What Can I Say? I Love Those Kind of Books!
Being a fan of romance novels isn’t always easy. We get the looks, the sneers, sometimes even the leers. Case in point: when I was single and dating, I got set up on a blind date. I had high hopes for this guy – on paper he was perfect. We decided to meet up at a coffee shop, and, arriving a little early, I pulled out a romance novel to read as I waited. When he finally arrived, here’s how the conversation went…
Dream Guy: How’s that book you’re reading?
Me: I just started it, but so far so good.
Dream Guy: (smirking) Aren’t all those kind of books the same?
Me: ‘Those kind‘ of books?
Slightly-Less-Dreamy Guy: Yeah. Those… (scrunching his nose up like he’s smelled bad cheese) … girly, mushy books?
Me (trying to maintain a poker face, vowing never to blind date again): You mean books with a happy ending? Books about love? Books where people are going on dates far more successful than this one?
Dud Guy: Come on, you know, those trashy romance kind.
Me (getting up from the table): You know, before you go any further, you should probably know that I’m a romance writer. I write those kind of books for a living.
Dud laughs. Then sees my deadpan face.
Dud: Wait, you’re serious?
Me: Like a heart attack.
Dud (red-faced, attempting to pull his size twelve boot out of his mouth): Oh. Well, uh, that’s cool. That’s… wow, you write books. That’s great. That’s…huh, you’re an actual author. I’d love to read one.
Me (as I leave): I don’t think so. You’re not man enough for ‘those kind‘ of books.
Needless to say, that was the one and only time I saw that guy. But the book I was reading? I still have it. I’ve read it almost a dozen times. Why? Because I know that every single time that hero will still be the Dream Guy at the end. I know he’ll only improve page by page, and that as I fall in love with him alongside the heroine, there’s no way he’s going to suddenly turn into a Dud and leave the heroine wishing she’d had the presence of mind to toss a latte in his lap before she stormed out.
What can I say? I love those kind of books. Frankly, they’re the best kind. I love knowing that as a dark as it gets, it’s all going to be okay in the end. As tortured as the hero is, he’ll always change. As sad as the heroine gets, she’ll always get her man. And it never gets old because there are a million different heroines and heroes… a pirate, a vampire, a regency lady or, like most of my books, a bumbling amateur sleuth on the trail of a killer.
Life needs a few more happy endings. Romance gives up the hope that we’ll get them, and the courage to continue trying no matte how many duds we encounter along the way.
(P.S. And I did eventually find my dream guy. And he’s total hero material. And he is man enough to read my books. Score one for Happy Endings!)
Recommendations: For anyone looking for a great set of short romance stories, Leslie Langtry‘s SNUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON is the perfect example of love and laughter going hand in hand. And if you love YA, Amanda Brice‘s CODENAME: DANCER series is a great peek into young love mixed with a little danger and intrigue.
Questions for Gemma:
What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?
My fuzzy pink slippers. Don’t judge. I can’t wear high heels all the time.
If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)
The Caffeinated Blonde. Think Reece Witherspoon hyped on non-fat lattes.
What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?
My seven-year-old son gave me a heart necklace with the words “I love you” inscribed on it for Mother’s Day. It was the best not only in that moment, but to hold and remember every time he screamed, “I hate you!” and slammed his bedroom door in the following pre-teen years.
If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)
My favorite scene is in my first book SPYING IN HIGH HEELS, when my heroine Maddie and the hot cop, Ramirez, get physical for the first time. It’s hot, tender, and very real all at the same time.
Gemma is providing a FREE e-book of SPYING IN HIGH HEELS!
For a FREE ebook copy of the book, go to tinyurl.com/k66yhd9, add the ebook format of your choice to your cart, then enter this code at checkout: MJ89A)
You are reading this essay at ReadARomanceMonth.com. Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August. Also visit the Awesome Contests page to see how you can register each week to win “A Month of Romance” (31 books), e-readers, and even the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!
Gemma is generously donating one autographed copy of LUCK BE A LADY (U.S. and International readers eligible) International readers enter here. To enter the domestic contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both. (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.) Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 23 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.
In her previous life, Gemma worked in such diverse jobs as a film and television actress, a teddy bear importer, a department store administrator, a preschool teacher, a temporary tattoo artist, and a 900 number psychic. Luckily, she sold her first book, Spying in High Heels, in 2005, ending her string of eclectic employment.
Since then, Gemma has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a National Reader’s Choice award and three RITA nominations. She now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area, where she is hard at work on her next book.
Buy Gemma’s Books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble