When I began writing romance I swore I’d never put kids in one of my books. Kids and romance – oil and water. Two things reinforced this view:
- Motherhood (wait a minute, isn’t the baby supposed to fit around our lifestyle?)
- Reading books that shoehorned a kid into the story to show how caring the heroine or hero was without the hero or heroine actually having to do any work.
My son was three months old when I threw a book against the wall because the heroine had twin babies who went down like angels at six p.m. and slept twelve hours. After which she dressed in pre-baby clothes, served her new love – the hero – a three-course dinner by candlelight and engaged in passionate all-night sex. Yeah, right!
Then I started writing and a kid sneaked into my first book, forcing my hero to stop being cool and urbane and demonstrate a little ineptness, a little uncertainty. Dragged my hero (and me) out of our comfort zone.
In my next romance, my hero was very good with kids. In fact he had such a special bond with his former girlfriend’s child that it really hurt him to do the right thing and encourage the boy’s relationship with his real father. The heroine fell in love with him. So did I.
I pulled back on the kid thing in the third book – after all, it was a very sexy premise – but somehow a smart baby and a sharp-tongued delinquent sneaked in anyway.
I guess I discovered that kids in books often force the hero and heroine to be heroic in a very real and powerful way. So these days I begrudgingly admit that sometimes kids can work in a romance.