Thursday, November 19, 2009

Deep Down I'm a Hopeless Romantic

I can't write a story without a little romance. There I said it. Even though I write for the middle grade, every single one of my novels has some sort of love story.

My main characters are eleven-years-old, so their romances are pretty tame (hands brushing, eye-contact, TALKING to each other--that sort of stuff). But when the project is all done that's the stuff I like best.

When I was a kid I only liked to read books that had some romantic element, although I hated, and still dislike, stories that took the romance to gag-inducing levels (i.e. "I love you so much I'd die without you" sort of stuff).

In high school and college I suppressed my romantic inclinations. I'd never been "in love" so I kind of doubted that the whole "in love" thing existed. I figured if I ever got married I'd just marry someone who was a good friend and we'd be happy enough.

Then, my junior year in college, I met my husband. We were good friends for a few months. Then one night he invited me to go to an Italian poetry reading. I agreed, because hey, who doesn't like Italian poetry? Plus there would be food (free food is always a good thing in college).

I couldn't understand very much Italian--I'd only taken one semester. My husband spoke fluently (he'd lived in Italy for a few years). Most of the participants read poems from books, but he'd written his own.

He looked right at me as he recited it. After a few lines people looked over their shoulders at me and chuckled. I had no idea what he was saying. The only things I'd gleaned from my semester of Italian were food and clothing vocabulary and easy verbs, but I knew it was about me. When he was done he blushed and that was one of the many moments that made me think I could fall in love with him.

He didn't tell me what it said in English until we officially started dating a few weeks later. It was a love poem, and though he's no writer, it was very sweet.

Today is his 29th birthday and I have to say I am even more in love with him today than I was when I married him seven years ago.

So now that you've had a look at my sappy, sappy self, tell me this: Is there a love story in your novel? Can any book be complete without a little romance?

41 comments:

Lisa and Laura said...

Oh, I love this! Such a sweet story! You have to work this into one of your books somehow.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

natalie, that is so sweet!! Thanks for sharing. And Happy Birthday to your hubby!!

Is there romance in my stories. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I write Christian romances. And no, to me, a novel isn't worth reading if there isn't a little romance, love interest in it. Romance and love keeps this earth populated does it not. It's such a huge part of civilization, every story much at least touch on it.

melane said...

My WIP is a YA dystopian, but I am incorporating a romance as a subplot. I'm a sucker for romance in any book. It makes you fall in love with the characters more:)

Jade said...

That's so romantic! I'm a total sucker for romance and it plays a big role in my stories but not in an over-stated way (at least I hope not). I'm more into a bit of conflict/tortured love and I don't really like happily ever afters (in stories).

My husband engineered the most romantic proposal in France despite the fact that I'd been a total brat that day. Although I'm pretty sure he'll never write me any Italian poetry...oh well.

Stephanie Thornton said...

What a wonderful story! I'll be honest here- if there's not at least a little romance in a book it usually won't hold my interest. That was one of the best parts writing my book, although it was one of the hardest too. I just wanted everything to be perfect.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Oh, sigh...

I'm getting all mushy just imagining someone reciting Italian love poems to me. I think I need to use that in a book. LOL

I write romances, so needless to say, I love romance. :)

Happy Birthday to your hubby! He's a keeper!

Sarah Skilton said...

Lovely story about you and your husband :)

I agree that a certain amount of romance is key to a great read. I also have a soft spot for love/hate sparks and I can't resist including that in most of what I write.

Paul said...

Great story. My MC is a love straved misfit who really wants a girl-friend.

Anissa said...

I agree 100%. Without a little romance, even if it's only a hint, a book just doesn't feel complete.

Thanks for sharing your sweet story. :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

My husband wrote me a poem when we met! But it was in English and he must have been nervous because I was an "angle" instead of an "angel." Awesome story. I am a sap for romance in novels, and they can end in different ways, but I NEED THAT TENSION. Lovely post.

Jemi Fraser said...

For me, reading/writing is about people. People are about relationships. So, yes, there is always a bit, or a lot, of romance in my books. It's fun :)

Aubrie said...

I find it hard to read a book that has no romance! Your writing sounds just right!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Romance is my favorite thing to write. My YA has a major romance thread and my second novel is a straight-up romance. It's also what I prefer to read. I'm a total sap, lol.

Really sweet of your hubby, btw. :)

Anita Saxena said...

Awww...YOUR love story is PRECIOUS. Your husband sounds like a real sweetie. And I agree with you- every story needs a bit of luv, even if its just hand holding, touching of cheeks, and loaded stares.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Your husband is so brave and sweet. Great story. I think every woman would love to read that in a character, and you have him in real life!
I write romance into my YA stories. Not overbearing but it must be there.

CKHB said...

Awww! Thank you for sharing your own story! My novel does not have a romance, per se, but it definitely leaves open some romantic possibilities... 'cause it's more fun that way. :-)

Renee Collins said...

