Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Welcome to GuyWorld - Anne Gracie

I recently went to a movie with a bunch of girlfriends, some of whom I hadn't seen in forever. After the movie we went back to someone's place for drinks and sat talking movies and books and TV and life.

I discovered that three or four of us regularly watch an English TV show called Top Gear. It's about cars, more or less. English and European cars, mostly. We were chatting enthusiastically about favorite segments and half the group stared at us as if we'd suddenly morphed into aliens.

The conversation went like this:

"I'd never watch that show -- it's all about cars. I have no interest in cars."
"Me too. My husband and son never miss it so I use the time to catch up on housework."
Three women said, more or less simultaneously -- "We don't watch it for the cars." "Oh, so these three guys are really hot, right?"
"No, they're not hot at all."
"Huh? So why?"

We explained. A big part of the fascination of the program for women lies in the glimpse we get into guy-world. It's really all about boys and their toys and the way they're so competitive with each other - about the fastest, the most powerful, the best. They don't hold back, either.

And the interaction between the guys is funny and entertaining. They're always coming up with crazy (and often dangerous) challenges. One time one of the guys raced the other two from a town in England to a Swiss village -- one driving his car flat out, night and day, the others going by planes, trains and buses. The car won by a nose.

The discussion got me thinking. Last year, after a lifetime of avoiding vampire books (apart from the Bram Stoker original) I glommed the J.R. Ward vampire books. I didn't just glom, I read the first book and I started the second book that same night, then got up in the morning and finished it. Then I jumped in the car and raced to my bookshop to get books #3 and #4 of the series before the shop closed for the weekend. It's been a while since that happened to me.

And it occurred to me that a big part of the appeal for me of J.R. Ward's vampire world is the glimpse we get of the close community of guys and the way they interact. She's not the only author who does this well. Often a series is linked by a group of guys related in some way: by blood, or by experience. For instance in my new series the heroes are all guys who've been to war together, which makes for powerful bonds.

So what do you think is the appeal of peeking into guy-world? And what books or authors do you think do it really well?



Gigi said...

Hi Anne,
I enjoying Top Gear on the BBC too. the guys arn't that good looking but the young one is cute. They just have such a good time playing with their toys or one of their crazy projects.

I am a BIG fan of many of the BBD shows. Saturday night is Torchwood and Graham Norton. Gordon Ramsay is fantasic in Kitchen Nightmares. Robin Hood and Hotel Babylon two thumbs way up. I don't know what it is the Brits do but they do it
so well.

Michelle said...

Anne, I love Top Gear too. I fell in love with a car last year (yes, yes, a car) and not long after discovered Top Gear. It is so much FUN. The guys make me laugh because they are so competitive, but also so enthusiastic.

My favourite laugh-out-loud, get-me-into-a-guy's-world writer is Nick Hornby. I'd read parts of "About a Boy" out loud to anyone who would listen. You're right Gigi, the Brits do it so well.

Michelle Douglas

Marg said...

Another Top Gear fan here too. The show has me laughing out loud in a way that not many comedy shows do!

Anne Gracie said...

Gigi, Michelle and Marg -- I'm so pleased to find some Top Gear fans, too.
The secret to the Brit shows in my opinion is that they let people be their own eccentric selves, instead of having script writer sculpt them into "characters." These shows aren't scripted -- they find genuine eccentrics and let them have their head. Makes the shows risky and that's a huge part of their appeal.

Have you seen the show with their home made limousines? That one really cracked me up -- they each built their own limousines -- Jeremy's was longer than a bus -- you should have seen him trying to negotiate London's narrow streets! And they used the limos to transport celebrities to some big awards ceremony. The celebrities were soooo not impressed. LOL

Gigi said...

Yes, I saw the show on the homemade limos. Some of the celebrities they picked up wern't happy about it. I seem to remember one of the guys limo breaking apart. I loved the show on the Mustang. I love the new Mustangs.

You know I think this Blogger thing doesn't like me.
It never wantd to take my password I have to use the darn sign up here thingy top make it work.

Karen H in NC said...

Just checking in to say I've never seen the program. I don't have access to BBC on my cable line-up. It's there but on HiDef (which I don't have...*pout*). All I can add to the conversation is that I have Torchwood in my Netflix queue to be delivered soon but there is a long wait for 1st disc...*sigh*...

Annie, I love your books. I have several on my TBR shelves, but I have read 'Gallant Waif' and 'An Honorable Thief' and loved them both. Look forward to reading more of your work.

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Anne,

Me again with a question about that cover for 'His Captive Lady' I see in your blog. Is that your next book in the Devil Riders series? Hope so,,,the cover is great.

Michelle said...

I loved the limousines, Anne and Gigi, but my favourite was the car boats.

Really like your take on why The Brits do it so well, Anne. Has given me much food for thought... but, in a way, it's what writers do to, isn't it? Eccentrics are always so much more fun to read about.

Michelle Douglas

Anne Gracie said...

Karen H in NC, yes, that is my new cover for book #2 in the Devil Riders series -- Harry's story. My editor sent me the cover the same day I did my blog, so I was pretty excited and had to share. Lovely, isn't it? It's more plum-colored in real life, but still v. pretty.

And I'm really impressed you've read my early Harlequins -- Gallant Waif was my first book, so it has a special place in my heart. Thanks so much for keeping it.:)

Anne Gracie said...

Michelle, yes the boat cars were fabulous.
But I think what I loved so much about the limo cars was that the guys were so thrilled with their cars and the celebrities so verrrry unthrilled LOL.
I would have been rolling around the limo with laughter, but they got grumpier and grumpier. I suppose they thought they'd be going to the show in a really expensive sports limo or something...

Anne Gracie said...

Michelle, I think it's also to do with the kind of shows the BBC and public television put on -- they don't have to please sponsors or worry about offending people or interest groups, and they don't try to curry favor.
I love it when one of the Top Gear guys say "This car is absolute rubbish!" or whatever -- about some fabulous gleaming car that costs as much as a house. It's exactly how people talk - but not usually on TV.

Maureen said...

I never heard of Top Gear but will see if we get it. I think Nora Roberts does guys well because her guys have characteristics that remind me of the men in my life. My son is a teenager and listening to him and his friends is fascinating in some ways because they look at things so differently than my daughter and her friends did.

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Don't know about guyworld but I love Top Gear. I keep lists of fabulous and pricey cars they've featured for my heroes and look longingly at the DVD collections locally on sale and wonder frequently if I can justify their purchase...

Loved the boat car episode but I also love it when the three of them compete in their own favourite vehicle and seeing how quickly they descend from being men into boys.