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the penguin five: guest post by andrea cremer

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the lovely Andrea Cremer, author of NIGHTSHADE and today’s guest post. (Isn’t her author photo cute?) If you want a chance to win the first of two signed copies of NIGHTSHADE, please leave a comment!


Thank you so much for having me, Ally. (Your book rocked my socks off!) Since you and I joke about sharing a muse I thought I’d spend today’s post examining something our books have in common: the love triangle.

Ah, the love triangle. While they certainly existed before Twilight it probably was Ms. Meyer’s vampire + human + wolf trio that got this geometric relationship so much attention. Now you’ll find love triangles all over the place, some more convincing than others (I’d like to think that Ally and I pulled off some dazzling romantic triangulations in our books, but we’ll let you be the judges of that!).

Love triangles are tricky and I’m going to assert a couple opinions about them.

1) In real life love triangles are bad. For a love triangle to exist it means that someone’s affections are divided and this division of self usually extends into dishonesty and heartache for at least one if not all members of the triangle. Good, lasting relationships (and yes I’m talking about hot-as-Hades passionate relationships too) won’t manifest under deceitful circumstances. In the lives we lead each day, romance triangles are simply a romantic bust and generally a recipe for disaster.
2) Love triangles are fabulous in books. It’s different on the page than in the real world because love triangles offer what every novel needs: tension. If crafted carefully love triangles can provide enough electricity to power a jet engine. I would argue, however, that some of the real world rules still apply. For a love triangle to be convincing you have to have some sympathy for the character whose affections are torn in two. This aspect is yet something else Matched and Nightshade have in common: the heroines of our novels aren’t sure who to give their hearts to because they never expected to have a choice to start out with. When the interloper appears, he introduces a key piece of the internal struggle for the heroine: doubt. Doubt adds yet more tension to the narrative. The debate between fate and free will pivots on this very point. Where does your faith lie: in the system you’ve always been part of or in your own heart?

I’m frequently asked whether I’m Team Ren or Team Shay. Amongst readers it’s an even split, which makes me very happy. My answer is always, and will always be, the same: I’m Team Calla, because it’s her choice not mine, and therein lies the most important part of the love triangle equation.

Great post, right? Let Andrea know how much you enjoyed hearing from her by leaving a comment (and you will also automatically be entered to win a hardcover copy of NIGHTSHADE). You have until Friday night MST to enter–and the contest is open to US only. Sorry about that!

+ comments (20)
  • Lea Lablue
    October 20, 2010

    Hi Ally
    I am looking forward to reading it:)

  • JenniElyse
    October 20, 2010

    Even though love triangles are fabulous for books because of the tension it creates, I still have a love/hate relationship with them. I love because no tension = no story. But, I hate them because of all the evil angstiness. I have a hard time resolving my feelings when the heroine (or even hero) doesn’t choose the person I want them to. And, because of that, I usually hate the book. Hopefully, that won’t happen with the sequels to Matched. As of right now, I’m happy with Cassia’s choice.

  • julie@my5monkeys
    October 20, 2010

    I agree about teams..I’m all about team calla. Triangles are good for books, and no so with real life.

  • Enna Isilee
    October 20, 2010

    Hey! I’m Team Calla, too! I guess if I HAD to pick a team I’d go with Team Ren, or maybe Team Shay…. Oh dear.

    Well, I guess the good thing about not having a team is that you’re happy no matter WHAT happens!

    Here’s hoping I win! 🙂 I LOVE this book!

  • Sara B. Larson
    October 20, 2010

    I have to say, love triangles tend to make me grumpy, because they often feel contrived for that very reason – just to add tension. However, the one in MATCHED and the one in NIGHTSHADE are very well done, and when well done, they can actual end up being great. I must admit, I’m totally Team Ren — as are most people I know. 😉 Great post!

  • Amanda
    October 20, 2010

    Very interesting thoughts. I kind of have a love-hate relationship with love triangles. They can be a powerful driving force in a novel if done really well, but they are one of the oldest plot devices ever. Since so many authors are jumping in the Twilight bandwagon these days, the concept gets even more worn out. However, the triangle can be very true to life. Thanks for the guest post, ladies, fascinating insight.

  • Emy (Sandy) Shin
    October 20, 2010

    Thank you for this lovely post, Andrea! As a writer, I can definitely see how love triangles can add tension to a novel. As a reader, though, I do have a love-hate relationship with them — especially when I agonize over which guy the heroine will choose. And as a very volatile shipper, I tend to throw the book across the room if she doesn’t end up with the “right” guy. But to be able to evoke such emotions in readers is definitely a good thing!

  • Stacy Maynard
    October 20, 2010

    I cant wait to read this.

  • Liz
    October 20, 2010

    Interesting thoughts on love triangles, though I have to say they make me a little crazy these days. Not all romantic stories need a love triangle. But I will still read them if they have one. 🙂

  • HeatherSmith
    October 20, 2010

    I would love to read this book!

  • Steff
    October 20, 2010

    I loved the post. I don’t live in US so I don’t enter the contest but I loved the post. Just so you know AND the trailer of Matched: Wow!
    Now I’m going to google “Nightshade”.

  • Jessy
    October 20, 2010

    I just have to say, I love reading a book with love triangles in them but lately I’ve been annoyed with them. It’s like they’re put in the story to create tension where it is very unnecessary.

  • JenP
    October 20, 2010

    I have heard such wonderful things about this book!

  • Becky
    October 20, 2010

    I’m dying to read this book!

  • Denae
    October 20, 2010

    Enjoyed your comments about love triangles, and now I’m more excited than ever to read Matched! Not to mention I’ll have to google Nightshade and read it also! But in the real world, love triangles are NOT a good thing.

  • Vivien
    October 20, 2010

    What a great post. I completely agree with it. Thankfully we have fiction. How else would we get our fix? 😉

    I am very excited for this book to come out. It is right up my ally.

    No pun intended.


  • Karen_St_Louis
    October 20, 2010

    One thing that love triangles are good for (in novels) is illustrating how difficult it can be to understand your own feelings. If you watch too many Disney cartoons, you might end up thinking that love is simple, that you’ll “just know” when the one person who is exactly right for you appears. Love is very rarely that simple in real life. And ultimately, loving someone for life is always a choice, not just some magical feeling that sweeps you along in its wake. A love triangle forces that issue of choice to the foreground.

    (Not that I have anything against Disney cartoons…)

  • Kim Miller
    October 21, 2010

    I’ve always loved love triangles. They do create such great tension in the book.

  • Emily
    October 22, 2010

    We ought to get away from love triangles and start using love quadrilaterals….okay, bad joke, i know. 🙂 Go ahead. Groan. A love triangle sure makes for an interesting story, though.

    Emily ebdye1(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Sylvia
    October 22, 2010

    I agree! I think love triangles are great to read about, however, when it happens in real life, it’s not that fun anymore, and really awkward:| Anyway, I can’t wait to read about the love triangles in both Matched and Nightshade!

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