Aww, what a sweet story!

I'm a huge sucker for romance. I was totally melodramatic in High School. As far as marriage was concerned, I decided that I would settle for nothing less than earth moving, heart wrenching passion.

Patti said...

I love romantic stories. I didn't have one in mine at first because I thought they were hard to write, but I have one now and have big plans for it.

Tabitha Bird said...

There is love hidden in most things. Even if it is a little twisted. So no, I don't think there could be a good novel without even a hint of romance. But I could be wrong ;)

Sweet post!

Susan R. Mills said...

What a sweet story. And yes, my novels all have a love element in them. It's part of life, right?

Julie said...

Great story! I wish I had something sweet like that to tell. :)
To me, writing(and reading)is not worth it if there isn't some kind of romance going on. It's the most fun to write and read, in my opinion.

L. W. said...

Hi Natalie. I clicked on your blog via another blog and loved this story. I'm a sucker for romance and have been ever since I was a kid rooting for Laura Ingalls and her Manley and Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe.

Bethany Mattingly said...

Aw, what a lovely story. So much fun to read :)

Thomas Taylor said...

Cute story.

my first novel (MG) had no romance in it at all, only a lot of love for lost parents and homes. I've since come to realise that this is a small part of why it wasn't taken up, that and the fact there there were no significant female characters whatsoever. I won't make that mistake again.

My current project (slightly older) therefore has some rather chaste infatuation going on, of a nearly-but-not-quite nature.

Happy birthday, Mr Bahm!

Marybeth Poppins said...

I think I'm in love with your husband too! LOL

I loves me a good love story. I've always been a hopeless romantic. I fell in love for the first time when I was 16 and it was amazing. So I completely get the young love thing.

My book is about 13-15 yr olds so it's pretty tame as well. There might even be a kiss on the cheek (GASP) in the end. But it's more just awkward moments and lots of blushing.

I hope your husband has a wonderful birthday!!!

Jill Kemerer said...

My books are all about the romance! Your husband sounds like a gem--happy birthday to him.

Have a great weekend!

Jody Hedlund said...

What a beautiful love story, Natalie! Sounds right out of a book! And yes, I love reading AND writing stories with beautiful satisfying love too!

Tom Bailey said...

That is great that you can still say such nice things and that you have a romantic start you keep alive.

Great story and thanks for sharing.

T. Anne said...

Me too! I cannot read or write a book without a love story. Not sure what that says about me but i'll take it whatever it is ;)

L. T. Host said...

I can't help it. I put a little in everything I write, too. You're not alone!

And... I'm not alone. It's a good feeling.

Marie Devers said...

I am someone who goes back to books and reads "the good parts" -- you know, the parts that are so honest and romantic that sometimes you just have to close the book and smile and scream into your pillow a little bit.

If it was up to me my book would be ALL good parts.

And just so you know--your Italian poetry story is one of the "good parts" of your blog. I loves it.

Mary said...

Very sweet story. I'm a romantic as well, but most people wouldn't think so.

kathrynjankowski said...

So sweet! I love all things Italian. Buon Compleanno per tu marito! (Hope I got that right.)

My book has a romance that is somewhat buried while the heroine pursues her quest, but they do get together when she returns.

Amy Tate said...

What a beautiful story! You should submit that somewhere. How romantic! There is a hint of romance in mine, but like you I write middle grade so it's hand brushing and blushing. That's the best sort, isn't it?

Voidwalker said...

Writing romance is a bit of a conundrum to me. I have no skill in that realm. I guess I need to sit down a read a few romance novels before I'll be able to write about love. Honestly, as a guy, I can’t seem to focus in on the love, more than the lust. When I’ve tried in the past, I felt like I was beginning to write into erotica. So, I gave up on it and decided to challenge myself with that genre later.

staceyjwarner said...

If there is not a love story as a main or subplot? I'm not interested!

my stuff is always about love even when it isn't...

much love

Georgina said...

What a lovely story....ahhh. Thanks for sharing! To me this is what true romance is, not "I'll love you forever and ever and ever because you are flawless and blah, blah, blah". Real romance happens in the everyday stuff of life. Congrats on 7 years! - G

Heather Sunseri said...

What a sweet, sweet romance story you have there of your very own! I agree with you. I have trouble reading and writing without at least a little romance. I love it!

Terri Tiffany said...

What a romantic story! And when I read 28 I thought oh how young you both are! I always add a dash of romance to each of my books. I LOVE romance in life.

Erica said...

Awww, that is so sweet! I'm not a romantic at all in real life, but I do love to write it, and yes every book I write will have it as a storyline.

It's my favorite part of books I read too. I love action don't get me wrong, but there's nothing like that butterfly feeling when you read some good words :)

It makes me uncomfortable in real life, I wasn't hugged enough as a kid... LOL nah, I have no idea why :O)

Suzyhayze said...

NOTHING works without romance. Not even the dark stuff :0