Guest Blog - Joanne Tropello

Welcome Joanne Troppello

Today I have the pleasure to have Joanne Troppello as a guest here on my blog.  So I hope you all make her very welcome!

Joanne Troppello is an author of romantic suspense novels. She has published three books: Shadowed Remembrances, Mr. Shipley’s Governess and Bella Lucia. Currently, she is working on her new writing project, The Paradise Redeemed Series.

Joanne is married and loves spending time with her husband and family. She enjoys interacting with readers at The Mustard Seed Blog.

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Joanne's Blog: The Mustard Seed
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What Makes a Love Story Great?
Plain and simple, the formula for a romance novel is man meets woman and they fall in love. Of course, they run into various obstacles along the way, but there is always a happy ending. However, what sets a romance novel apart and makes it irrefutably memorable?
Think about one of the most dramatic love stories through the ages—Romeo & Juliet, young love of the forever kind. Yes, this story ended tragically, but it shows the ingredients of a great love affair. Even death could not keep them apart.

Let’s look at a more contemporary example, The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks. Two young people experience a passionate summer romance and life threatens to pull them apart. The heroine goes away to college while the hero enlists in the army. The hero wrote to her but she never received his letters and she thinks he doesn’t want to be with her. She gets engaged to a man from an affluent family and finally, circumstances bring the hero and his heroine together again. They marry and have a family, living a good life. Eventually the heroine has dementia and her loving husband stands by her, trying to help her remember the happy life they had. Even when she has lost her mental capacity, he stands by his wife. They die together in their sleep. Now that is a true testament of an everlasting love affair. So how do you create such an unforgettable love affair that breaches the limits of the run of the mill romance novel? You start by thinking outside the box. The formula is the same, but you need to make the plot your own. I write inspirational romance, so I bring an element of faith into my stories. In my opinion, that adds the cement to hold the romance together. If a couple wants to weather the storms of life, they need a higher power to give them the foundation to succeed. I believe that foundation is God at the center of their relationship.

Now, I don’t want to get too preachy here—and I never do in my books either because I believe in real life. Not everyone believes the same way or has a strong faith in God, yet many people experience a great love affair in their lives. So, even if you don’t add an element of faith to your novels, you too, can write a memorable love story.  Your hero and heroine need to love each other unconditionally. That is real love. They love body, soul and spirit, every part of each other. A great love affair is one that begins in the realm of friendship or at least intellectual or
emotional connection, before any inkling of physical intimacy enters the  picture. Passionate connections are wonderful, but passion eventually fades.  When it lessens, what remains? That agape, unconditional, love remains. It’s a love that knows no bounds. They overcome hurts and offenses and learn to forgive. It’s not about winning, but learning to compromise and
serve one another’s needs first. A great love affair turns from friendship into a passionate love with your best friend. Physical intimacy obviously comes into play, but depending on the type of genre you write in, will determine the amount you show the readers.

Your novel may not span the length of your hero and heroine’s years like in The Notebook, but you need to convey the same sense of long-term commitment. Your readers must get the sense that your characters are in it forever. However, if you write a sappy romance novel, most readers won’t appreciate that and it won’t be a memorable love affair. In real life, we face problems. Make your novel real and add reality to your story. If you do that, it will be believable and readers will relate. Own your own story. If you believe the love affair you are creating, your readers will believe it too.
Currently, I’m enjoying the release of my newest book, Bella Lucia, and I’m busy making the rounds in my blog tour. I mentioned two great  love stories—Romeo & Juliet and The Notebook.

What is your all-time favorite love story?

Book Blurb for Bella Lucia:
After being married for six years, Gwen and Lucas DeStefano are dealing with the pain of a childless marriage and trying to trust God for their future.  On a weekend getaway to the Poconos, they attempt to relax and renew their marriage, but witness an event that turns their lives upside down.  They see a body dump in the woods while they are on a hike and their lives become entangled in a web of suspense and God’s ultimate blessing in the form of a little baby girl, named Bella Lucia. Will Gwen learn to trust God with childlike faith and wholeheartedly accept His plan?

Det. Marc Abrams is assigned to the murder investigation of Sabrina Reysen and he will do whatever it takes to find her killer. He has his suspicions and is pleasantly surprised when he meets Samantha “Sam” Collins, the attractive US Marshall assigned to protect one of the witnesses in this case. Will Det. Abrams find the killer before it’s too late and is the attraction between him and Sam strong enough to survive?


  1. Nice job, Joanne. Bella Lucia is on my tar list.

  2. Er.. That is my TBR list. I don't have a tar list.

  3. Iris, thanks so much for hosting me today! Glad you stopped by Elaine and hope you enjoy Bella Lucia. :)

  4. I haven't seen or read the Notebook. But I've read the play Romeo & Juliet ... and seen at least one movie version. You're right: a definite classic. One of a small handful of unique plots.
    However, if R & J were written, today, as a novel, it would need a lot of work in order for readers to accept it. Too many implausible situations, too many sub-plots, too many characters. You know what I mean.
    Don't get me wrong: I'm a big Shakespeare fan. Just saying it wouldn't fly today -- as a new novel -- without some really good editing.

  5. I've read many of the classics, but I identify more with contemporary authors, or at least with their characters. Debbie Macomber's books are great for their warmth and happy endings, but the stories that grip me most are those by Rebecca Winters. She writes books about couples who achieve their "happily ever after" by conquering almost insurmountable roadblocks. Like Kay's books, they draw on emotions, and that's what keeps me reading. And remembering.

  6. I like the examples of love stories, which are so different, yet have a common theme. Thanks!