Guest Blog by Elisabeth Barrett, author of Blaze of Winter
One of my favorite books is The Three Musketeers, by Alexander Dumas. Set in France in 1625, the plot centers around four swordsmen who uncover treachery in the highest levels of the church, as well as in the English and French royal courts. The main story is interesting enough, but all the subplots make the book amazing! Several of the characters are quite the ladies’ men, and some of my favorite scenes are ones where the heroes are about to (or actually have) assignations with their lovers.
For example, in order to get close to a woman of interest (Milady, who turns out to be quite the baddie), one of the swordsmen, D’Artagnan, seduces her maid, Kitty. Is it essential to the story for D’Artagnan to sleep with poor Kitty (who inevitably falls in love with him)? No, but it makes things more fun! Of course, the main event is the scene where D’Artagnan (pretending to be someone else) sleeps with Milady, who then spends the rest of the novel trying to kill him. The subplot with Kitty is completely unnecessary, but it is thoroughly entertaining.
Or if we’re talking straight-up romance, let’s take one of my favorite Robyn Carr books that I recently re-read, Temptation Ridge (Virgin River). The main romance takes place between Shelby and Luke, and it’s a great one, with not-so-innocent Shelby pushing world-weary Luke to take the plunge. But the sweeter romance, in my opinion, was the slow-to-form one between older couple Walt Booth and Muriel St. Claire, which continues (also as a sub-plot) in the next book in the series, Paradise Valley. Part of the appeal of the Walt-Muriel romance is the eventual HEA, of course, but their relationship also takes some of the pressure off of Shelby and Luke. We don’t need to know what Shelby and Luke are doing or thinking 24/7, so it’s refreshing to have a break from the main action.
My second Star Harbor novel, Blaze of Winter, features Theo Grayson, a novelist of swashbuckling adventures, who returns to Star Harbor to work on his latest book. When he meets Avery Newbridge, a guarded social worker who is helping out her Aunt Kate at the Star Harbor Inn, he knows she’s something special. But she’s working through her own issues, and isn’t open to a relationship with Theo. It’s up to Theo to show Avery that he’s the man for her—for now, and for always.
Many characters from Deep Autumn Heat, the first book in the series, make appearances throughout Blaze of Winter. One of my favorite characters is Luke Bedwin, the owner of Star Harbor Hardware, who falls in love with Kate. Though everyone else around them can see Luke’s obvious affection for her, Kate is oblivious. After watching Luke struggle to gain Kate’s attention, Avery finally stages an intervention. I loved writing this subplot because the interactions between Avery and Kate and between Kate and Luke, are some of the most loving, real parts of the novel. The fact that Avery has chance to stop dealing with her own issues and focus on someone else for a while was a huge bonus, too. Several other subplots run through Blaze of Winter and the entire Star Harbor series, helping to frame the primary romance elements and add depth to the supporting cast of characters, and hopefully making things more enjoyable for readers!
About Blaze of Winter:
Winter heats up in this hot new Star Harbor romance, as another sexy Grayson brother, a wickedly handsome writer, plots his happily ever after with a sweet stranger.
Frustrated with her job in Boston, social worker Avery Newbridge welcomes the opportunity to reassess her life when family asks her to help manage the Star Harbor Inn. Trying to figure out her future is overwhelming enough, but she doesn’t count on distraction in the form of one Theo Grayson, the gorgeous, green-eyed author who she knows is trouble from the moment he saunters into the inn.
Not only does he have a talent for writing swashbuckling adventures, but Theo also has a soft spot for big-hearted damsels in distress, especially a woman who’s great at helping everyone—except herself. Avery’s demons challenge him, but for desire this hot, he isn’t backing down. With every kiss and heated whisper Theo promises her his heart . . . if only Avery is willing to open up and accept it.
Raised in a sleepy little Connecticut town, Elisabeth draws on her upbringing to write small-town romances. Her summers spent living and working on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard were the inspiration for the Star Harbor series, which kicked off with Deep Autumn Heat and continues with Blaze of Winter (coming September 10, 2012). Currently, Elisabeth lives in Northern California with her husband and three children. She loves all the Grayson brothers. Find her online: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
GIVEAWAY! Win a NetGalley preview copy of Blaze of Winter! The contest ends September 8th at midnight (EDT). You’ll need a NetGalley account, and to answer this question in the comment section: What books have you read where the subplots are as interesting as the main plot?