Dishing Up Romance.

I’m so excited to be delivering my first ever Aussie Owned & Read post. Thank you for having me. I’ll be working to fit the brief and keep all you lovely followers and visitors happy and well fed.

Speaking of well fed  – or not – I’m an MKR fan. (My Kitchen Rules) Don’t judge. It’s an inherent weakness. Apart from authoring and reading, my fave thing is to bake and cook, so despite the show’s many shortcomings I’m still drawn to those television kitchens and those sweating, suffering contestants. And yes, I know it’s all director-created storylines and false drama but obviously I’m a cheap date because I love it.


This year though – and here’s where this post becomes relevant – there was an added ingredient, a  staged  romance between young rival contestants Bec and Kyle. It was flirt city. Bec was batting those eyelashes and serving up saucy over-the-shoulder entrees entreaties and Kyle was responding with prolonged glances that held more heat than a raw Bird’s Eye Chilli. It was good stuff. It was believable and whether real or clever editing, I was suckered in. bec-kyle

So, talking Romance – ‘cos that’s what we’re doin’ here at AO&R this month…

Interestingly, my fascination with Bec and Kyle’s relationship actually grew to equal my interest in what they were being served. Apart from seeming genuine, and the sense of fun and warmth both contestants oozed, what interested me was the answer both gave independently when asked about those first sparks. Both declared they were drawn to each other, initially, over a shared sense of humour.

‘We could just talk to each other as if we’d known each other forever.’

As an author this scenario spoke volumes to me: Likeable characters (who like each other) + a connection  Boom! There it was: a simplified time-honoured equation  – a key, if you like –  to the gateway to romance.  

Let’s look at that.

Many times in YA fiction we see heroines who fall for a ‘face’ (and whoa, we’re all guilty of that).  Disney is the biggest offender. But, hey we can be more than Disney. (Inserts discreet cough)


We want to create a romance that draws the reader in – a romance that is believable and makes the reader wail at the thought of these two characters not being together. To do that? Find something that connects them. Something that intrigues enough for each to want to dig deeper. Something more than a cute face or hot bod. 

Completing the Jigsaw.

Imbue them with likeable/interesting traits and then imagine them as two random jigsaw pieces that have one side that fits them together neatly. That’s the start of a story. As authors we need to now find the bigger picture. The whole picture.  Connections. And it is from those connections that a relationship can begin to develop. Ergo, each new side of the jigsaw that fits is a new connection. Or not…

Delicious Firsts

YA love is raw and heart-pounding and exciting. It’s a series of delicious firsts that will never be experienced in the same way. It can feel dangerous and bold and yet, tender and syrupy warm. Hands shake. Stomachs perform backflips. But love, YA or not, is more than heaving tummies and shaking body parts. If it’s not, it’s not love. It’s not even lust. It’s a condition that needs medication. See a doctor. Fast.

I’m as guilty as the next of those heaving body parts, but there has to be more. That’s just the beginning; a knee jerk reaction. There has to be depth. A relationship has to grow. Develop.  It shouldn’t arrive fully formed. No one will believe that. So, get them talking. Get them connecting.

Blatantly falsified Stats

Note they don’t have to agree on everything. That would be boring. Very few relationships, ever, (maybe I’m generalising) are completely compatible in every aspect of life. But most are at least 60%. (Yep, I’m completely generalising and worse I’m making up stats – but it seems sound(?)).   And that compatibility goes further than a like or dislike of Thai food and the colour purple. But it’s a start.

Love Must pass the Belief Test

My last thoughts are to remember that even though we’re writing about young people, our romances have to be real and they must pass the reader belief test. Yes, first or new love is a dizzying time. And to those who are in the throes, there is nothing deeper or more special and no one else has ever felt this depth of emotion. No one. Ever. It’s powerful.

The secret? Again?

Connections. Think of them as sticky fingers that glue them to each other.   Convince the reader that these two were created for each other.

My last, last thought? Vale the relationship of Bec (who was eliminated) and Kyle.  MKR has lost its allure for me now. However, in my imagination I’m retelling the tale and in my version they find a way to be together – loved up, blissfully experimenting with strange and exotic foods.

And they’ll email me the recipes. Or invite me to dinner.

Sounds like a perfect ending to me.

