Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

You Old Romantic…

IMG_0775As a romance writer, people around you, when they learn what you do, assume that your life is filled with romance. That your partner woos you with endless candlelit dinners, buys you fragrant, bunches of flowers every other day and leaves boxes of chocs on your red silk sheets like some latter day Milk Tray Man (remember him?)

Of course, it’s like that exactly….not!

I’ve been married for eighteen years this year and my husband and I have never had a candlelit dinner. He only buys me flowers when he’s done something wrong (he’s bought three bunches of ‘sorry’ flowers in nearly two decades, so that’s not bad) and though he does buy me chocolate on a regular basis – its not the expensive, luxurious Belgian ones or something decadent from Hotel Chocolat (other chocolates are available!) – he does tend to tell me when we’re packing away the shopping that “there’s a packet of white chocolate buttons in there somewhere for you…

Because romance isn’t always the grand gestures like we sometimes put in our stories. It’s not all gentle piano music and a solitary red rose being offered. And this is what I try to tell people when they assume that I’m drowning under boxes of chocs and bunches of red roses (which quite frankly, I don’t even like! Give me a bunch of tulips any day, or some happy sunflowers…)

Romance, as we all know is in the small details – the way my husband does always remember to buy me a packet of chocolate just for me that I don’t have to share with the kids. The way he looks after me when I’m sick, picking up my snotty tissues that have somehow missed the waste paper bin. The way he’ll make me a cup of tea without having to be asked. The way he’ll sit and listen to my pathetic jokes. The way he walks on the side of the path nearest to the road, so that if a car mounts the pavement, he’ll get hit first and take the brunt of the injuries. The way he always asks if I need anything because he’s popping out and he’ll go fetch it. The way he holds my hand when I’m having a horrible vertigo attack and holds me if it causes a panic attack afterwards. The way he’ll stand and watch over me in the bathroom, so I can wash my face and clean my teeth safely, without the fear of going all dizzy again and cracking my head open on the sink, gently guiding me back to bed if it’s a bad day.

The way he listens to me whinge on and on about how my characters aren’t behaving, how the book is awful, how my editor must secretly be laughing when she sends back yet another revision letter, that I don’t know what I’m doing, that I hate the book, it’s awful, it’s…………..aaargh!

And he just looks at me calmly, listens and then he smiles and lays his hand on mine and reminds me that I do know what I’m doing. That the characters will behave, the book is not awful, that my editor is not laughing, she’s just doing her job and that is to help me make a better book for our wonderful readers, that I do love my book and my story and my characters, that it’s great and that I’ve written four others and gotten great reviews and that everything I’m going through is just another stage of writing it. Of chipping away at the marble to reveal the sculpture beneath, hidden in the stone.

And then I dislike him for a bit – because he’s telling the truth (I’m just not ready to process it properly yet) and then the anger goes and I get back to work and he brings me another cup of tea, without being asked, because I’m working so hard.

He’s not perfect. But then neither am I. But we are perfectly imperfect for each other and that is the romance. Something which some people struggle to see, because they’re always looking for the big gestures, when the little ones are right there, before their eyes.

At the start of November, my third title will be released – A Father This Christmas? This was one of my most difficult stories to write so far, but I really hope you’ll look out for Eva and Jacob’s story. It’s available to order at all good bookstores, Amazon and at the Mills and Boon website

IMG_0246So do you get to enjoy candlelit dinners? (I really must arrange one) or humongous bunches of flowers? Or boxes of elegant chocolates left on your silken pillow? Or do you get given a foot massage even when you are wearing your grubby, sweaty socks that you’ve had on for three days? I’d love to hear about it!

Louisa xx

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24 thoughts on “You Old Romantic…”

  1. Oh Louisa – you made me happy sigh. I always say romance is in the little things too. Maybe its because I dont have an overly romantic man either. And while I do love getting flowers – heck, I can buy my own! It’s the morning cup of tea without being asked that speaks volumes!

  2. Oh, Louisa, he sounds AMAZING! Who needs bunches of roses that you don’t even like, or chocolates to help you pile on the pounds because you’ve already sneaked out and had cake (moi?!) or candlelit dinners that make the house smell when you blow out the candles instead of spitting on your fingers and pinching the flame out (which always burns anyway)? My husband of 37 – good grief – years brings me tea in bed every morning, sets the dog on me to wake me up snuffling in my ear and licking my neck (that gets me out from under the covers pretty fast) and he sets a reminder on his phone to put the bins out every week, eats whatever I put in front of him without complaint, never expects his shirts to be ironed and works tirelessly in the garden and around the house keeping everything more or less under control. And he vacuums the carpets and washes the kitchen floor.
    Would I like more romance? Sure. Would I trade him for the Milk Tray man? No way!
    And I have to say your new cover is GORGEOUS!!!!

