Contemporary Romance Writer:That “Can’t Put It Down” Book

Beth Vogt Romance, Writing 24 Comments

We lose sleep for lots of different reasons.



Sometimes we even stay up into the wee small hours because we’re celebrating something fun.

But how often have you stayed up too late because of a book?

You start reading a novel and you get so caught up in the story — the conflict between the hero and the heroine, or maybe you’re wondering “Are they ever going to realize they love each other?!” — you can’t put the book down.

You think, “Just one more page. One more chapter.”

And suddenly it’s 2 A.M. and it’s also the end of the book.

You’re tired, sure.

But you’re satisfied with this happily-ever-after you stayed awake for. (And least, I hope you are. There’s nothing worse than staying up and getting to “The End” and being disappointed with how an author finished the story.)

I’ve often had to take a novel by Rachel Hauck or Susan May Warren or Siri Mitchell and set it off to the side so that I’m not tempted to start reading it. I know that once I open the cover and get past the dedication page, I’m a goner. I won’t put the book down until I’m all done.

What keeps me turning the pages?

  • Characters who become real to me. I think about them as I go about my day, wondering what they’re going to do or decide about the problems they’re facing.
  • Surprises that make me sit up and think, “I didn’t see that coming!”
  • Truth that is thought-provoking, but is woven seamlessly into a compelling story.

In Your Words: What makes you stay up and read a book late into the night? When was the last time you read and book and thought, “I can’t go to bed now!” because you had to finish it?


Comments 24

  1. I’m doing it right now with Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. She’s hooked me with her character development–I know Fanny deeply and care what happens to her….:)

    1. Exactly, Gloria — caring deeply about what happens to a character keeps me turning the pages — or even taking a book in the car with me and reading at a stoplight. πŸ™‚

  2. Baby It’s Cold is the one of these I’ve read most recently (& stayed up late for), absolutely loved it, especially Dottie–but so many good ingredients, really. Susie found a delightful fresh situation to develop in this book that’s my newest heart-warming favorite.

  3. Oh man, you’re hitting home with me this week, Beth. I’m a wee bit sleep-deprived thanks to the writing skills of Denise Hunter. Whoa baby, talk about not wanting to put that book down! And I’ve got Dining with Joy on my nightstand, waiting to be opened. Sounds like I’d better block off a chunk of time before I dive in. πŸ™‚

    1. Lisa Jordan’s Lakeside Reunion–so, so good! Lisa’s got quite a career ahead of her as an inspirational romance author!

  4. The exact things you mentioned are what keep me up at night reading a good book. πŸ™‚ Dining With Joy was definitely one of those books for me. I have Lakeside Reunion waiting, oh so patiently for me to pick it up.

    When I’m reading a really good book, I find myself dreaming about the characters and what might happen to them. πŸ™‚

    Great post, Beth.

  5. This has happened so many times. It is neat that Susie’s name has come up a few times. I stayed up all night reading Taming Rafe. The most recent late-night I pulled was for There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B Jones.
    There are more but you might stay up too late reading this if I listed them all. πŸ˜‰

    I see I need to pick up Lisa’a book!!!

    1. Jenny B. Jones–she’s another favorite author. I loved There’ll You’ll find me. And Save the Date. And Just Between You and Me. All soo good.

  6. I finally got my hands on “The Healer’s Apprentice” at the ACFW bookstore! Once I started it, I had to finish. My problem is that I gulp the words in, turn the pages, and even if I’d planned to stop at the end of a chapter, I CAN’T!

    Plus, there’s nothing I dislike more than stopping reading one chapter before the end – because then there’s not enough left to savor then next night!!

    OK, I’ve been saying this for days – I’ve GOT to get my hands on Lisa Jordan’s book!!!!!

    1. Regina,
      I just thought about The Healer’s Apprentice yesterday after reading the intriguing post about it over at The Writer’s Alley.

  7. Years ago when I began teaching fifth grade, I was going to skim the beginning of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, before I went to bed. Before I knew it, it was after 2 a.m. and I still couldn’t put the book down. And later I was appalled at the fifth graders who didn’t think it was a fabulous read. Sometimes children’s books resonate more with adults than with the children they were written for.
    More recently, Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand didn’t grip me until the World War II part and then I couldn’t put it down–and I don’t even like WW II stories. But her true story of Louie Zamperini was amazing. It isn’t hyped as a “Christian” book, but it truly is–in the long run.

    1. Lanita,
      It’s surprising what books can grab you. I’m not a YA reader, but I do love Jenny B. Jones. So, I read There You’ll Find Me–and loved it. Same true with Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn.

  8. Believe me, Beth, I know EXACTLY what you mean! I’ve done this more times than I can count. I’ve often had to hand the book over to my husband and tell him not to let me read it until I’ve finished x, y, or z. *no self-control*

    I love it when a book is packed with action and twists & turns, or when there is a great love story. I’m a sucker for romance.

    1. Romance.
      I. Am. Such. A. Sucker. For. Romance.
      That’s probably why … no, that’s absolutely why I right inspirational contemporary romance.
      Write what you love.

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