Saturday, January 15, 2011

Let Me Count the Ways....

The other day, very early in the morning, I found myself watching a movie on Encore--Valley of the Dolls, based on the '60s bestseller by Jacqueline Susann. No one could ever call Susann a romance novelist with a straight face, but she certainly did write about about relationships. Her characters' relationships were closer to reality than the classic romance formula, in which the heroine hates the hero for most of the book, then falls madly in love with him at the end. In Valley, Anne Welles falls for marriage-shy Lyon Burke from the start, and they have an on-again-off-again affair throughout the book. At the end, however, she does not rush into Lyon's arms. He realizes he's been an ass and seeks her out, finding her at her family home in New England. When he tells her he loves her, she responds by telling him that there was a time that was all she wanted to hear. But Anne has come to realize that this past history is an indicator that a marriage between them would never work.

She sends him packing, and he deserves it. It took him too long to make up his mind about her, about them.

Early in my career, I fiercely resisted the "romance writer" label (except for my Silhouette romances, and even they weren't formulaic). I didn't have a problem writing about love, about relationships--in fact, I don't believe any novel can work without it. My problem was in the type of romances I was expected to write. In Dance of the Gods, for example, I had to delete a reference to Meredith padding barefoot across the room. She couldn't like Barry Manilow. She had to be a feminist. I've already mentioned in other posts all the projects that were rejected because they weren't "glamorous."

Love isn't about expensive jewels, five-star restaurants or jetting to exotic locales. That's just grandstanding. It's not Scarlett and Rhett (though it could be Scarlett and James--but then, that's a personal bias).

I've loved writing the love stories of Connor and Lynne in Chasing the Wind, who found each other against all odds and endured a supernatural war; Alex and Robyn in An Army of Angels, her insistence that they belonged together overcoming his doubts--theirs was a love that transcended death itself; Jamie and Kate in Final Hours, willing to die together rather than be apart; and Gabriel and Chloe in Same Time, Tomorrow, meeting on the internet and discovering they're soul mates....

My favorite romances are mostly from movies: Jack and Joan in Romancing the Stone, Harry and Sally in When Harry Met Sally, Edward  and Vivian in Pretty Woman, Indy and Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ian and Samantha in If Only, Noah and Allie in The Notebook.

Who are your favorite lovers in books or film? I'd love to know!


  1. I love When Harry Met Sally, but I also love Wuthering Heights and the current debatable phenomenon of which I will forgo mentioning the name.

  2. Ok, I can't help it...I've got to say it...don't give me any flack over it either...

    Bella and Edward from Twilight...

    Please don't hold it against me...LOL

  3. Do you know what's going to happen to you two when William sees your posts?

  4. I love those films you listed too. Awesome real feeling love. Romancing the Stone is prolly my all time fave. But I love Tristan and Isolde just as much, and who could not love Harry and Sally??? Friends for years before realizing their perfect for each other.... that's true love!

    I sure hope to read a few of your books some day, Norma... I need to take a year off from writing and just read!

  5. *sees the first two comments, shakes his head in dismay...*

    Not that!

    Let's see, my picks would be...

    Jesse and Celine from Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset
    Harry and Sally from When Harry Met Sally
    Edward and Vivian from Pretty Woman
    Ike and Maggie from Runaway Bride
    Tristan and Yvaine from Stardust
    Rick and Ilsa from Casablanca
    Indy and Marian from Raiders
    David and Susan from Bringing Up Baby
    Roger and Eve from North By Northwest
    Alex and Kate from The Lake House

  6. There's one couple I forgot to mention: Queen Clarice and her security chief Joseph from The Princess Diaries. It took those two so long to get together that when they did marry near the end of the second movie, even the bishop who preformed the wedding declared "FINALLY!"

  7. When you have a chance, I have a little something for you at my place.

  8. I love Jean Auel's characters when it comes to couples, but I agree, every book should have love, romance, ah...
    I awarded you with a Sylish Blogger Award because it's so flipping awesome. Congrats and pick it up at my blog.


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