Contemporary

Sold As Is By Holley Trent

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rise of the Rom-SitCom

I’m a romance writer with a humor writer’s heart. I’m George Carlin with a sprinkling of Jerry Seinfeld…and maybe a bit of Sarah Silverman thrown in for estrogen.

Most of my humor is observational. It relies on me creating a conspiratorial bond with my readers. I like to imagine me sidling close, covering my hand with my mouth, and whispering, “Did you see what she just did? Can you believe it?” I really do want readers to put down my books, go pop some popcorn, then return ready to read the sitcom unfolding.


Up until recently, I didn’t realize that’s what some of my books are—romantic situational comedies. I had a hard time figuring out how to categorize some of my funnier books, but then I stumbled onto the definition of a sitcom on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sitcom):

“…a situation comedy has a storyline and ongoing characters in, essentially, a comedic drama. The situation is usually that of a family, workplace, or a group of friends through comedic sequences.”

Check. (My cast sizes are the stuff of legends. I love building a strong supporting cast.)

Also, “… Sitcom humor is often character driven and by its nature running gags evolve during a series.”

Yep. I love me a running gag. In my contemporary romance Sold As Is, I’ve got two. One surrounds Mandy McCarthy’s love of a certain fashion item, and the other deals with her stream of ex-beaus. Sometimes a joke doesn’t become a joke until you tell it the third time. (That makes sense, right?)

Further, “… Often the status quo of the situation is maintained from episode to episode. An episode may feature a disruption to the usual situation and the character interactions, but this will usually be settled by the episode's end and the situation returned to how it was prior to the disruption. These episodes are then linked by the overarching storyline, driving the show forward.”

Uh-huh. I’m a big fan of having “episodes” in my books. Some people call them side stories or subplots. I call them “ways to torture my characters.” Real life comes with lots of frustrations, so sometimes a romance needs some diversions. Romance doesn’t happen in an isolated bubble. Life goes on around it. That’s why Mandy’s family dysfunction and career angst is a big part of her character arc. It’s why my hunky hero Aaron Owen can’t love out in the open. Together, those two have a big obstacle to overcome, but they’ve got to work out their little episodes before they can manage it.

Over-the-top or not, I think all the subplot weaving and jokes—even the groan-inducing ones—make a story so much richer. And I think of all my books, Sold As Is would be the very first I’d earmark for adaptation to television or film. Of course, they’d have to trim out some of the sex and some of Mandy’s unrepentant use of adult language, but the plot’s there!

Perhaps you can see a hint of the outrageous sitcom fodder in Sold As Is’s blurb:

**
Mandy McCarthy is unlucky in love and hapless on the job. In six weeks, she couldn’t sell a single used car at her stepfather’s lot. Just when she begins to fret that her fortune will never turn around, her salvation arrives at Archie’s A-1 Autos in a surprising form: the governor’s son.

Not only does Aaron Owen want to recruit Mandy to work for his car charity, but the two have an instant attraction that has them sneaking off for trysts during test drives. Unfortunately, Governor Owen plans to run for re-election and he expects his grown son to keep his nose clean. That means no shagging his staff, and definitely no falling in love with wildcards—at least not until after the election.

Mandy doesn’t want to play secret lovers and would rather let the love of her life go than hide as if she’s a dirty little secret. With the governor blackmailing his son and threatening to pull his charity’s grant funding if he doesn’t drop her, Mandy figures her luck will run out again unless someone’s willing to swing a U-turn…but who?
**
Sold As Is is available now everywhere fine ebooks are sold.

Do you like romances that unfold like sitcoms? If so, please share your favorite in the comments!

About Holley Trent
Holley Trent is a Carolina girl gone west. A long-time resident of eastern North Carolina, she currently resides with her family on the Colorado Front Range. She writes sassy contemporary and paranormal romances with Southern flair. Check out her full backlist at holleytrent.com, and catch her tweeting under the handle @holleytrent.

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