And to celebrate that perfect ending, and my imperfect beginning here at AO&R, any person who takes the time to comment or just wave to say ‘hi’ on the comment board (I don’t judge) will go into a random draw to receive a copy of The Reluctant Jillaroo, or an earlier title if you already have that book – plus a pack of author goodies. Thank you! See you in the comments!

Multi award winning author Kaz Delaney has published 72 novels for kids, teens & adults over a 20 year period, many of them  published in several languages.  Her latest YA is The Reluctant Jillaroo, kaz-profiles-022Allen & Unwin, 2016 .  She is repped by JDM Management.


  1. Great article Kaz. I am a big fan of MKR as well so you hooked me with the title.

    To quote…YA love is raw and heart-pounding and exciting. It’s a series of delicious firsts that will never be experienced in the same way…Love this and it is so true.

    Thanks for an inspiring read.



    1. I know, I know! MKR – it drags me in every time. Even when I’m fighting it tooth and nail and determined to be in charge of myself. It always wins!

      But my biggest hugs and thanks go to you for picking out that quote. Not because it’s amazing – though I’m super glad you liked it. But because it’s true. Sure, every new love is exciting, but that very first one? You’re so sure that no one could understand how you feel and that NO ONE has ever felt this way. So fresh, So raw. So damned exciting! That’s what I love most about it.

      That very first time your lips meet his. Your very first romantic kiss. Wow. Bottle that power!

      Thank you so much for dropping by to help celebrate my debut here. Like Michelle whom I for got to remind – you’re in the draw, Smooches.



  2. Great post! Mkr has sucked me in, but I’m a bit more ambivalent about it since Bec left. The first round held much more charm and interest for me. Must have been the incipient romance. My favourite Bec line. This kitchen must be cursed.



    1. Alison! You and me both! First week was great and I was so devastated when Bec and Ash left. I was pretty sure the producers would wrangle it so that they stayed just because of the added attention the ‘romance’ was creating. But alas! Second week wasn’t bad. Third week, haven’t watched it at all.

      I think this happens every time, to me. I start to lose interest and can’t be bothered connecting with yet another lot of people. I’ll always come back when these first rounds finish though and we start the challenges.

      Love that Bec line. Didn’t actually remember it – but love it.

      Thanks for helping me celebrate my AO&R debut!



  3. Thank you AG! 😉 Love the title here! Caught in the Current? Sounds like my life. And yours no doubt! Can’t tell you how much it means that you took the time to comment. I’m incredibly chuffed. Huge love. xx



    1. Ah gorgeous Charmaine! The admiration is mutual – you know how much I love you, your talent and your generosity. Thank you for such a humbling comment. Raising a glass to ‘the spark’. You bring it not only to your work, but to life. Always. Hugest love. (As opposed to huggest love???? Confusing. Though everyone knows I’m a hugger! That’s what happens when you make up words. Ha!) Maybe I should have said. Hoooogest love! 😉 Either way, it’s big.



  4. “t love, YA or not, is more than heaving tummies and shaking body parts. If it’s not, it’s not love. It’s not even lust. It’s a condition that needs medication.”

    Bwahahahahaha! Awesome post, Kaz!



  5. Crikey. I Could imagine you being invited to one of their dinners. To be invited to the judging part when they are cooking for their lives would be amazing.

    i also love MKR, Masterchef, The Great Australian Bakeoff & The Voice. I love to see how they grow as contestants & see how they react under pressure.

    There is an underlying romance heating up in the Great British Bakeoff at the moment & watching them glance at each other is so cute. I’m not sure if it’s flirting or if they have partners but they sure do like each other. Maybe they will become hard & fast friends after the contest.

    I wonder if contestants in long running shows keep in touch?

    Anyways, thanks a bunch for you article, it certainly was informative, in point & relevant.

    I remember you talking about The Reluctant Jillaroo at the Rainforest Writing Retreat & was intrigued then. I know this book will be entertaining.



    1. Chris – what a great comment! I too love all those shows you speak of -except I don’t get to see The Voice much. But I’m intrigued – who is the romance between in the TGBB??? Candice +??? Or ??+ ?? I love that show. Sad that it’s the last season but I’m still struggling to work out who you mean. How could I have missed this! You, my dear, are a supersleuth! I love this intrigue!

      And thank you for your kind comments re this blog. I hope you enjoyed it. Such great memories of the RWR. And of meeting some fabulous people. 😉 Huge hugs!



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