    1. Oh Caroline, you’ve got a keeper, too! He vacuums! Cleans the kitchen floor! I’m a little in love with him myself, lol!
      And yes, I love my new cover, too! That little boy just looks so cute! (Have just realised I’ve used loads of exclamation points!!!)

  3. Definitely prefer the little things – but he can throw in a grand gesture occasionally. I get the cup of tea in bed first thing in the morning from my man too, and the curtains opened so I can enjoy the sea view and he cooks, (makes a hell of a mess of the kitchen) and cleans the car when I’m going out.

    1. Mine makes a mess in the kitchen too when he cooks. How do they manage to use every single pan?
      Little gestures are good. They count for more than the big ones. I do like a big gesture, don’t get me wrong, but if they get presented to me, I tend to ask, “okay, what you done wrong, now?” Which, I think, is NOT the response they want!

  4. Romance is different for everyone. I like the fact I don’t have to wonder if my husband is coming home today or if he does he will be drunk, or beat me. The comfort of knowing I have some one I can depend on is romance all the way through.

    1. I agree! My husband always wants us to spend more time together alone. We don’t get the chance! But just knowing that after 18 yrs he still wants to spend time with me is sweet.

  5. I think in 36 years the dh bought flowers twice. But he does know how to work a vacuum, helps cook, understands how special my fur babies are to me, enjoys hiking, doesn’t freak when I scream at the monitor or talk to myself and surprised me with a vow renewal ceremony on our 25th (even got down and his knee and proposed again). I’m seriously considering keeping him. Congrats on the release!!! Christmas stories are my fave.

    1. Oh my, now that’s a grand gesture! And just beautiful – you made me smile and sigh, and I just had to tell you. 🙂

  6. Louisa, you are so right. It’s so easy to take all the little things for granted, isn’t it?

    Your latest book may have been difficult to write (my third was my hardest, too!) but I’m sure it’s wonderful. The cover certainly is!

  7. I’m not really a romantic person – but my husband basically just takes care of me, and I love it. Seriously, this guy gets up before me in the morning, and makes sure I am tucked in for my extra hours’ sleep.

    1. Bless! You’re so lucky. I’m always up first with the larks. Every time I try to have a ‘lie-in’ I still wake up early and get twitchy by about 7am and just gave to get up.

  8. Ahhhhh, Louisa – he sounds like a peach! There are rare cups of tea and bunches of flowers in our house – but creaky doors get fixed, surprise pairs of fingerless gloves arrive (“What are these for?” I thought it might be handy if you wanted to use your phone when you were out in the farm in January.”)…I do have to remind myself – a lot – that it really is the little things that make up the whole. Great post – looking forward to your book! x A

    1. Thanks Annie! Just his little way of telling you you’re going to be working outside in January! Bless him. Done with love.
      I usually have to wait for things around my house to get fixed. You know that meme on FB that says, “Ladies, if a man says he’ll fix something, then he’ll fix it. There’s no need to remind him every six months about it!” That’s what happens at mine. A kitchen cupboard door came off in March. I asked him to fix it and he got it done in September. Oh well, guess he got there in the end!

  9. Your guy sounds pretty darn sweet and that is as important as romantic. I wouldn’t know what to do if my husband suddenly brought me flowers all the time. First off I’d be suspicious. He does enjoy candles though, and to be honest candlelit dinners annoy me a bit because, well, I can’t see the food well enough. LOL.
    I don’t often write heroes who bring flowers either, hmm.

    I think my husband is more romantic than I am, so what am I doing writing this genre???

    1. Lol, Lynne! Sometimes I wonder that, too! But I guess there are just some things that call to us and I just adore hearing about people overcoming obstacles to get their HEA, whether it’s a romantic journey, or a physical battle (has medical written all over it!) or a gruelling challenge where through tears and fears they finally make it to the finish line. Always guaranteed to make me smile. Or happy-cry.

  10. Oh, so true 🙂 those big gestures mean very little if that’s all there is. Better to have those little, daily, thoughtful gestures every time. My husband does the road/pavement thing, and the snotty tissues, he cooks sometimes (and yes, uses every pan!?! But, 4/5times he’ll be the one to load and unload the dishwasher!) Also – and I really love this one – he’ll change every single dirty nappy for the baby when he’s home!

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