The Secret Life of the Romance Writer (Guest Post by Betsy Anne)
The Secret Life of the Romance Writer
by Betsy Anne
December 13, 2015Being a longtime fan of romance novels, I always assumed the writer lived a glamorous life. I began reading Jackie Collins over my mother’s shoulder when I was young, and could only imagine how intriguing her life must be. The picture of her, adorned with jewels and fur, on the back cover of the book just confirmed to me the fact that she was, indeed, the protagonist in her books. Flash forward thirty-five years or so, to me in my office, slumped over my laptop with a full cup of cold coffee. Stray gray hairs, because I haven’t had time to go to the salon, trying to escape the messy knot on the top of my head. The cat is scratching my leg to be fed, and the damn phone won’t stop ringing.
Um, wait. Where’s the pool boy and the champagne? I feel swindled.
My husband, Henry, on the other hand, is loving it. He’s a former football player with two Ivy League degrees, who’d much rather curl up to a good book about the Civil War than read a romance novel. After I wrote my first book, I made him wait to read it until it was completely finished. I really didn’t think he would get the nuances involved in the relationships of the characters. Boy, was I wrong. He loved it. We’ve been married almost twenty-five years, and I know when the man is lying, he wasn’t. I think he was surprised by how much he loved it. I had a true convert on my hands. That being said, he has become my greatest sales force.
He travels a lot for business, and I can tell when he’s had a long business dinner because my book sales get a spike, aka the “Henry Effect”. He’s a passionate person, and when he talks people listen. While it’s great for book sales, it’s also had a strange side-effect/benefit. After his colleagues read my books, he’s noticed that they look at him a little…differently. I know what they’re thinking. Was he the model for the male character in the book? Granted, they do share certain qualities, but no, he’s not the love interest. The men give him the, “lucky dog”, slap-on-the-back. I can honestly say that while I have a tremendous imagination, there’s no way I would attempt half of what my characters do. He, of course, eats it up. There are certain perks to being the spouse of a romance writer, and he’s discovered one of the best. The world thinks you’re a superhero.
But, I digress. I’m thankful I don’t live a Jackie Collins book lifestyle; I could never keep up. I’m happy to sit in my office and type away while my hubby builds me up. Let others think we live the glamorous life; I know the truth. I’ll bet even Jackie Collins had to take a break to clean up cat puke every once and a while.
I always knew I would become a writer. It was a path I could see down the road, and knew I would take, but never sprinted toward. Instead, I enjoyed the long, winding trail that led me here. The greatest tales come from life well-lived and paying close attention to the world unfolding around you.
Growing up in Texas offered an abundance of rich characters all around me. My grandfather, born in the 1800’s, owned one of the first cotton gins in central Texas. My father left the farm to become an airline pilot and showed me and my sisters that the world does, in fact, extend beyond the Texas border. I appreciate the importance of deep roots, but also know how critical it is to see the world as much and as often as you can. There are some pretty neat people out there.
My Jersey boy Henry and I love hanging out with our children and extended family, our secondary children (two cats and a dog), traveling, cheering for any sport my beloved Texas Aggies are playing and spending time at our beach house in South Carolina.
Jason and Katie were destined for each other. High school sweethearts, their beautiful love only got stronger with time. They built a perfect life together, complete with loving children, professional success, and a never ending passion for one another. Can one person destroy it all? Katie’s erotic dreams foretell an unwelcome intrusion into their world. A sex crazed stalker threatens to harm everything Katie holds dear. Is the madwoman really working alone, or is the love of her life a willing participant in this dangerous game? With her friends by her side, Katie struggles to keep her life from falling apart, and find out just what Jason and his mystery woman are up to.
I stare into the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. I’m mesmerized. I’ve not yet seen him this close. His presence fills my senses; he smells so good, like fresh soap and musk. His hair is still damp from the shower, and it lies on his muscular neck just grazing the top of his jacket. His body is more imposing up close. He’s taller and more muscular than I’ve been able to tell from a distance. He must be at least a foot taller than me. His eyes are wide, and a strange look crosses his face when he registers mine. Why would he look at me like that? He doesn’t even know me! Of course I had noticed him, every girl with a pulse would, but he looks at me like he knows me, and isn’t at all pleased by the intrusion. He sees my dripping shirt, mutters something under his breath and walks away into the crowd.
His friends seem confused as to what made him walk away. They shrug their shoulders, and continue a heated discussion about the game. The guy who had called Colleen over is introducing her to the others in the group. I am cemented to the ground. Too embarrassed to speak due to my wet blouse, and too shaken by what has just transpired. It all happened in a matter of moments, but I’m struck deeply by the event. All I want to do is leave, and I turn and run. I maneuver the crowd like an NFL running back, never looking up. I slow down as soon as I make it out of the front door. I figure I can wait for Colleen outside; I just couldn’t stay in there a minute longer. What is wrong with me? Am I that big of an annoyance that the most popular boy in school can’t stand my presence? I get out of the way just in time as a large group exits their van and heads inside.
The night is getting chilly, and I shiver. I want to find a quiet spot to sit and wait. As I begin to walk around to the side of the house, I notice a figure leaning against the fence. There’s no mistake about who it is. Great. I can’t turn around fast enough. I hope he doesn’t see me. I may as well just head back to Colleen’s house, I’m sure she’ll understand. As I start back in the opposite direction, I feel a large hand on my shoulder. It startles me and I jump.
“I’m sorry, I thought you may need this, it’s getting cold out.”
He’s standing next to me holding up his jacket, and he’s trying to put it over my shoulders.
“Uh, thanks, I’m OK. I was just leaving anyway.”