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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | The Moonlighting Effect

The Moonlighting Effect

I recently read a book on my Kindle that I absolutely LOVED. I thought the romance between the two main characters was charming and deliciously racy (this was not a YA book), and I would have bought the sequels (two of them) immediately – if I hadn’t checked the reviews on Amazon. I read a little … and then I went ahead and read some more … even the spoilers. Now I’m not sure I want to read these books.

I know there has to be some romantic tension to make a book interesting. But do they have to break up? If I find out that the male love interest is going to be absent from most of a sequel – do I want to read it? These two people had enough strange circumstances in their lives to keep any sequel lively, why did one of them have to turn into a jerk? Is it the Moonlighting Effect?

Some of you may remember Moonlighting. It was an entertaining and highly successful show – as long as Maddie and David were at each other’s throats and never quite getting together. And when they finally hooked up … ugh, the show went downhill fast and was mercifully cancelled.

Come to think of it, House has been pretty awful since House and Cuddy hooked up. I’m not sure why their romance has led to less interesting medical mysteries, but it has.

What is it about our nature that makes a happy couple less interesting? Is the fictional tension all in the chase? Is it just too boring if the two people who found each other in the first book stay together?

Will I read the sequels of this book I loved so much? We’ll see. I think I’ll read something else first, and then if these characters are still on my mind after that, I’ll probably give in …

What do you think? Am I being a big baby? Ha! — and is it hypocritical of me to complain, considering how We Hear the Dead ends?

(Although that wasn’t my fault. History was history …)

10 Responses to The Moonlighting Effect

  1. mshatch says:

    I thinks osmetimes it’s true but it doesn’t have to be; case in point? Evie and Hodge. I was no less interested in them in book three.

  2. Linda G. says:

    I hear ya. As much as we love a good HEA, once it happens I think a big “The End” is firmly in our psyches, and it’s hard to go past that. It CAN be done, but it takes an exceptional writer.

    Let me know if you try the sequels. I’d be interested to know how they work for you.

  3. Katie Mills says:

    I think there’s something exciting about the ‘almost’ relationship. The sexual tension and the ‘will they/won’t they’ is what keeps me reading, definitely. I think if the relationship doesn’t hold enough tension once they’re together, it’s doomed for boring reading. Bella and Edward is an example of what works though in that case. They’re together from the get go. there’s no love/hate relationship there so we weren’t high on sexual tension but the drama was brought in from the outside. That didn’t stop everyone from rooting for Jacob. Why?- because we can’t help loving the excitement of the ‘almost’ relationship. I’m still hoping Damon and Elana will shack up, even though I really like Stephan. (yes I watch way to many teen shows)

  4. Lenny Lee* says:

    hi miss dianne! i didnt ever read a lovey dovey adult books so i couldnt say stuff about it. but for sure i could like stuff in stories to be exciting and its sounding like that excite stuff is all gone for on the next book. for me id find me a more exciting book.
    …hugs from lenny

  5. Joanne Fritz says:

    Well, it’s hard to follow Lenny, but I have to agree that Moonlighting was a perfect example of what you’re talking about. I’m probably showing my age by admitting it but I adored that show — until they got together. Same with Sam and Diane on Cheers.

    Didn’t Tolstoy say that all happy families are alike? You could tweak that to say all happy couples are alike, but every unhappy couple is unhappy in their own way. Hence, the tension.

    Interesting post, Dianne!

  6. I was just talking about the Moonlighting Effect in Graceling over the weekend! I love the first half of that book and the interplay with Po. But once he’s gone from the story, it wasn’t nearly as interesting for me.

  7. Right there with you on the complaints about House this season. I have been using the show to talk about infectious disease this season with my class, but had to bail on the show during one episode this season.

  8. Dave’s right. The season opener of House this fall was the worst episode ever. UGH. But I still don’t see why House and Cuddy’s romance is responsible for such lame medical mysteries. People only get sick in interesting ways when House is frustrated in his desire for Cuddy????

    As for the sequel I discussed in my blog post, my sister has already purchased it for me as a birthday gift, so I guess I’ll be giving it a try. 😀

  9. I think that the writers/producers are to some extent caught between two viewer camps; the so-called “shippers” of X-Files fame, and those that preferred the “mythology.” I was in the second camp, until it descended into fighting between Red and Black Lectroids in the final season, and gave up completely. You can track the desire of the “shippers” back even further to the Kirk-Slash-Spock fan fiction of the late ’60s, and perhaps even further back into the controversial 4th season of “I Love Lucy,” when the producers moved Lucy and Ricky’s beds together. I am making up that last point.

  10. Kate says:

    This happens in series a lot. There’s all this great tension in the first book, then the couple gets together and book two’s boring. Unless the author introduces new characters, which seems to be the problem you noticed in the reviews.

    I guess some books are just best as stand alones.