I wrote this originally for Just Romantic Suspense. Be sure to check out the website. It has great info, lots of author interviews and plenty of giveaways!
In books, I’ve found the ones I enjoy the most have family in it. Most romances have what I’ve heard called the Dead Parent Syndrome. You’ve never seen so many orphans than you do in Romance. And don’t get me started on the Only Child Syndrome. You sort of expect DPS to show up in historical romance. Between all of the diseases and the nasty childbirth practices back then, chances were good that the main characters were raised by an aunt or uncle. But the phenomenon spilled over to contemporary many years ago. As an author, I know how tempting it is to kill off all of the family. Just think of the angst and damage the person would be going through all alone. Plus the character can behave any way they want without worrying about how mom would react.
Why do I like having parents and siblings even in the type of romantic suspense I write? First, let me explain what I write. I love edgy, hot stories of a man and woman who try to do right but screw up along the way. (Pun intended.) My current book, Circle of Desire, is so much like that and the strange thing is in this book the two main characters have DPS. But siblings pop up everywhere and that trend continues in my book due out June 5, Circle of Danger. But in the third book, Circle of Deception (tentatively titled), someone’s parents will finally show up, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
So now I’ll answer the question above. I believe readers can only handle so much angst and damage. A favorite author of mine loves to torment her characters and one book of hers in particular I had to put down a time or two because of all the pain and suffering. All I could think of is, “Give the guy a break!” Hey, when you like the hero, you want his life to improve, especially after meeting the heroine (and vice-versa). Besides, we like believing there are parents who are alive and their children have grown up to become awesome heroes/heroines. Some of us had parents who did a decent job of parenting. If we’re messed up, it’s because of actions by other people, not in our nuclear family, that have touched us in a negative or positive way or maybe all it is, is us being human.