Ah, angst. Gritty, heart-breaking, and best of all – irresistible. My fiancé, Panda, asked me why I include angst in my writing. You see, Panda is as straightforward as they come. He doesn’t pull any punches in conversation and always says what he means the first time around. Generally, this leads to no issues unless he misfires during the wrong time of the month. Example: “Why are you getting chocolate? Didn’t you just buy it last week?” Silly man. Anyway, I explained to my well-meaning yet misguided partner that life is angsty, therefore a romance novel should be too.
Not everything is sunshine and roses. If it were, life wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Some things are absolutely horrific at the time to go through, but you learn to look back and laugh at them years later. Remember the time you pierced your nose, and your mom went apeshit? It was Earth-shattering at the time that you couldn’t have a hunk of metal in your face, but years later, you laugh about it. At least I do. I also have the awesome scar tissue in my nostril as proof. Pro tip: don’t pierce your own nose at 15, guys.
Similarly, real romance isn’t angst-free. You’re jumping headfirst into a relationship with your crazy, their crazy, and everyone else’s crazy. Puppy love gets real after a spell, especially when you move in together and real life smacks you in the face with literal dirty laundry, questionable grooming habits, and more. While those aren’t fun to read about in a romance novel, other things are part of the party. Past histories, outside influences (uh, in-laws anyone?), and even self-sabotage can play a role in romantic angst.
With Privately, the angst is abundant. Jason and Elena have both been through life’s mud and have the stains to prove it. But sometimes a little romance is all you need to scrub some of it off, right? In Luke Barrett’s upcoming adventure, things get downright sticky. Like mud, molasses, and maple syrup sticky. We’ll see how that washes off.
What do you think of angst mixed in romance writing? Are angsty romances for you?