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Monday, August 27, 2012

Real Men Eat Quiche! By Linda S. Glaz

And real men read romance!

Not so much. 

And the few who write it, hide the fact with maybe the exception of Nicholas Sparks.
Last year at a local conference, I noticed that there were only a handful of male attendees. Maybe 10 or 12. I asked one of the men what he wrote. Answer? Romance. But he said it so quietly I had to ask again as I hadn’t heard him. He looked around, leaned closer, and in the same voice said, “Romance. But I sort of keep that on the down low.”
He told me he would be submitting under a pseudonym and had no intentions of ever revealing that he was the author.
I didn’t bother to ask him if he ate quiche. The guy had courage, just not enough to admit to anyone else that he wrote romance.
Now, one of my favorite romances is James Patterson’s Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas. Great romance! Wonderful romance! How’d he do it?
I’m not sure how women would feel in general about reading romance from a guy, so I’m asking here and now.
Would you chance a read ?
Fellas, would you write it ?   Read it ?
Please fill us in on your honest responses. I’m rather curious…


Jean C. Gordon said...

But I would argue that Nicolas Sparks doesn't write romance. A true romance, as defined by the Romance Writers of America, the largest romance writer organization in the U.S., has an Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

Timothy Fish said...

As Jean alluded to, including Nicolas Sparks as a romance writer includes a much broader category of books. If we include his books, I suppose you could say that I already do write romance. But by the more specific definition, I don’t write romance. Romances are about two people falling into love. In a stretch, we might include them rekindling a dying flame. I write about intentional love and it is not limited to that between a man and woman. My first novel was about a girl trying to find a new mother. My third was based on Hosea. My most recent explored the concept of a woman giving up her “daughter” out of love.

I have read romance novels and have enjoyed some, but they really aren’t my cup of tea.

Linda Glaz said...

I see your point, Jean, but I think, and I could be wrong, I often am, that you are describing "purist" or formulaic romance. Romance that has specific parameters for exactly what must take place. And that is def a strict genre for the writer, but that doesn't exclude other romance that isn't written in the "genre" formula.Anyone who read or saw Patterson's Diary could deny the romance. Who ever would have thought Patterson had a romance in him after all the gruesome things he's written aimed at women? But you are right when defining romance by those limits.

Timothy Fish said...


You started this discussion; how are you defining romance?

Linda Glaz said...

Romance in general? (I'm not talking formula here) would be any "love" story that forces me to grab a tissue, laugh, keep my heart pounding (will they realize they are in love even if it's too late?). Def romance between a man and woman, but not necessarily a happily ever after. I'm not really talking about other "loves" in one's life, but the romantic connection that sometimes results in a relationship, and sometimes merely results in a wonderful memory for the rest of one person's life. Not sure this was a good definition, but it's hard to define outside the formula we're so accustomed to that boy and girl meet, boy and girl face obstacles, boy and girl overcome, boy and girl live happily ever after.

Rick Barry said...

Please don't overlook Dan Walsh, a Christian writer who describes himself as "a full-time author who writes inspirational fiction (often with historical and strong love story threads)." Whether his novels fall into the category of romance or not, this writer colleague does a good job of weaving romantic threads into stories.

(Yes, I can enjoy a good romance, but all the more if it includes a military connection or some other angle to catch "guy interest.")

Timothy Fish said...


I think I get what you’re saying. However, by that definition, I don’t have a desire to write romance. I think it is that whole heart pounding “will they realize they are in love even if it’s too late” thing that ruins it for me. There’s nothing wrong with being “in love.” It is fun when it happens, and if people want to read about it, that’s up to them. But it’s a pretty sorry thing to build a marriage on.

Romance novels seem to put extreme emphasis on the concept of being in love. They often lead us to believe that two people’s lives will be ruined if they don’t discover that they are in love before “it’s too late.” There are big problems with that doctrine. And as a guy who has been in love and is still not married, I can say that having romance go differently than you hope isn’t the end of the world.

Linda Glaz said...

I totally agree with both of you guys. Especially Rick. I, too, like something more substantial in a story than just the romance, but let's face it, romance sells. As to all the rest of the comments, I agree as with you both, but again, IF you are writing for the romance market, then it's necessary to give the reader what they expect for their nickels. Romance. And a more blah romance wouldn't really sell as well. It all comes down to, sadly, what sells. Heart pounding sells. And it's not all that bad in real life whether it lasts, and some does, or not. It's a wonderful, illusive, memory! LOL

Davalyn Spencer said...

Yes, I would read romance written by a man and have. Blameless, by Thom Lemmons (2007) was a surprising find I made at a used-book store. Randy Ingermanson's books have a strong romantic thread though they are not romance novels by any definition. I enjoy the male perspective. Not as many fluttering eyelashes.

Terry Burns said...

I was speaking to a group of romance writers and I opened with "I don't write romance although I do nearly always have a love interest in my books since I know most books are purchased by the ladies even if it's for their hubby." One young lady said what's the difference between a love interest and a romance. Actually a love interest can be removed from a story without ruining it but a romance can't. But that isn't what I told her. I said, "The males in my stories tend to be men of few words and the women carry the relationships." The group laughed and said, "Oh, you write REAL romance."

Peter Leavell said...

I love reading romance. There's a few 'Love Finds You' books that are tops. Character development in romance is so important, compared to others I read. But some romance lends itself to scenes I'd rather not have in my mind, so I chose VERY carefully.

As far as write, my latest book has strong threads of romance. But historical events threaten their love. I enjoy watching love develop despite everything going against it.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

I kid my husband that the Louis LAMOUR books he loves are just romances wrapped up in a cowboy package. There is always a strong romance thread running through those books! I contend that many men enjoy a romantic story (such as The Notebook), but they probably will not be the main ones buying genre romance, like Amish romance.

Timothy Fish said...


I was just about to mention Louis LAMOUR as a male romance writer. That was one of the reasons why I quit reading them. There was too much romance and not enough story for my tastes.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Yes, Timothy, I think its telling that he used the LAMOUR as his pseudonym! I think my hubby prefers Zane Grey, which may be less romanc-y?