Guest post from Sandra Peut: Different sparks ignite love

 Book Heart

Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope you get to spend some of the day spending time with your loved ones. As part of our series of Valentine’s themed guest posts, we would like to introduce Sandra Peut, author of the Rose and Crown novel ‘Blue Freedom’ to talk about romance stories which start with conflict between the eventual love interests. They can make great stories- even ‘Pride and Prejudice’ starts on this premise!

Welcome, Sandra:


Once upon a time, a boy met a girl, there was some sort of conflict, and they mostly couldn’t stand the sight of each other. But there was still an undeniable attraction that they couldn’t escape, that little ‘spark’ that kept things interesting while they were trying to kill – ahem, outwit – each other.

Sound familiar? It should do, since it’s one of the tried-and-true opening storylines of many romance novels and rom-com movies.

I even used it in my own novel, Blue Freedom:

An energetic and youthful-sounding male voice answered after just one ring. “Hi, Jay here.”

Bella found herself a little taken aback. This certainly didn’t sound like a portly old man.

“Um—hi. I’m Bella Whitman. I understand that we’ll be doing a feature together for Healthy Lifestyle magazine on Asian and Pacific Island health resorts and spas?”

There was silence on the other end of the line.

“The editor, Ethan Gray, did tell you we’d be working together, didn’t he?”

“No. He didn’t.” There was an undercurrent of tension in his voice. “As far as I knew, I’d be taking a selection of shots for the magazine’s editorial team to match with some articles later.”

Bella sighed impatiently. “Well, it must have been a last-minute change. I wish they’d communicate with us a bit more.”

“So do I.” Jay sounded more than a little frustrated now. “If I’d known I was going to be saddled with a writer, I doubt I would’ve taken the job.”

Bella felt her pulse quicken. Why, the nerve!

“I’m not too happy about being ‘saddled’ either,” she retorted, “but we’re just going to have to make the best of it.”

“This is not the way I work,” Jay maintained. “I’m an adventure travel and wildlife photographer, not a babysitter.”

Bella only just managed to restrain her fraying temper. “Have it your way!” she bit out. “We may have to travel on the same planes and stay at the same hotels, but we’ll definitely be going our separate ways the rest of the time.”


“Fine.” Bella replaced the receiver in a forceful huff.

The less she saw of Jay Hinkley, the better.

You just know that, despite their mutual dislike at the beginning, Bella and Jay are going to have their own ‘happily ever after’ by story’s end. Because that’s how romance novels work.

Unfortunately, real life gets a little more complicated. If you detest someone when you first meet them, chances are that’s not going to miraculously melt into unbridled passion within a few months.

Based on my own observations as a romance writer – coupled with a marriage of almost two decades – I’ve noticed there are various types of ‘sparks’ that ignite the fire of love. Your current relationship – or potential one – may just be in this list:

©       Slow burn – things can take a while to get going, but you’re both in it for the long haul.

©       Flash fire – sudden passion flares, but it’s over almost as soon as it begins (not recommended for long-term relationship satisfaction).

©       Forest fire – it doesn’t take too much to ignite, and once it’s burning it’ll go for years to come (plenty of fuel). This is the ideal situation in a long-term relationship, with both partners are tending the fire and maintaining the fun and friendship.

This Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to ask yourself if you’re in a relationship: how’s the fire going in my relationship with my partner? Is there anything I could do to stoke things up?

If you’re stuck for ideas, pick up one of Sunpenny’s romance novels (such as Blue Freedom) for plenty of romantic inspiration.

I’d love to hear about your favourite romantic scene from a book or movie – feel free to share in the comments.

Sandra xox

If you enjoyed the extract from ‘Blue Freedom,’ why not treat yourself or a special someone in your life to it this Valentine’s Day as a last minute surprise gift? About the novel:


Bella Whitman is a freelance health and fitness writer with a tragic history. When she is offered a dream opportunity to undertake a writing assignment which will take her on a journey across the South Pacific islands, she grabs it, despite her misgivings about the arrogant but handsome editor in charge of the magazine, Ethan Gray-and Jay Hinkley, the contract photographer Ethan has hired to travel with her. Despite a rocky start, Bella finds herself being drawn to Jay as they work and travel through the islands. But can this relationship develop into more than a friendship, when he already has a woman in his life? And with a dangerous hitman trailing their every move, can Bella and Jay finish their assignment-despite the shadowy motives of their employer Ethan-and survive a deadly rendezvous? Through this fast-paced adventure, Bella is able to find healing from past pain and discover emotional and spiritual freedom.

Praise for ‘Blue Freedom’:

A thrilling mystery of exciting anticipation, witty antics, laughs and heart-felt truths, all in a ‘what happens next’ plot. Simply and elegantly written.” – Elizabeth Findlay, Scriptwriter/Magazine Producer ”

This addictive page-turner will have you putting nail marks in your seat right to the end – an engaging debut novel from an exciting new author.” – Adele Jones: MLett, poet, inspirational author

You can buy your copy online from : Amazon UK~Amazon US~ The Book Depository


For more Valentine’s Day romance books recommendations, please see our previous post here. Happy reading from everyone at Sunpenny!

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