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  • Alexa Sullivan

On Romance Writing #1: Favorite Tropes with Jennifer Wilck

Welcome to a mini-series on writing romance with some fellow authors of mine! Today I'm joined by Jennifer Wilck, author of A Heart Restrained. You'll get to hear from Jennifer and also sneak a peek at her romance, so what could be better?

I wanted to start this series by talking about romance tropes. They're a feature of the genre, and we all have our favorites (and least favorites).

Jennifer, welcome! Please tell us about your favorite tropes to write.

Thank you so much, Amy, for letting me appear as a guest on your blog. My name is Jennifer, and I write steamy contemporary romance. Some of my characters are Jewish (like me) and some are not. Most, if not all, of my books, fall into some sort of trope, which begs the question, what are my favorite tropes to write?

Regardless of the religion of my characters, I love writing the damaged hero trope. There is something about a man showing his vulnerable side that draws me into his story like nothing else. I don’t want to write about perfect characters. I want to write about complex characters, and the damaged hero trope allows me to do that.

In fact, it was keeping this favorite trope in mind that started my Scarred Hearts series. We all know the wealthy, powerful romance heroes who run billion-dollar companies and ooze sex appeal. But as I said, I don’t write perfect characters. So, I gave them scars of some sort, be it physical, emotional, or psychological. How those scars affect their personal lives, and their professional lives made them much more relatable. And it gives the reader a reason to root for them, or at least understand their motivation.

I created a group of four wealthy men who were best friends from college. Simon was burned in a fire, Ted was hard of hearing, and Caleb is afraid to show his emotions due to a traumatic childhood. There’s a fourth hero, but I’m still working on him. They all have issues to deal with, but at the same time, they’re very aware of how lucky they are. As a result, they search for charities to donate the bulk of their money to in order to give back to others. And along the way, they meet the women who frustrate them to no end, but without whom they can’t possibly live.

I’d love to hear about your favorite tropes. What do you like or dislike? And if you decide to check out Caleb’s story, A Heart Restrained, when it releases in March, let me know what you think.

I'm adding this one to my TBR list! Let's check out the book along with an excerpt!

Caleb Zeno, a wealthy and successful media mogul, refuses to allow emotions into any aspect of his life, especially his entertainment corporation. When his company’s lifestyle website runs into competition from a small boutique company, the most logical solution is to buy out his rival.

Fiona Hamilton’s lifestyle website succeeds due to her loving and caring treatment of her clients, who have become like family to her. She has no desire to sell to anyone, much less a tattooed, muscled, automaton.

At odds professionally, Caleb and Fiona come together as a favor for Caleb’s sister. Sparks fly and sexual chemistry abounds. But Caleb can't let go of his abusive past and be the man Fiona needs, and she is unwilling to risk independence and financial security for anything less than a perfect happily ever after. Can they put their differences aside to find a viral kind of love?

“Wouldn’t you enjoy this more if it were in English?”

She paused and shifted so she faced him, one leg bent under her, the other dangling off the edge. “Absolutely not! Telenovelas are so much more emotional than American TV.”

“Why don’t you at least research online to find a plot summary?”

“I’m happy with the way things are,” she said. “I don’t need to hear the words to feel the story.”

“’re crying.”

She smiled through her tears and wiped her cheeks. “I know.”

Staring at her, his heart rate increased, and he tamped the panic her tears caused. At first, he thought pain caused her tears, but her rapt attention to the screen made him realize otherwise.

Why would she want to do this to herself? And how could she enjoy a show she couldn’t understand?

He should leave, before she recognized his complete lack of comprehension. But her rapt attention to the screen fascinated him. She was smart—his business dealings with her had proven it. Yet she focused as if she understood her show.

She stared at the TV screen, but he couldn’t take his gaze off her. Her skin, despite its bruising, was luminous. Her lips were parted, and she gripped the edges of the sofa cushions until her knuckles turned white. This close to her, heat radiated from her body. He could hear a faint sigh.

If she were this passionate about a television show, how passionate would she be if he kissed her?

OK, I'm intrigued! Here's a bit more about Jennifer, and links to find Jennifer and her work.

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

Jennifer Wilck is an award-winning contemporary romance author for readers who are passionate about love, laughter, and happily ever after. Known for writing both Jewish and non-Jewish romances, her books feature damaged heroes, sassy and independent heroines, witty banter and hot chemistry. Jennifer’s ability to transport the reader into the scene, create characters the reader will fall in love with, and evoke a roller coaster of emotions, will hook you from the first page. You can find her books at all major online retailers in a variety of formats.

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Deb Noone
Deb Noone
Jan 05, 2023

Keep us posted when it is up for preorder or out. Can't wait to read - sound intriguing. Enjoyed your other books!


Jan 05, 2023

This sounds so good! Tropes make a story recognizable and relatable😁


Jan 05, 2023

I like the Damaged Hero trope too, Jennifer. I always enjoy seeing how the author--and heroine--heal him. Really enjoyed the excerpt. Continued all the best !


C. Becker
C. Becker
Jan 05, 2023

Loved your interview, Jennifer! so nice to see your writing success!

my favorite trope:

I like stories about the average hero who may not be a superstar, achieve his goals and win his girl and Vice versus. 😊


Mary Morgan
Mary Morgan
Jan 04, 2023

The damaged hero is one of my favorites to write, Jennifer. They're complex and intriguing to peel back those layers and/or scars. Wishing you all the best!

Jennifer Wilck
Jennifer Wilck
Jan 04, 2023
Replying to

Thanks, Mary. I agree!

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