I've often wondered if readers enjoy reading prologues and epilogues in romance books. As a reader, I like reading a prologue, especially if it sets up the story. Reading epilogues gives a future "look" into the hero and heroine's tale and takes me beyond the "Happily-Ever-After" ending so I can witness for myself just how their future unfolded.
I wrote one book using the prologue technique. When I first thought about writing "Streets of Dreams"(by Marianne Stephens), using a prologue popped into my head as the best way to gain reader attention right away. The prologue is in the killer's point of view, and I hoped it would capture a reader's immediate attention.
One book I'm working on now also has a prologue. I want to give the reader a glimpse of the hero and heroine's "history" so that Chapter One can start months later. With this book...once again...the idea of catching the reader's interest required a prologue.
Epilogues. I've written two in romance books I haven't published. These books need "polishing" and lots of editing. But, once again, after I finished my last chapters for each book, I sensed a "need" to tell a little more about what happened to the hero and heroine in their future.
As I mentioned above, I like reading both prologues and epilogues. I like that glimpse into the past and future. A prologue can eliminate some "backstory" insertions in the book so can be helpful to the writer. Epilogues can be helpful for those writing a series...an author can use this technique to hint at the next series book and inspire curiosity and interest. Or, for single titles, it can just give the reader a "little something extra" about what happens after that final chapter.
My two erotic romance books by April Ash, "Strip Poker for Two" and "Sexy Games", don't have prologues or epilogues. I liked where the stories started and how I ended them. I didn't see a need to lengthen the story at either end.
What do you prefer? Do you enjoy reading/writing Prologues? Epilogues? Both? Neither?
"Sexy Games" and "Strip Poker for Two" are available at Ellora's Cave. Visit www.aprilash.net or www.mariannestephens.net for information about all my books!