A Kiss to Build a Scene On with Denise Hunter

by | Feb 19, 2010 | Fiction Book Reviews | 8 comments

A Touch. Lips to lips. Waiting, wanting, speaking wordless words. Ahh, what a caress. What a moment!

What brings those moment to life. What ignites color from black and white print?  What heightens the pulse, shallows the breaths, and floods your skin with a flush of warmth.

The senses.

And who else could heighten our senses like author, Denise Hunter. Her books breathe with contained passion, longing, and a need to be desired. Oh dear me, they are so lovely. If you’ve never read her books, well…you just need to. To read a review of her feature book today, Seaside Letters, follow this link: http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/09/25/seaside-letters-by-denise-hunter-2/

 To learn more about her books visit her website at www.denisehunterbooks.com

Now, Denise, what do you think makes a good kissing scene?

There are many elements that go into a great kissing scene, but everything that comes before it is just as important as the romantic scene itself. Building the hero’s and heroine’s back stories and motivation, ramping up the conflicts that keep them apart, and showing why the characters are drawn to each other are crucial. No matter how well-written the kissing scene, the reader won’t be moved if you haven’t done your work leading up to it.

Having said that, here are some things that help build a great kissing scene:

Sensory Details—what is your character seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching or physically feeling? These are the details that put your reader there.

 Setting—choose the scene of the crime, er . . .kiss, carefully. Night or day? Sunny or storming? Alone in a boat or on a crowded street corner? Decide on the mood you want to set and go from there.

Internal Conflict—Unless you’re writing the happily-ever-after kiss, you’ll probably want your character to feel conflicted. Often during the kiss, they’ll remember why the kiss isn’t such a great idea.

Timing—This is about where you place the kiss in the story. Making the reader wait builds anticipation, but waiting too long will leave them irritated.

Pacing—Since your reader has been anticipating the scene, be sure it’s worth the wait. Slow the pace down. Linger in the scene a while.

Word choice —Words can set a romantic mood.  Watch your verbs and nouns. Go for specificity. Graze or brush, for instance, might be better than touch. 

 Wow, what great tips to remember. Do you have a scene for us?

From Seaside Letters (Thomas Nelson, 2009)

She laid her head in the crook of his elbow, the strength of his bare arm resting against her neck. Oh, how she’d missed this. Things email could never provide. Security. Comfort. She could a list a hundred more.

She inhaled the scent of his cologne, not daring to tear her eyes from the night sky. Smells.

The boat rocked slightly, a cradle on the water. The wind hummed a lullaby and waves lapped the boat, a gentle percussion.

“Sabrina?” he whispered.

Voices. She swallowed around a dry lump in her throat. Don’t look.

Do. Not. Look.

“What?” she asked so quietly she wasn’t sure if he heard.

“Look at me.” His voice, low and deep, beckoned.

She turned her head. He was so close. His breath mingled with the salty air and cooled her cheeks. His eyes . . .

His eyes were a deep pool, the color of the ocean at midnight. Had anyone ever looked at her the way he looked at her now? What was there, shimmering on the surface? Longing? Devotion? Desperation? She soaked it up, every ounce.

 “What?” she asked, needing to know. Needing words, not trusting herself to interpret his expression.

And then his hand was on her face, his palm cooling her flushed cheek. His thumb grazed the ridge of her lower lip, and she thought her lungs might explode. Touches.

He drew closer and then his lips were on hers, the merest of touches. A butterfly’s wings, a baby’s breath. It shook her to the core.

His lips tasted hers, teasing gently. Kisses.

It had been so long since she’d felt like this. Had she ever felt like this? Really wanted? Needed?

He deepened the kiss, ran his hand through her hair. This wanting, this needing, filled her to overflowing. She breathed him in. Tucker. The man who knew everything about her, the man who knew her every scar, inside and out. The man who loved her anyway.

Only he didn’t know he loved her. Didn’t know she was Sweetpea.

He was supposed to love Sweetpea.

Why was he kissing her? She felt betrayed. Then she felt silly because he was betraying her with her.

Even so, the feeling persisted. If he loved Sweetpea, how could he kiss Sabrina? She felt enraged on Sweetpea’s behalf.

She pushed at his chest, breaking the kiss.

Her breaths came hard and short. She saw the confusion in his eyes before she turned. “Take me home.”

“What’s wrong?”

The answer to that question could fill a book. Did she have desperation written all over her? Is that why he’d kissed her? Wasn’t he getting enough action from Arielle? The thought provoked her.

“I’ve had enough of the second show.” She pulled the blanket more tightly around her, but the chill seeped right through.

Oh Denise, you are such a tease. The final scene of that book is FANTASTIC with a kiss to build a SCENE on for sure, but this one is great too. Very take-your-breath-away too. Sigh. I will shamelessly plug this book, and all of your books, as much as you want. They are wonderful, passionate, and dig deep into so many heart-issues.

Thank you, thank you for being here today and what a way to end the week. Whew…

 Kissing Quote for the Day: 

“Love is friendship set on fire.”
Jeremy Taylor

 Inspirational Quote for the Day:

What is love, you ask? Below is a checklist that none of us can ever fully meet. An aspiration, perhaps, but a truth as well. A list that HAS been met in the love of our Savior.

“No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
   Love doesn’t strut,
   Doesn’t have a swelled head,
   Doesn’t force itself on others,
   Isn’t always “me first,”
   Doesn’t fly off the handle,
   Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end.”

I Corinthians 13:3-7


  1. sherrinda

    Ooooo, I LOVED the Seaside Letters! (And the very pretty cover…pink, pink, pink!) I loved the secrets in this book and the internal angst it brought to their growing attraction/love.

    And Pepper, I love that version of I Cor. 13. Sometimes new ways to look at things we know so well add so much more to the meaning.

  2. Julie

    Okay, I am a little ashamed to admit that I have never gotten around to reading Denise Hunter although I have heard countless good things about her, but this excerpt pretty much blew me away — WONDERFUL WRITING, truly!! I’m going to have to hunt this one down for sure because that whole scene was one of the sensory, anticpatory romantic scenes ever — EXCELLENT!!

    And, Pepper, I’ve never quite seen the true definition of love put in a checklist like that–VERY COOL!! Just like this whole blog! 🙂


  3. Casey

    Oh, Julie you HAVE to read this book!! It is SO good and I just loved every page. It’s one I wished I owned! Someday…

  4. deniseahunter

    Thanks, ladies, for your kind words. 🙂 And thanks, Pepper for having me on your blog today. I do love to write those kissing scenes . . .

  5. Renee

    Read this book and absolutely loved it! The entire series is terrific and I can’t wait for Driftwood Lane, the next book in the Nantucket series!!!!

  6. Mia

    I know I’m commenting a bit late, but loved reading this post (all the others this week, as well). I’ve read Seaside Letters, and loved it. I thought the story line was fascinating. We’ve all heard of the online relationships before, but I thought Denise Hunter did a good job placing a new spin on the idea 🙂

  7. Cynthia

    Oooo, I can’t wait to read the book. I loved The Convenient Groom and couldn’t wait for this book to come out. After reading this scene, I’m looking forward to finding out what happens between them.

  8. Melanie Dickerson

    This book sounds really good! One of my favorite books is Denise Hunter’s Mending Places. Wow! That book really stayed with me. Lots of raw emotion in that one! I loved it.



  1. Highlights from A Kiss to Build a SCENE On « Faith and Fiction on Fire - [...] http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/a-kiss-to-build-a-scene-on-with-denise-hunter/ [...]

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