…that’s certainly true in the case of romance readers and their heroes. I wouldn’t fancy going on a walking holiday with Heathcliff, but his towering presence has kept Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights at the top of reading lists for generations. Real life can be equally surprising. My career as a night-owl and party animal came to a heart-stopping halt the moment I was introduced to my next-door-neighbour’s strong, silent brother. The guys I’d been dating up until then had all been loud, proud – and shallow. One blind date with Mr Wonderful, and I was hooked. My other half is the Alpha male to top them all. He’s a man who doesn’t need to advertise, or make a fuss. He just is. We couldn’t be more dissimilar, but luckily the differences in our characters fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Contrasts are certainly exciting to write. I live in the folds of the English countryside. While my heart will always be there, I love writing about busy places such as Florence or Venice. There’s such a buzz around cities, and exotic locations almost guarantee good weather. Mind you, there is a downpour in my latest book, Her Ruthless Italian Boss. It happens in Venice. You might think that city has plenty of water already, but the weather is reflecting English heroine Beth’s unhappiness at the strange change in hero Luca’s attitude toward her. Beth has grown up in a culture where the definition of summer is ‘two fine days and a thunderstorm’.
At least Italian rain can be warm!
* ‘Ah, the cry of the truly desperate!’ can anyone remember in which American sitcom a not very helpful marriage counsellor (played by Englishman John Cleese) said this to a pair of his hopelessly mismatched clients? That line still makes me laugh!