What do Romance Writer’s Husbands Think of Leading Men?

Sweet Dreamers,

It’s so funny how guys relate to the heart throb in romance novels. My husband and I watched The Boyfriend School last night, which is a movie I love. Jami Gertz, Steve Guttenberg, Shelley Long – Shelly is a romance writer who turns her brother (Steve) into the PERFECT guy for Jami to fall in love with. There are so many great scenes and lines in this movie, but I think it’s funny when Shelley’s husband asks, “I was Chance Peters in The Night Was Hard?”

Sure, we romance writers get our leading men from somewhere. Usually an ideal or something we wish would happen, mixed with what we know about men from being with them. Of course our leads are as nearly perfect a guy you could ever want to date. Of course they have abs of steel and know exactly what to get the female lead on Valentine’s Day. And if they have flaws, they are usually the yummy, adorable ones like scars in sexy places or the need to take care of any bad guy that may stand in their way.

However, real life love is not any less special. When he brings home dinner because you had a rotten day or picks up OJ on the way home because you’re sick, all those little things they do everyday to show they love you are special too. Living with a man that is thoughtful in his own special way adds to our understanding of men and comes out in our writing. 

Is my husband Rob Malloy? No, but he’s my version of Rob Malloy. Rob was built for Victoria and he provides her with what she needs in a man. Just like Mr. Darcy, I probably wouldn’t like living with Rob because he is a little too perfect. I would never live up to his standards and I am glad that I have a man who lets me make mistakes sometimes.

But the real question is… What do the husbands or boyfriends of romance writers think about their “perfect” leading men?

I can tell you what mine thinks because he makes fun of Rob all the time. It’s all in good fun, but in my husband’s mind, Rob is clueless eye-candy that spends all day at the gym or ravishing women. My husband’s view of Rob actually cracks me up. We are both writers and when he edits my work, he draws little pictures of Rob being goofy in the margins, or  he’ll write skits or spoofs and leave them on my desk.  I’ve started keeping a journal full of his little jokes to make me laugh when I’m having a not so good day. I recently found a 13 page scene he wrote for the series starring Rob as this insensitive, egomaniac who didn’t understand what his assistant Kip meant when he said he was gay. I wish I could reprint it here because it’s hilarious, but my hubby writes these things only for me. This is another way he shows he loves me. He’s involved in my life and a large portion of my life is the characters.

Author Sue Mac Nicol says, “The first thing my husband says when he sees me drooling over pictures of the leading men in my books is, ‘You know they’ve been photo-shopped, right? And that’s a sock in their underwear, not the real thing?’ I look at his grinning face and sigh wearily.”Yes, dear.” We’ve been married thirty years this year so I know just how to respond to him by now.” Sue, who has a string of romances, discusses the men often with her hubby. “He’ll also say things like ‘You women love to idealize these men, and put them on a pedestal. You do know they probably fart in bed and have bad morning breath just like the rest of us ordinary mortals, don’t you?’ I sigh in long suffering silence. Of course I know that but just for a minute, I’d like to believe that my cover models are perfect gentleman, with personalities to match their looks and I’d like to wallow in the dream that is my sexy leading man.” Don’t we all, Sue?

And Sue is not alone, that is what romance readers across the globe are looking to escape to. They want to dream for just a moment before they have to go back to the kids, or the job, or the homework.

I remember reading my first romance. It was about a widower who lived in a lighthouse and a man came to vacation near her. When they met, she could finally pull herself out of her crippling mourning period and smile again. I think we’re all looking for some of that kind of magic.

Romance reader Karmon says, “I like my romance wrapped up in adventure – experiences that I don’t have in my average life. Romance novels are an opportunity to visit new countries, new worlds, new time periods. When I was a young romance reader, it give me a broader sense of the world. I’m not a fan of the pure, untried virginal heroine. How boring. Give me someone closer to my age and a hero who has a few flaws, and I find the story more interesting.”

The more flaws the gentleman has, and yet still proves to do the right thing, the better, huh? But sometimes not even our significant other can predict what kind of fantasies will come out of our heads.

Romance writer Sarah Madison says, “My boyfriend is incredibly supportive about my writing.” When they met, she didn’t know he knew that she wrote man to man romance. He confessed he had read it and she was mortified. “I told him that he *never* had to read another story of mine again,” she says, but he did and has helped her proof, format, and research her writing. Sarah is one of the lucky ones and she knows it. “Every time I read online of some romance writer bewailing the lack of support from her family, regardless of genre, I realize just how incredibly lucky I am.”

And those of us who are teased are lucky, too. If my husband didn’t care, he wouldn’t even notice the leading men. He wouldn’t draw silly sketches or sing, “Angel of the Morning” every time my vampire character, Julien, came up. With every laugh and joke he makes up about them, he’s proving he’s listening to me and he loves me.

Despite the teasing or support, one thing is clear. Romance readers will be craving that little bit of magic for years to come. So if you’re going to marry a romance writer, you better get used to the brawny, muscled studs we create. Doesn’t look like their going anywhere.

~Emmy Z. Madrigal

bosumSarah Madison is a veterinarian with a big dog, a big horse, too many cats, and an extremely patient boyfriend. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy. Her book Boys of Summer was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards, selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave, and winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Her book, Boys of Summer, can be found at Amazon.com.
full-cassandra-by-starlightSue Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. At the age of eight, her family moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, where she stayed for nearly thirty years before arriving back in the UK in December 2000.  The first year Sue was back in the UK, it snowed on her birthday, as it did the day she was born in 19*coughs* and she swears this was England welcoming her back.  She lives in the quaint village of Bocking in Essex, set in the countryside and not far from the sea should she get the yen to eat oysters. You can find her work at: www.susanmacnicol.com
nkssbetterEmmy Z. Madrigal is the author of the Sweet Dreams Musical Romance Series and a romance reader from the time she could read. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. She also writes horror under the name Emerian Rich. To find out more about her, stay subscribed to this blog or go to: emzbox.com
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: