The Search for Fresh and Original

proof of their sinGuest blog by Dani Collins, author of Proof of Their Sin

I’m still a relatively new author and this is my first organized blog tour. This post is my tenth on Proof Of Their Sin and I’ve written three books and two partials since it was accepted. I’ve been moving the writing of this blog down my To Do List for a few days, mind drooling as I attempted to find something fresh to say about this story.

It’s the same struggle we face when writing the book in the first place. To counter that old argument that all romances are the same, we writers struggle to make this story different and fresh and fun.

But how? Especially when writing for a well-loved line like a Harlequin Presents? At its heart, Proof of Their Sin is a secret baby with a reunion romance. The hero, Paolo, is Italian and rich. I know you’ve seen these elements before and when it comes to certain things—a tone of voice, a heated caress—it’s really easy to fall back on a nice bit of phrasing as common as tycoons and virgins. (She husked, while stroking light fingertips across her keyboard.)

Characters, however are unique products of their personal history and life experience, bringing that stab of freshness we’re looking for, so I thought I’d give you Proof of Their Sin’s backstory.

Before I sold in May of 2012, I was working with Suzy, one of the editors at Mills & Boon. She had recently rejected one of my manuscripts (ouch) and asked me to submit three fresh ideas for consideration. Proof of Their Sin was one of them, sent under the title Kidnapped For Keeps. She wound up suggesting I pair the heroine from one synopsis with the Russian hero from the other.

There’s a whole long epic Russian tragedy about how that story marched toward eventual cold and wintry death. (It may yet see resurrection.) After its demise, I wrote No Longer Forbidden? It was accepted in a two-book contract and I still had this lovely synopsis entitled Kidnapped For Keeps which hadn’t exactly been rejected so I sent it along as my second book.

I already had a jump start on the story with a stunning dress for Lauren and a white tie ball and a revelation of an unplanned pregnancy. Wait, have you seen that in a romance before? Yeah, me too. Fortunately, I had plenty of questions to answer: How does she get in? How did she get pregnant? How does she know Paolo?

Pretty soon I was getting to know Lauren and Paolo. He’s a banker who only succeeds in that field by tempering his natural, high-octane, surf-typhoon-waves-in-Indonesia nature. For all his projection of aloofness, he was incredibly devoted to his best friend, Lauren’s first husband. Lauren is an absolute mouse when the story opens, but she steps into her grandmother’s vintage designer gown and dares Paolo to judge her. In her quiet way, she keeps Paolo on his toes and offers him the excitement he craves.

Due to another epic saga, my first Mills & Boon will release with my third this December, making Proof of Their Sin my North American debut. It will hit shelves in my hometown, on July first. I’m ridiculously excited. (I actually went into a store today to check for it and they groaned in empathy when they saw me. “It’s not here yet.”)

I hope Proof of Their Sin strikes a chord with you. Here’s the blurb:

A beautiful mistake…

Pregnant. Lauren Bradley’s heart stops-there’s only one man who can be the father and it’s not her late husband, the man everyone thinks is a celebrated war hero….

Ravaged with guilt at sleeping with his best friend’s wife, Paolo Donatelli closes his heart to Lauren forever. But in nine months’ time, the proof of their incredible night together will be there for the world to see.

Marriage is Paolo’s answer to avoiding more scandal, but it’s Lauren’s worst fear-she still bears the scars from the first time she said I do. Can she trust Paolo enough to reveal the truth?

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

What makes a romance stand out from the pack for you? Do you have an example of something really different that worked really well for you—or didn’t at all?

GIVEAWAY: I have a copy of Proof Of Their Sin for one lucky commenter.

dani collinsBio: Dani Collins spent two decades submitting to every publisher with a transom while holding down a day job and raising a family with her high school sweet heart.

When The Call finally came, Dani ran with it, going to contract on eight books in that first year. Along with her Harlequin Mills & Boon titles, she has an epic fantasy romance, The Healer, with Champagne Books and an indie-published rom-com, Hustled To The Altar.

While her stories span very different genres, she always delivers alpha-male heroes squaring off with spirited heroines in a deeply emotional, unforgettable romance.

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

I’d love to hear from you. Find me at: | FB:DaniCollinsAuthor | @DaniCollinsBook |Goodreads

Buy: Proof of Their Sin (One Night With Consequences)

Author: Guest Blogger

Guest Bloggers featured at Love Romance Passion are romance authors, various industry personnel, and readers just like you!

14 thoughts on “The Search for Fresh and Original”

    1. Hi Melody,

      Sadly, with a lot of publishers the authors don’t have any say in the cover or title. I’ve stopped using even a working title and just go with Theo&Jaya or whatever the character’s names are as I communicate with them on my books.

      They do take the cover and title very seriously, however, and do their best to match things up well so hopefully they usually work for the reader.

  1. I think that for me it’s in the dialogue and situations. Throw in a touch of humor & witty retorts and I’m very happy.


    1. Hi Mary,

      I tried answering this before I left for work this morning, but my computer imploded. LOVE technology 🙂

      I wanted to say I hope you get your hands on a copy of Proof Of Their Sin because the reviewers are saying the ending is a decent laugh (in a good way!) I admit I was being a bit of a smart alec when I wrote it, so I’m glad it played well.

      Thanks for commenting.

    1. Hi bn100,

      I recognize you! You’ve won a copy on another site. Please send me your email so I can make arrangements to deliver 🙂

      And I love that you love Lisa Kleypas. She was my saviour one winter when I was snowed in and had nothing but romance novels to get me through!

    1. Oh Erin, don’t we all! lol.

      From the writer’s side, I have to say that all we can do is put ourselves into the story, write it as best we can, and then release it, hoping it conveys what we meant and is received well.

      Writing is hard, but nothing worth doing is easy ;o)

    2. Erin!

      I just did a highly scientific draw with everyone’s names in a bowl (not mine, tho!) and had my son’s girlfriend draw.

      You won my giveaway copy of Proof Of Their Sin. Please contact me at dani(at)danicollins(dot)com with your mailing address.

      Thanks everyone,

  2. I love a variety of story lines, but I do enjoy it when a couple is brought together by a child. It can either be by a pregnancy or a child that may not even be theirs biologically.

    1. Hi Diane,
      It’s a very popular situation that a lot of readers enjoy. They’re very fun to write, too, just tricky because you always want to include more about that baby. 🙂

  3. I am always looking for new authors to read and your book sounds like the kind I enjoy reading. I have put it on my TBR list.

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