Guest Post

Guest Post: Alissa Johnson’s Favorite Romantic Subplots

A Gift for Guile Alissa Johnson

When I first received the list of possible topics for a guest post on EverAfter Romance, one in particular caught my eye.

“If you like watching X, you’ll love reading Y.”

I really wanted to use that topic. It sounds like so much fun. Sadly, I didn’t have enough suggestions to fill even half a post.

The truth is, I often avoid TV shows and movies that center on relationships. Not always, mind you (my original box set of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice is the sole reason I still own a VCR) but more often than not, I shy away from these types of productions.

There are several reasons for this. 1.) I’m afraid the original source material will be butchered —Nooo! That’s not what happens! 2) I never liked the source material—Yeah, the hero was a jerk in the book, too.  3) I don’t trust the powers-that-be to take their original love story in the direction I want it to go—Aww, they look like the sweetest couple. But there’s only a 50/50 chance of an HEA, so…No.

That having been said, I watch all kinds of TV shows and movies, and I read a wide variety of books. And since nearly every genre likes to flavor their stories with the occasional bit of romance, I often find myself becoming invested in minor interpersonal relationships. Sometimes all it takes is the mere hint of attraction between two likable characters to suck me in. I know I’m probably going to be unhappy with the way things pan out for them, but it’s too late—I’m already hooked.

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here are some couples whose little side flirtations and romantic subplots snuck past my defenses and reeled me right in. Or, in simpler terms: people I shipped without meaning to.

  1. The doctor and nearly every companion he’s had in the Doctor Who reboot. If someone asks me why I watch Doctor Who, I’ll tell them because it’s a show about a genius who can go anywhere in time and space and what’s not to like about that? That’s certainly true, but I’ve enjoyed the occasional romantic overtones right along with the time/space adventures. I liked the Doctor and Rose, and the Doctor and Amy, and Clara, and Donna even though she was never meant to be anything other than a friend. I wanted to root for the Doctor and Martha as well (she’s a tragically underrated companion, in my opinion) but it was just too soon after Rose. I couldn’t do it.
  2. Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger—Books or Movies. I was a grown woman when I first started reading the Harry Potter books. Not quite old enough to drink, but old enough to be supremely disinterested in preteen angst. Nonetheless, the first time little Ron and Hermione bickered, I was charmed. When they danced around their interest in each other as young teenagers, I alternately groaned and laughed. And when they finally kissed, I cheered.
  3. Danny Messer and Lindsey Monroe of NCI NY. For a period of about two years, I was really into this show, and I will admit that my interest rested entirely on the flirtation between these two ridiculously adorable detectives. When they started dating, I was thrilled. And when one of them went and screwed it all up, I walked away, reminding myself that this was why I needed to stick to getting my romance fix from romance novels. I meant to do just that. I really did. But then someone lent me DVDs of their favorite show and…
  4. John Crichton and Aeryn Sun of Farscape. This one’s tricky because the story does eventually become pretty much centered on the relationship between the lead couple. Initially, however, there was a lot more going on. The sexual tension between my favorite cocky American astronaut and the bad-ass alien warrior was just one part of a layered story. While I can’t say I loved every twist and turn this relationship took, I will say that I spent an entire weekend binge watching this show, and don’t regret a minute of it.
  5. Doctors Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant from the first Jurassic Park. At the time this movie came out, Paleontology was on my short list of possible academic futures. I was seriously excited about seeing this film. And it did not disappoint. I adored it. I paid to see it in the theater an embarrassing number of times. I loved the action, the special effects, the characters, and was only mildly put out by the glaring scientific inaccuracies. And on top of all of that, I was really into Ellie and Alan. I couldn’t tell you why, exactly—they spend a big chunk of that movie apart—but I loved them. And in case you’re wondering, as far as I’m concerned, the rest of that trilogy never happened.

There you have it, just a few of my many favorite romantic subplots from TV, books and movies. I know that despite my best efforts, I will continue to accidentally invest in these sorts of minor attractions and flirtations. And every now and then, I’m going to be unhappy with the results. Fortunately, when that happens, all I really need to wash away the bitter disappointment is a good romance novel, and the reminder that some characters will always get their happily ever after.


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About A Gift for Guile

She’s a liar.

She’s a con.

She’s a thief.

And God help him, but he’ll do anything to keep her safe.

Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything private detective Samuel Brass shouldn’t want. Esther knows she’s put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends—not her family’s enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering, and undeniably handsome former officer of the Scotland Yard. Yet whenever he’s near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers…and wish she were worthy of being saved.


Alissa Johnson is a RITA-nominated author of historical romance. She grew up on Air Force bases and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. She currently resides in the Arkansan Ozarks where she spends her free time keeping her Aussie dog busy, visiting with family, and dabbling in archery.

Alissa can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and AlissaJohnson.com.

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