Is it the big gestures or something else that really gets your heart racing in the romance department? I'm very much in agreement with fellow author, Carolyn Miller, who is sharing some fun experiences her husband blessed her with ... which has in turn helped her create more romantic characters. See what you think.
When my now-husband and I first started dating I was impressed by his romantic gestures. I still remember when he first asked me out that he quoted Shakespeare to me (Henry V’s speech to Katharine – I know you want to know!), something which stunned and impressed this high school English teacher. (I’m someone who struggles to remember the names of her characters in her current work-in-progess, let alone swathes of Shakespeare!) I remember being impressed by the moonlit walks on the beach, the flowers, the jewellery, all of the sweetnesses.
Now, twenty-five years of marriage, four kids, and lots of adventures later, I’m still a huge fan of those gestures most would deem romantic, but now I have a deeper appreciation of other things. Like when he takes care of cooking dinner without complaining. (Hey, he’s a better cook than me) Like when he wants to spend time with me, even if it means doing stuff that mightn’t be his favorite thing to do.
For example, a number of years ago he agreed to travel to the opposite side of the world to visit Prince Edward Island with me so this redheaded Anne of Green Gables fan could finally pay homage. Then he backed it up with a visit to the glory that is Muskoka, Ontario, where LM Montgomery had set The Blue Castle (one of my fave books ever) and which has now proved the setting for half a dozen books. I gotta say it takes a man very secure in his masculinity to visit such museums! I appreciate when he notices what’s going on in my world, and does what he can to support, encourage and make things better. To me, that’s real love.
And that’s something I try to include in my books. I want my heroes to do more than the grand romantic gestures. I want them to notice the details, like when Mike pays attention to Bree in The Breakup Project and prioritizes her needs and wants. Like when Matt notices Toni in Muskoka Hearts and helps her with her son. Like when Nicholas pays attention to Lavinia in The Elusive Miss Ellison and follows her advice in what to read in the Bible. To me, these actions and attitudes feel relatable and real (and doable!) and help contribute to realistic fiction.
I don’t like it when love is portrayed as just feelings or words. Maybe this is something a romance writer shouldn’t admit, but we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day. My husband has always thought it fairly commercialized, an opportunity for people to hike up prices and exploit those looking to make the grand gesture on the 14th February. I totally get his point, but – full disclosure - I’m also totally okay with going out to a nice restaurant, or getting chocolates or flowers on that day. And hey, I tend to make sure my fictional heroes know to spoil their heroines on Valentine’s Day, like Matt does for Toni in my recent release Muskoka Hearts.
But I also know that words are cheap, and feelings pass. Chocolates get eaten and flowers fade. Gifts are great, don’t get me wrong. But the thing that really touches me and that I LOVE to see in books is when love is portrayed by actions, that demonstrates the aspects of love from 1 Corinthians 13 that’s read at so many wedding services. Love that’s patient, kind, faithful, not envious or holding a record of wrongs. That’s the kind of hero I like to read about, so that’s the kind of hero I like to write. My kind of hero, like my husband, who pays attention to the little things. To me, that’s real life romance.
Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer and LM Montgomery, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her contemporary romance series includes the Original Six hockey romance series, and the Independence Islands series, and her historical series include the Regency Brides and Regency Wallflowers series.
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Toni Wakefield may be a talented artist, but past choices means this single mother never feels the equal of those around her—especially her brother’s best friend, investment funds manager Matt. Matt long ago fell in love with his best friend’s younger sister, and try as he might, he just can’t fall out of it. And between his crazy working hours and the fact she's now settled two hours away in beautiful Muskoka it seems they never have any time together. How can he persuade her to consider to give him a chance, when she’s sworn the only man she can care about is her baby boy?
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This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.