Saturday, February 11, 2012

Guest Post with Ruthie Knox

Stuck in the Midwest with You
I love stories about people who are stuck together. Locked in a room, maneuvered into a marriage of convenience, or reluctantly impelled to join forces on some kind of worldwide adventure—it all works for me. There’s something about those situations of forced intimacy, or the snarky comments and arguments of the early hours as the characters get to know each other, or the gradual build-up of trust and mutual admiration . . . *happy sigh*

On the surface, a romance novel about a couple on a cross-country bike ride might not sound like it has much in common with a locked-room novel, but Ride with Me, my debut novel, definitely does. Tom and Lexie both want to ride the TransAmerica Trail—a 4,200-mile-long bike route that crosses the United States from Oregon to Virginia—and for reasons a bit too complex to go into here, they get stuck riding it together. Grumpy bike mechanic, control-freak schoolteacher, and three months of unasked-for companionship. Fun, fun, fun.

What I love about the stuck-together setup is that the setting becomes both an ally and an obstacle of the romance. Take a marriage of convenience plot: the marriage itself forces the characters together and introduces intimacy on a sped-up schedule that leaves them reeling and confused—and also gives them ample opportunities to fall for each other. But because the marriage is essentially a sham thing, entered into for the wrong reasons, the hero and heroine ultimately have to get past it, to work out whatever problems caused them to make the bad decision to marry without love in the first place, and to redefine the union they’ve entered into as one they enter freely, from love.

In a similar way, my bike-trip romance throws Tom and Lexie together for three months, and their forced proximity gives them all kinds of opportunities to start falling for each other that neither of them welcomes. The road brings adventures, opportunities, frustrations, and Tom and Lexie have to deal with them together. They can’t help but start to see each other clearly, to start recognizing their attraction. But at the same time, their relationship comes with its own expiration date. They’re together for the length of the ride. After that, it’s over. Which means that the two of them have to work out a way through their personal obstacles and redefine what the ride means to them and what they mean to each other in order to find their happy-ever-after.

It’s one of my favorite tropes in romance—and in fiction generally. I just love watching what happens when two resentful people get stuck together, fall in love, and find their way out of the tangle they’re in as a team.

What about you—what’s your favorite romance trope? Do you prefer a gradual getting-to-know-you plot, or do you like to see characters plunged into situations of inconvenient intimacy? One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen to win a digital copy of Ride with Me. Winners will pick up their copy through Net Galley. Good luck to all!

Ride with Me, available from Loveswept on February 13, 2012!

In this fun, scorching-hot eBook original romance by Ruthie Knox, a cross-country bike adventure takes a detour into unexplored passion. As readers will discover, Ride with Me is not about the bike!

When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger — a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.

These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Ruthie abhors an epilogue and insists a decent romance requires at least three good sex scenes.


Shelley B said...

I like all kinds of stories: childhood friends who fall in love as adults, girls or guys who fall in love with their sibling's best friends, enemies turned lovers, and young love revisited. This book sounds awesome! I love grumpy guys who are brought to their knees by the right woman. Thanks!

Ruthie said...

I love them all, too! Thanks for visiting, Shelley. :)

ztalady80 said...

I don't have a preference. I pretty much love all the storylines an author can come up with. Make it entertaing and engaging and I'll read it. I've been waiting for your book for a while. It's been on my Amazon wish list for about 3 months.

Ruthie said...

Ztalady80 -- woohoo! That is music to my ears! Hope you enjoy it.

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