ends with a HEA, I'm happy.

Andrea I said...

My commenting is online only. I love all the different blogs. I find new authors and books to read.


ainfinger@comcast.net

cara elliott said...

LOL Margaret! But I have to say, our men are very serious about the subject and contribute very good comments in class. Maybe they have an ulterior motive, but I really love their enthusiasm and engagement.

cara elliott said...

Barbara and Andrea, I feel the same way—I learn about new authors through blogs and have made some wonderful discoveries. I also enjoy the spirited discussions k like these about books and romance, and feel the internet has been such a great tool in connecting people with similar interests.

Virginia said...

I discuss romance novals with my sister all the time! I lone her my books and when she reads them we discuss them. I like both Alphas or Beta's depends on the mood! With heroines I prefer a hellion hoyden most of the time!

lead[at]hotsheet[dot]com

cara elliott said...

Thanks, for sharing, Virginia. How nice to have a sister who likes romance too.

Mitzi H. said...

I one of those readers that loves the alpha hero matched with an alpha heroine. I love romance novels, but not many of my friends do....so I don't the opportunity to talk much about them...That's why I love romance forums. It's a great place to discuss them and find new authors too.
mitzihinkey at sbcglobal dot net

cara elliott said...

Hi Mitzi, it's great to see so many readers who enjoy the reader forums. Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us.

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

I love discussing romance novels and stories, And I do like the Alpha hero, no mistake.

drewsoltesz@yahoo.ca

cara elliott said...

Thanks for chiming in, Karyn. Alphas seem to be the clear favorite!

Diane Gaston said...

Oh, I WISH I could be a fly on the wall in your classroom, Cara! It makes me smile just to hear you talk about it!

debbie h said...

I like both types of heros, the alpha he man and the beta geeky but lovable and usually buff in the buff guys. And heroines, I love the hoyden, just like me ;-)
Deb

cara elliott said...

Thanks, Diane! I really am having SO much fun teaching this class.

And debbie h, I have a soft spot for hoydens too, having been a real tomboy growing up.