Posted by on 2nd June 2023

Recurring themes and tropes in my romance novels. 

I write steamy contemporary outdoor adventure romance stories. While setting them in the outdoors means some themes and tropes in my romance novels are going to be constants, it’s funny how many other themes and tropes recur in my work—though I think that’s true of all authors.

Some are intentional, but many of them somehow find their way into my books through my subconscious. Now that I’ve penned six and published four, I’m beginning to see the trends.

Intentional themes and tropes in my romance novels:

  • Women rescuing men in the outdoors. As a woman who’s rescued plenty of men while working as a whitewater raft guide, I love flipping the script and changing the narrative this way. So, I write Alpha females who are deserving of love not despite their more masculine qualities or interests, but because of them (see competence porn below).
  • The beauty and value of wild places. My degree is in Environmental Education, I spent years as a Naturalist, and I studied nature writing in college. It’s important to me to expose people to nature in all its beauty and power and grandeur because you don’t save places you don’t know or care about.
  • Beta male/Cinnamon roll heroes. The heroes in my stories are always amalgamations of all the men I’ve known and loved in my life. They are real, dimensional men with feelings. Some might struggle more to express themselves, but they always find a way. And they are men who are more than willing to admit that a woman can be brilliant, competent, beautiful, strong, sexy and more skilled or knowledgeable than them.
  • Competence porn. People who are good at something, and know it but aren’t cocky about it, are sexy. Whether it’s setting up camp, woodworking, ballet, or anything else. In particular, I enjoy showing women who are good at things normally associated with men.
  • Finding your own path to happiness and “success”. Between society, parents, and the basic tenants of capitalism, we’re all told what we should do with our lives. I took a path that was decidedly not what I was supposed to do and have created a happy and fulfilling life. I also took a few detours into well-paying jobs that should’ve led me to success but only made me unhappy. Since I spend far too much time thinking about this sort of thing, I decided to explore it in my writing.

Unintentional themes and tropes. 

  • Can’t judge a book by its cover. Many of us, especially women and minorities, have dealt with being pigeonholed based on how we present ourselves outwardly—whether it’s at a job or while dating. It’s happened to me so many times in so many situations I almost expect it. Which is why it seems to seep into so many of stories.
  • Friends with benefits. I had a few fantastic FWB relationships in my twenties. Only one turned into something more, but regardless, they always seem like a good idea at the time…Apparently, some of my characters feel the same.
  • Food porn. I love to cook and eat good food, and we all gotta eat. So, many conversations and scenes in my books are set around meals. This means I must also describe what the characters are tasting and experiencing and try to make my readers drool (or get turned on, depending.).
  • Found family and female friendships. I didn’t intend to write about these topics as much as I do, but whatever is important to me tends to bleed into my writing. When I decided to focus the Wild Love series around three girlfriends it was mainly in response to how many series are focused around brothers or male teammates. I didn’t realize where it would lead. But it will definitely be a focus of mine from now on.

Check out all of my award-winning books here