Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Guest Blogger: Sophie Gunn

It’s my pleasure to welcome author Sophie Gunn as the special guest blogger at Thoughts in Progress as she tours blogdom on her virtual blog tour.

Sophie’s latest release is HOW SWEET IT IS. Here’s a brief synopsis of it: “Single mom Lizzie Bea Carpenter learned long ago that no white knight was coming to save her. A hardworking waitress at the local diner, she's raising her daughter to be like the independent women in her "Enemy Club"--high school rivals turned best friends, promising to always tell each other the whole truth and nothing but!
Yet part of Lizzie wishes she did have a man's help, just for small stuff, like fixing up the house. Her fairy godmother must have been listening, because Dante "Tay" Giovanni soon appears. He's sexy, kind, and offering assistance--no strings attached.
Slowly, steadily, Lizzie's heart opens. But the grip of the past is fierce, and nothing in life is ever really free. Tay has his own tragedies to overcome, but if he can, he'll fix more than Lizzie's home. He'll show her just how sweet it is to be loved by him.”

Thanks to Sophie, Anna, and the good folks at the Hachette Book Group, I have 3 copies of HOW SWEET IT IS to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines.

Sophie stop by today to talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of creating her main character as a single mom.

The biggest advantage of making Lizzie, the main character from HOW SWEET IT IS, a single mother is that readers love books with kids. The biggest disadvantage is that readers hate books with kids.

Really! Both those statements are true. You can’t imagine how
split readers are on the issue of kids in romance novels.  Personally, I love them. I’m a mother of a fourteen-year-old girl, which is why I was very excited to include Paige, Lizzie’s daughter in HOW SWEET IT IS. But did I hesitate before I put her in? You bet! Because I know how much it turns off certain readers.  

But the truth is, kids in books is raise the stakes, which is a writer’s phrase for, “making stuff matter more so the story is more exciting.” For example, in HOW SWEET IT IS, Lizzie feels she must push Tay away, because her daughter’s father, the man who abandoned them fourteen years ago, is coming back. Lizzie doesn’t want to show her daughter that it’s okay to trust strangers, or rely on them. She is determined to be independent.

What do you think? Do you like kids in your romance novels?  

Thanks so much for having me on this blog today. If you want to find out more about HOW SWEET IT IS, stop by my website at http://sophiegunn.com.

Sophie, thanks for blogging here today. I think putting kids in a romance story makes it more realistic. There’s a lot of single moms (and dads) out there.

For a bit of background on Sophie - she grew up in suburban Philadelphia, but raced to New York City as soon as she got the chance. After four years at Columbia University, she worked at several of Manhattan's top advertising agencies as a copywriter, penning ads for Pepsi, BMW, Sony, and other major brands.

When her husband got a job in a tiny town in upstate New York, she knew her ad career was over. So she opened a computer file and typed, "Chapter One." Now, she's back in Philadelphia, six blocks from where she grew up, with her two cats, two kids, and one husband, writing what she loves and wondering why she ever left. She loves to hear from readers, so visit SophieGunn.com to contact her and to find out more.

Now for the giveaway guidelines. To enter this giveaway, send me an e-mail (mcbookshelf@gmail.com). Your subject line should read, “Win HOW SWEET IT IS.” Your message should include your name and mailing address. The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only and no post office box addresses can be accepted. In addition, Hachette is advising winners that they will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if they win the same title in two or more contests, they will receive only one copy of the title (or one set in the case of grouped giveaways) in the mail. (Winners here have always be great about letting me know if they have already won the book somewhere else so another winner can be selected. However, this announcement is something that has to be passed along from Hachette). And, just so you know, I don’t share the mailing information or use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a chance at one of the 3 copies of the 416-page HOW SWEET IT IS (ISBN: 9780446561990) will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Thursday, Feb. 10.


  1. Sophie, thanks again for stopping by and talking with us about kids in romance novels. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  2. Oooh, this sounds like my kind of novel.

    Kids in books are a hard decision; but really, they are in our everyday lives, and have stories to tell of their own about what they perceive regarding their parents. Its natural, to me, to portray them in novels, and especially romance and women's fiction.


  3. Nice post, Mason and Sophie!

    I think kids would add conflict to a romance and there can never be enough conflict, right? I have heard romance readers comment on kids in romances before and was surprised it was such an issue. I guess kids destroy the fantasy a little? Ha! But they sure add a dose of realism that I'd think would add some real gravitas to a romance (in a good way.)

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Sophie.

    Sophie - I can completely understand why people are divided on the subject of having children in romance novels. Writing children's characters isn't easy, and some people are uncomfortable with having child characters in romance novels. That happens with crime fiction novels, too. But children do add a dose of realism to a novel and readers do have to deal with the realities of raising their children and everything else they're doing. So they can identify with characters who have to do that, too.

  5. This sounds so good. I think children in a novel makes the story more life like--relatable.

  6. I'm really looking forward to reading this story. I like kids in books!!

  7. I really like kids in all books too! Could be because I'm a mama and love kids???? :)

    Emailing you now for my chance at a copy!


  8. I do like kids in a story like this. They have a way of revealing more about the main character, in that she has to really consider more than her own life. This story sounds perfect for curling up with on these snowy, winter days.

  9. Hi everyone! Sophie Gunn, here. (Don't ask about the walrus....long story...)

    Thanks so much for commenting.

    I was also surprised that people have such divided (and strong!) views about kids in romance novels, but I see both sides. Since I have two kids, I have PLENTY of material :-)

    My criteria is that the kids can't be too cute. They have to have a little edge!

  10. Except to mention them, there are no children in my high fantasy. But in future books there will be. It depends on the story you're crafting. I like your premise, best of luck.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  11. Honestly, I don't read many romance novels but it does make it harder to read when (a) there are children in it and (b) the woman is pregnant. But that's just me. I love the cover of the book. It's so sweet.

  12. Sophie is gorgeous! And her book sounds like one I'd really like to read. So I'm going to put my name on the list!!

    Thanks, Mason, for all of the wonderful guest reviews! YOU are wonderful.
    Ann Best, Author

  13. Sounds good! :-D

    Nice interview/discussion! I like the idea of kids and raising the stakes--that interests me much more than towing the line!

  14. Interesting comments about kids in romances. Being a mom, I don't mind them and it adds to the story, depending on whose kids they are!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.