Imaginative romance author, Landra Graf, is famed for writing across several genres about intriguing heroes and spunky protagonists. She conveys romance in a broad range of genres while honoring diversity. I’ve followed her writing for years and am thrilled to share her notions on how to maintain story structure in every story-telling flavor.
Question: You advocate for writers to read books based on what they enjoy and not limit their reading list to the genres they write. What elements do you apply to your stories when evaluating a different genre from what you write?
Answer: Everything. Honestly, reading different writers in general opens your mind to more possibilities from conflict and resolution, wounds characters suffer from, and even deep point-of-view and sensory details. There are so many different ways to tell a story as well. Recently I finished Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston and the book left a good mark on me. The story was engaging, but what threw me is that McQuiston wrote the entire thing in 2nd person point-of-view. I’ve never read that before and found the change of pace interesting. I’m not sure if I will attempt it myself, but I’ve been trying to see why this worked for the story and how did it make the story better.
Question: You hook the reader in your Cupid Cafe openings by showing strong protagonists who happen to need rescuing by sensitive heroes. How do you keep the reader engaged in the beginning?
Answer: I try to provide an interesting premise and loads of personality. Though I think my goal is to show protagonists as relatable and human, giving readers something, they can signify with, allowing them to have empathy for the characters and connect in a way that wants to see the protagonists complete their journey.
Question: You write dynamic romances between complex characters with explosive settings in your Bad Boys of Space series. In addition to placing hooks in the beginning, you are celebrated for shock factors. Please share an example of a shock factor from one of your novels.
Answer: Ooh, that’s hard because I don’t want to ruin the story for the reader, but shock factors are always about doing the unexpected or sending a character into the worst place imaginable. One of my shock factors is where the bad guy the protagonists were worried about isn’t the one they should be concerned with, shocking with the reader the realization that the danger isn’t over, the worst is yet to come. It screams, “Turn the page.”
Question: In your Beyond Fairytales series, you engage readers with your compelling setup where your protagonist has lost her brother to a curse. What is the secret for getting readers to remain engaged with your characters?
Answer: Refrain from the info dump and telling vs. showing. Allow the character to drop little bits of them, their past, onto the page like droplets of water. Slowly unfolding their secrets throughout the story. Showing their personality through actions and mannerisms, instead of simply stating a character is one way or another. Both of these tie into deep points-of-view, getting close to those characters so the readers feel close.
Question: You write sci-fi, paranormal, and alternate history romances. All of these show your strong imagination, but they fall under different genres. How important is it for a story to fulfill the elements of a specific genre?
Answer: Fulfilling the elements of a specific genre is super important. Even more so to read within the genre to be able to offer unique takes, fresh ideas, but also still meet the expectations of the readers. While those genres may not be my favorite to read, I find more I can offer when reading them.
Thank you for so very much for sharing your craft. You have graced many lives with your love stories.
You can peruse Landra Graf’s full list of books at https://www.landragraf.com.