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Thursday, July 29, 2010

CHOCOLATE ROSES by Joan Sowards and Audience--WHAT SHE DID RIGHT

Love chocolate? Love Jane Eyre?
Then you're going to love the blog tour (July
26-August 6)
for Chocolate Roses by Joan Sowards.

My take:
Like every novel I've reviewed, authors like Joan Sowards have done multiple things "right" in the creation of their works. However, because the purpose of this blog is to help writers in their quest for better writing--myself, included--I try to focus on and teach through one especially well-done aspect of the book. In the case of Chocolate Roses, A Jane Eyre Parady, I've chosen audience.

If authors hope to sell their work to readers, they must keep their core audience in mind. Notice, I said "core" audience. Far too often, new writers believe their work is written for all people and all ages. This may be true to the extant that an elderly neighbor down the street may like your book just as much as the child in your son's classroom did, but the majority of your readers will likely come from one certain age group and/or sex. For instance, as I've been doing book signings for MISSING over the past month, I've learned that while a few men have read and enjoyed my novel, most tend to like non-fiction. That fact tells me that if I ever want to write something that will primarily sell to men, then I should look to non-fiction.

How does audience apply to Chocolate Roses? Chocolate Roses, as I already mentioned is a fun, modern parody of the classic novel, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite stories. I've read it several times, referred to its plot structure in my writing, watched various movie versions countless times, and I own the book. Yes, I'm a Jane Eyre fan. But, and here's the key, I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE who has read and/or watched it. In truth, if you're female and if you like classic romance, there's a good chance you've seen and enjoyed at least one movie version of the story, which makes you one of Sowards' target audience. Along with that, you'll likely give the book a try simply because you love Jane Eyre so much. I know I did. That's the power of keeping your audience in mind. But, even better, after I picked Chocolate Roses up, I wasn't disappointed. And neither will you be. :) Here are some of the reasons why:

1) I loved the direct quotes from Jane Eyre at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes I liked them because they added insight into Soward's modern story, and sometime I liked them simply because they reminded me of my favorite scenes in Jane Eyre.

2) I enjoyed Sowards' humorous writing style. A parody, of course, should be humorous, but I found this novel especially intriguing because the humorous style was in such opposition to Charlotte Bronte's mostly dark, gothic story.

3) In Jane Eyre, Rochester is the brooding, sinful, "Beast"-like character that only Jane can tame. This cliche character is highly romantic and often expected in modern romance writing, but Sowards has given readers an honestly good hero to love. He's one who will be good because he chooses to be good. One who the heroine, and reader, can trust will always be there, no matter what comes. To me, that's a romance that's not only delicious--it's satisfying. Sort of like chocolate roses. Grin.

Chocolate Roses can be purchased from Deseret Book, Amazon, and of
course your local LDS bookstore.

Janie Rose Whitaker's world revolved around her chocolate shop until
Roger Wentworth and his young daughter moved into the apartment across from Janie's. Anyone would think Roger fit the mold of the "perfect" guy, but
soon Janie discovers secrets that could keep them apart forever. Though she
resists getting involved in Roger¹s complicated life, they are drawn
further into a bittersweet relationship.

You will laugh, cry, and crave chocolate as you read this LDS parody of the
classic novel Jane Eyre.


Lalabowers said...

I really like milk and white chocolate but I don't mind dark either. This is such a fun contest.

Jennifer Ricks said...


Gail said...

I love your advice about keeping the audience in mind. I too love Jane Eyre and I love dark chocolate. opal23zuniga@yahoo.com

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Love dark chocolate! Actually could use some right now, but all the stores in our little town are closed.

kbrebes said...

Good thoughts on "audience." You made me think. I like DARK chocolate! Kbrebes@aol.com

~T~ said...

Sounds like a delicious read! My favorite is milk chocolate with hazelnuts mixed in. teen26119@mypacks.net

Elizabeth Morgan said...

My favorite is Milk chocolate. Sounds like an awesome book.

Joan Sowards said...

Thank you for your great review and for participating in the blog tour for Chocolate Roses!