Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Whose POV rocks your boat?

Leave me a comment. I'm giving away a copy of Downstroke.

There is a constant discussion both by authors and readers as to whose POV a book should be written from and in whose voice? Do you want to be in the heroine’s head? The hero’s. Maybe even the villain’s? As a reader I really prefer third person, and I like scenes from all three POVs. I find first person often hard to follow and most of the time less enjoyable. So why, then, when I wrote Downstroke, my 100th release, did I choose to alternate between first person and third? Because for the first time as an author, that’s the way the story grew in my brain.
I had an irresistible impulse to tell Charley Roper’s passages in the story from her POV, to get the full impact of the emotions she was feeling. I tried it in third person and it just seemed too distant. Twice I wrote the first chapter and twice I deleted it. It just didn’t work for me.
On the other hand, for my hero, Dallas Creed, I needed to tell his POV in third person. Why? Because there were things about his actions and events that happened to him that would have lost their impact in third person. So Downstroke turned out to be the only book I ever wrote, not only with a first person POV but with both first and third person. Below are a couple of passages from the book. Let me know what you think.


It’s been twenty years since Charley Roper and Dallas Creed parted with great bitterness. In that time she’s made a career for herself with the FBI and private security and he’s been a country rock music icon…tumbled to the bottom and risen again. Now someone’s trying to kill him and Morgan Creed wants Charley to protect his brother and find out who’s after him. When they meet again after all this time it’s obvious the chemistry is still there, stronger than ever. They’re older but are they wiser? Caught up in the bitter wash of memories and the tension of a killer in stalking mode, Charley and Dallas begin a roller coaster ride that is emotional erotic and suspenseful.  Is their love strong enough after twenty years to pull them back together?

From Charley’s POV:
I stood in the back of the Baker Amphitheater, leaning against the brick half-wall that separated the seats under the roof from those on the lawn, wondering for the hundredth time what the hell I was doing here. It wasn’t that I’d never been to a concert before. I’d been to plenty, running security detail for high-profile musicians. But I’d never been to a Dallas Creed concert. A deliberate choice, one I’d stuck to until tonight. Morgan Creed, Dallas’ brother, had given me a ticket to the performance with a seat right down front, but I didn’t want to be that close to the man yet. Or give him a chance to see me.
When Dallas Creed and I destroyed our relationship twenty years ago, I stumbled away from it with my heart bleeding and swore never to lay eyes on him again. I had loved him with an intensity that consumed me and I’d been so sure he felt the same way. Then he dropped his bombshell, leaving me emotionally wiped out, with a bitter outlook on love and a determination never to be hurt again.
All these years I’d managed to hide behind an invisible wall, refusing to buy any Dallas Creed albums, as if by ignoring his music I could ignore the man. But his songs were played everywhere and television covered him like green on grass, so avoiding him completely had been next to impossible. It bothered me after a while to discover I actually liked listening to him. Despite that, I was definitely finished with the man. Over and done. Finis.
When he’d had his disastrous accident I hadn’t even called to find out how he was, afraid to open old wounds and let my heart bleed all over the place again. The man was just plain poison to me. Or maybe we’d poisoned each other. I didn’t know anymore; only knew that I’d survived by keeping my distance all these years. We’d been too obsessed with our own careers to care enough about each other to compromise. The blame was certainly not all his. In that secret place that I’d deliberately hidden away, I knew that. I was equally as guilty as him. It just made it easier for me to lay everything at his door.
Yet here I stood, waiting for the show to begin. I wondered not for the first time what had driven him to the excess of drugs and booze that led to the accident, and why he was so determined to put himself through the agony of the climb back to the top.

Dallas’s POV Third Person:
Morgan opened the door a crack and nodded his head.
Jesus, Dallas thought, not bad news. Please. Not when his life was finally turning around.
Then he remembered—and he felt as if a huge spotlight was suddenly focused on his ruined leg. How had he forgotten she was coming? His stomach cramped and he wanted a place to hide. But Morgan stepped back, opening the door wider, and Dallas was frozen in place, watching his past walk into the room.
He wasn’t prepared for her effect on him. Privately he’d followed her career—the years at the FBI, then a long stint with the Hillcroft Group, and finally opening her own agency, Roper Protective Services In all these years they hadn’t spoken or seen each other, but the moment she stepped into the room his body reacted. His cock stiffened, his mouth went dry and his balls tingled as he experienced the familiar impact her body always had on him.
He shifted in his chair, making sure his dark t-shirt covered the growing bulge behind his fly.
He’d dreamed about this moment, fantasized about it. With every new hit tune, every sold-out concert appearance, he wanted her there so he could show her what she’d missed. Wanted to make her eat her words. Wanted her to see the success he’d become. The success they could have shared.
The accident had changed all that. Made him take a good hard look at his life, at what he wanted and where he’d been going. With death flirting with him, he’d finally had to admit to himself everything was hollow without her. Years ago he’d tried to make a point with her but who had he proven it to? Certainly not himself.
He studied her as she moved fluidly into the trailer and stood to the side, next to Morgan.
Charley Roper had aged much better than he had. Her body was still slim although rounded in all the appropriate places, but now it was highly toned. Jeans hugged her legs and the soft material of her blouse draped over high breasts. Her rich, thick brown hair was still the same rich sable color pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail. Her face certainly didn’t show the wear that his did, but her clear blue eyes reflected a bitter wisdom that bothered him. And she still gave off the same go-to-hell attitude with her walk and the way she stood almost defiantly in front of him, hands stuffed into the front pockets of her jeans.
Her familiar scent teased at his nostrils, giving rise to a wealth of memories. He remembered how that body felt beneath his, all soft and pliant. How those full lips felt on his mouth or wrapped around his cock.
His hands curled as he fought the urge to reach out and touch her. After all these years she still had the power to steal his breath. He knew if the two of them were alone in this room he’d have her naked and under him in seconds. His muscles tightened, his cock hardened even more and he was back to that last defining night.

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  1. The great thing about this is that you have matched up the persons and POVs so seamlessly that I don't notice all the craft,and just enjoy the story! I agree that all first person frequently feels less enjoyable and makes my brain hurt.

  2. One of my favorite books from you! I love when different POV's blend and flow so smooth-- adds even more to the story

  3. Thanks for this, Desiree. I'm so interested in the phenomenon where certain POVs "feel right" for certain stories.

  4. You have to listen to your gut instincts, Desiree. Still, I imagine if you weren't who you are - queen of erotic romance - your editor would have given you a hard time about this!

    I remember reading the BDSM erotica novel As She's Told by Anneke Jacob, which uses the same mixed POV: first for the female protagonist, third for the male. At first I found it rather annoying, even pretentious. As I read on, though, I started to understand why the author made this choice. The book is about a woman becoming a thing, a possession. And yet it focuses on that woman's inner experience of this scary transformation. Furthermore, Maia's never really sure what is going on inside the dominant's mind, and neither is the reader. Third person discards the sense of closeness offered by the "I".


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