This month’s Read Around the Rainbow blog topic is “romancing a romance writer”!
I actually wasn’t sure I’d have a ton to say—not because I don’t like romance; I do!—but because I feel like my answer is, as it is in many cases, “it depends on the writer/person in question!”
I suppose more specifically what I mean by that is…romance involves knowing someone: who they are, what they care about, what they want, what makes them smile. Some people might loathe grand gestures, so that’d be a turn-off! Some people might love a big epic declaration, a proclamation in front of others, a sweeping statement: I’m yours and you’re mine and we’ll shout it to the world.
There might be flowers and chocolate and lavish spending. Or there might be comic books and a jigsaw puzzle, pieces fitting together. Or there might be tickets to an awesome punk rock show.
The point is, I think, that whatever “romancing” entails, it’s personal, intimate, about the person you’re trying to romance: showing that you know about and care about the little things that make up the person they are.
Which of course means that I can really only answer the “how to romance a romance writer” for one specific writer, which is me! *laughs* I do like gestures and celebrations; it doesn’t have to be big, but it’s a nice feeling, for instance, if Awesome Husband brings home cookies or a mini bundt cake from the bakery near his office: something he thought about, thought that I’d like, and did it, just because. Our first proper official date involved dinner and a local bookshop. (We did have a…medium-big wedding, probably not big compared to some, but we knew both our families wanted to come, and some of Awesome Husband’s family came over from the Philippines, and we did want to celebrate…but it was very us, what my mom ended up calling “geek chic”: at a historic landmark hotel, with comic-book centerpieces for the tables, and our lesbian Wiccan friend performed the ceremony and did a blessing in Elvish, and Awesome Husband had Batman cuff links, and so on…)
I suspect that, because I’ve always been a bit awkward and introverted and “weird,” I like feeling wanted—I sort of gave that quality to Colby in Character Bleed, though it’s not exactly the same, for Character Reasons, of course! But that feeling of not quite fitting in well, of always wistfully wishing you could be important to someone, maybe, just a little; that someone would want you…and then maybe someone shows you that you are important—they remember your favorite author and buy you a brand-new book, for instance…that’s romance, I think. (There’s a reason that that’s, more or less, how Jason ends up proposing to Colby in that Character Bleed bonus story. And no, that’s not how Awesome Husband proposed to me, not exactly! Though that was also at home and personal and warm and about us.)
Of course I also personally appreciate fuzzy socks, good craft beer, new pretty notebooks, space to write, history, people liking my characters and/or my terrible puns, and puzzles shaped like cats. So all of that works too!
Come see what all the other fellow RAtR authors think!
10 thoughts on “Read Around the Rainbow: how to romance a romance writer”
I really enjoyed your thoughtful take on this theme, Kristin. And your wedding sounded awesome!
Well, I tried! Hopefully it ended up interesting! 😀
I do think that it really, really depends on the people and their needs/wants – and that can absolutely include the big dramatic supposedly cliche gestures! Because if someone’s never ever had that, and they’ve always sort of wistfully wanted the experience – the whole roses on Valentine’s Day, or a big public proposal that says “I love this person and I want everyone to know” (some great historical romances do this!) or whatever – then it’s not performative at all; it’s significant! So even the cliches can be meaningful, if it…has meaning… *laughs* But you know what I mean!
Our wedding was super-fun, or at least I think it was! We did want the celebration, and it was always kind of a given that both our families wanted to be there, so we knew the Big Party was inevitable, but not in a bad way. :p But we tried to make it full of things that we like, like history and Batman! Apparently some of our cousins were going around trying to read all the comics on the tables – we didn’t put out any expensive issues, I think nothing over $2, which was good because we didn’t get all of them back! But that was okay, we kind of expected that. (We’re pretty sure some of Jon’s more Catholic family doesn’t think we’re technically married, given the whole Wiccan and Elvish thing…I know we heard, quite a bit afterward, that a couple of them were confused by the Elvish, like, what language is that, that’s not Latin and definitely not Tagalog… :p )
I suppose I could’ve answered for some of my characters, which is always fun! Let’s see…and this is mostly just me rambling about my characters now, so feel free to not read! :p
In Magician, I feel like the heart of that romance is maybe as simple as….respecting each other? Like, Lorre could literally do or be anything and it would be just a trifle, magically speaking, so materiality isn’t all that important…but Gareth actually listening to all the things he doesn’t say, and the loneliness underneath that; and then very calmly being all “I’m not leaving you alone even when you’re doing Dangerous Magical Things,” and proving the truth of that, over and over…and Lorre going, “OH DAMMIT YOU’RE SUCH A GENUINELY GOOD PERSON, I SOMEHOW NEVER WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOU, PLEASE NEVER LEAVE.” (They almost don’t get married – Lorre historically has never bothered, and Gareth maybe always kind of vaguely expected to get married but he doesn’t care enough to actively argue if Lorre doesn’t want to – except that he ends up figuring out that Lorre kind of DOES want to, at least the whole “I’m going to make a vow, in public, an affirmation, that I love you and I want you and I’m yours” part, because it’s something that helps heal a very old hurt. It’s not a big wedding, but the fact of it matters.)
