I love backstory.
What I'm talking about here are the things that shape our hero and heroine into who they are; all the beautiful moments they cherish, or those unavoidable blips in life that cause anger, fear, dislike and outright prejudice.
My personal favorites, though, are the backstories when the hero and heroine knew each other growing up. I love it when they are teen lovers, break up, and then meet again as adults and go for the HEA. I want every word of growing maturity as teens, every discovery, every caress, every argument.
Alas, this is why my first book will never see the light of day. I wrote what I wanted to read, not knowing it was taboo to include four chapters of teenage backstory in a twelve chapter book. (Or to use up a year's quota of exclamation points, but that's a blog for a different day.) Yes, it has been done and done well by the likes of Lavyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught, but both were well established before they broke the "rules". And both are two of only a handful of phenomenal writers who reside in a class by themselves.
The thing is, I still love my first book. I go back to it time and again, like a good friend who never fails to give me a boost. I really love the characters, and my favorite parts of the story are still those teen years. I don't need therapy to know why. Their beautiful relationship is everything my own teenage attempts at love failed to be. It's my way of having that romance without wishing I could actually change a thing, because just like with the characters, those experiences made me who I am today.
Maybe someday I will reduce those four chapters and incorporate them into their current story. Maybe not. Just the thought of it makes me feel like I'd be taking a knife to a friend. I know we all have to learn how to do that, and I have done it with no problem with every other book. Just not this one.