With Finn and Wes, Finn 100% gets into the celebrations, the Valentine’s Day, etc – he’s the sort of person who WILL send a box of expensive chocolates to Wes’s office hours – but it’s kind of personal too, because he honestly means it all! (And he does think about it; he wouldn’t do anything that Wes would find outright embarrassing, like singing telegrams during a seminar or something!) Wes isn’t instinctively the sort of person who does big gestures – he’s very much the, “well, everything’s good, we’re happy, we shouldn’t need that!” type – but he’s learning that Finn loves it, so he’ll try. 🙂
Jason and Colby from Character Bleed are interesting because Jason definitely shows love by Doing Things For People – it’s the whole soft!Dom thing! – but he also has to be decently careful because Colby a) just got out of a genuinely abusive relationship, and b) has pretty much NEVER had a healthy relationship, so Jason diving in and being all, “okay, I’m taking care of you now, I’m doing this and this and this!” isn’t maybe…the best option, necessarily…but it’s also possible to be *too* careful about it, to the point where it’s Colby going, “okay, I’m showing up at your hotel room and I think we should have sex now!” :p (There’s a reason it takes like 80k to get to the first sex scene!) I feel like a lot of the “romancing each other” aspects of that whole giant story come from them learning how to actually listen to each other (“do you want me to do this? okay, I can do that, but not that other thing, got it” – and then actively remembering to do that, whether it’s about ordering food or working out sex or relationship behavior on set), and also that they both have that kind-hearted wanting-to-help-people core – like Colby helping Jason deal with his fear of water, before they’re even a couple, just wanting to help. I suppose really Colby *also* likes Doing Things For People to show love, though in his case it’s usually…more emotional/verbal, like being a good listener or giving advice or being comforting, whereas Jason will go buy you cupcakes or fix your dishwasher or punch someone in the face if they’ve made you sad. (It’s not actually that binary, but generally speaking.) Jason was totally planning a Big Romantic Proposal – not super-public, but, like, a weekend away at a luxurious historic spot, a balcony at sunset, a whole speech – and then, on a random morning at home, they’re just in the kitchen and Colby’s talking about books and wanting to do something nice for a favorite author (“maybe, if I mention loving this romance novel, and that I’m thinking about buying a fourth copy of it because the special edition just came out today, I could say so in an interview, perhaps, and even more people might buy it?”), and Jason’s just like, God, I love you, stay right there for a sec, I’ve got two presents for you–here, first, I already bought you your book, of course I was keeping track of the release date, and second, please marry me? ❤
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Too true. I might not favor the grand gestures, but they are romantic if the recipient does love them. ❤️
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Yes, exactly! Like, some people would truly love being the recipient of a big over-the-top gesture, proposal, gifts, etc – and if that’s something they really love, and it’s not just expectation, but maybe they’ve always wanted to know what that’s like, or maybe – as in some historical romances – an incontrovertible statement-declaration of support/social acceptance/true love versus arranged marriage…that’s totally a thing! Not for everyone, of course. :p
I feel like Jon and I are somewhere in the middle, honestly! We do like little gestures and things, like the baked goods; we get each other Valentine’s Day cards and probably an interesting chocolate (like, dark chocolate & chili pepper, or something, because we both like spice), but that’s because, hey, why not, it’s a commercial holiday but that doesn’t mean we can’t use it as an excuse to get each other a fancy chocolate! :p He proposed at home, and there were flowers, and he had cleaned the apartment, like THOROUGHLY cleaned, which I noticed as soon as I walked in. 😀 We did the big (I mean, like…maybe 150-ish people? not like 500!) wedding but it was mostly just to have a celebratory party full of family and friends, in a neat place, with things we like – and Jon has a big family so that was always going to be a lot of people, just by default! :p
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True. It’s all about knowing what your loved one wants. ❤️
J and I also had a very “us” wedding. We had a Kraftwerk theme (specifically the red-and-black Man Machine album) so our invites were written in a Kraftwerk font and our color theme was red and black and all our guests wore red and black. My wedding dress was red, and we danced our first dance to the song Man Machine (which is NOT easy! https://youtu.be/cQe9eK_4U0U). It was very interesting to see my mom and dad try to dance to Kraftwerk! 😆
It was glorious!