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Monday, March 16, 2009

So You Do What?

I was waiting outside the classroom for Parent-Teacher interview the other night and chatting to waiting parents about new routines at a new school, coping with tired kids, you know the drill. All was going well and then I was introduced by a staff member to another parent as ‘Fiona who writes for Harlequin.’

‘Do you? ‘ The woman’s face lit up with wicked intent. ‘What fun, all that sex?’

I smiled and wished I’d been introduced as ‘ Fiona, mother of…’ because I need lots of energy for these types of conversations. And it was 6pm . And I’d forgotten to have afternoon tea so I was hungry and glucose starved!


I replied thinking about my current book where the couple took a while to get past a first kiss. ‘Actually there isn’t always that much sex in my books.’

The woman looked decidedly disappointed. ‘Oh, doesn’t something have to happen on page 83?’

Again I smiled, stayed calm and went into what my husband calls, ‘educating the masses’ mode! I found myself saying, ‘My stories are relationship driven.’

Her brow furrowed. ‘What does that mean?’

‘It means that just like couples you know, some get it “on” on the first date and for others sometimes it takes them forever. It really depends what they bring to the relationship and what’s happened to them before they meet. ’

‘I think I’d write lots of sex.’ She said still wanting the conversation to be salacious and and very high school.

‘Perhaps you’d prefer to read erotica then rather than romance.’

‘What’s the difference?’

At that point the conversation changed from frivolous which is what this woman wanted it to be, to something more serious which was what I wanted. Have I changed her mind?


Who knows but I left her with something to think about, my business card and the idea of her buying my next book.
Plus I have her email address to send her a newsletter to reinforce that thought :-)


What do you say to people who want to make fun or your reading choices?




Fiona's current release, The Doctor Claims His Bride which got a sexuality rating of Sweet but with some Sex, is out in the UK and available online in Australia now and will be on shelf in April. Visit her at her website for more information and lots of pictures of Australia.

20 comments:

Kara said...

I usually try to avoid this situation by putting book covers on my books - in addition to protecting my books. I was in a recent conversation with my mother and she made the comment that she is really "disappointed" in my reading choices - that there are some really great books out there and I am wasting my time on these romances - said very sarcastically too.

I was stunned - I really didn't know what to say in this situation - so I just told her that my books make me feel good - believe in the Happy Ever After and I see nothing wrong with that. I don't think it did any good though - LOL.

Becky said...

I have never really been in that situation much. I have had a couple friends ask me why I read some of the types of books that I read. I read a variety of books, not just romances. I usually just tell them it isn't always about the content of the book, but that it has a very good plot to it. I figure they read what they want to read and I read what I want to. I normally get harass about why I keep my books from alot of family members and friends. I own over thousand books. Reading is my enjoyment and relaxation.

Helen said...

Thats one of the reasons I love romance so much besides the HEA it is the relationship during the book and the build up to the HEA and all the fun in between.

Have Fun
Helen

Fiona Lowe said...

Kara, I think your reply was great. ...the books make you feel good. When kids are learning to read we make it fun. I want to know what happens between 10 and 15 when reading suddenly has to always be worthy and insightful all of the time. I've read some great books and some shockers. They cross ALL genres

Fiona Lowe said...

Becky,I think you're right...people read what they want to read...I just object when they want to comment on something they don't read but consider themselves an expert. (!!)

Fiona Lowe said...

Helen, are you holding twins in that picture? WHat I love about romances is what each person learns about themselves so they can solve their own problems. Isn't that empowering? I believe it is and I often use that argument when someone is pinning me againt the wall.

Estella said...

I just say "to each his own".

Merrimon said...

I read books in lots of genres, including romance. I think what unites all the kinds of stories I like to read is that I like stories about transformation within people, so romance is a natural choice. I like stories that show goodness or in the case of the darker genres, those that show how good becomes bad.

I don't really care too much what people think of what I read. I spent 10 years studying literature in graduate school and even made honor grades on my Ph.D. exams so if that doesn't give me the option to read whatever I want to read whenever I want to read, well...I just don't care what people think, I guess.

But there is a sort of whimiscal side of me I guess too. Punk music was really cool when I was in college and I got a thrill out of blasting the Partridge family out my window just to be different. The same with books. I was buying books and a husband was making fun of his wife for reading romance. I launched into this very literary discussion about genre theory and defending the genre...and that was even before I started reading romance! It was fun for her and me. :-) Today after reading lots of romance, I could probably do it even better.

Whether it be romance or a literary classic, all good books have something in common ---the use of language to tell a good story. What makes for good romance (plot, characters,etc) makes for a good story in any genre. It is true with literary fiction and it is true with romance.

I just don't see the point of making fun of someone for what they read. It is much more interesting to me to be in the company of anyone talking about what they like to read and why than in the company of those who look down on others for reading something they know nothing about. More interesting to listen and learn about new things is my attitude about books, I guess.

Basically I think that if you have to prove you are cool, you aren't. A good reader brings their heart, mind and soul into whatever they read. Sorry for the rant. I guess your blog hit a nerve because I get sick of book snobbery (whether it was in academia or just buying books). All I can say is if I am ever in that situation again, I think I would take a special delight in "educating" the person who tried to question my reading choices. :-)

Jane said...

If someone made fun of my reading choices, I would say that reading is a great thing regardless of the subject matter.

Pat Cochran said...

Hi, Fiona,

I've never been questioned about what I read. I even have a reply
ready in case anyone ever did, but
darn, no one ever has asked!

Quote: I don't discuss my reading
choices. As I would never ask you
about your choices, I prefer not
to be questioned about mine."

That might be somewhat snippy, but
I feel it's my own business!

Pat Cochran

Fiona Lowe said...

<<<10 years studying literature in graduate school and even made honor grades on my Ph.D. exams >>
Merrimon, your reply would be great! Reading is personal choice and should be for relaxaton and enjoyment

Fiona Lowe said...

Jane and Pat,
I agree reading is personal and our own business but that doesn't stop people from passing judgement which annoys the heck out of me as I would never dain to comment on their choice even if it is something that I really don't like and can't understand what they see in it. The fact they do enjoy it is enough

sheandeen said...

I cover the books I read to protect them--especially when I am camping. Years ago we were camping with a group, one group member saw me changing books in the cover. When he discovered I was reading romances and not doing my devotions he was so disappointed. The rest of us pointed out that I was reading my daily devotional.

When he started giving me a hard time about my reading choices, asked what he was reading. I suggested that just as he read for enjoyment, so did I. He finally agreed it really wasn't so different.

sheandeen said...

I cover the books I read to protect them--especially when I am camping. Years ago we were camping with a group, one group member saw me changing books in the cover. When he discovered I was reading romances and not doing my devotions he was so disappointed. The rest of us pointed out that I was reading my daily devotional.

When he started giving me a hard time about my reading choices, asked what he was reading. I suggested that just as he read for enjoyment, so did I. He finally agreed it really wasn't so different.

Merrimon said...

I would add that talking about why one reads romance to someone who doesn't can be a good thing. A friend of mine who reads only romance really got me interested in reading the romance genre because of how she talked about it --- so I tried it and got hooked. It was a different circumstance but when a person talks about why they like to read certain kinds of books, it can be a good thing and open unexpected doors too.

Helen said...

No Fiona they are not twins although they were born 3 days apart 2 of my daughters gave me a wonderful Chrissy present Corey and Jake are 3 months old now.

I am always proud to say I read romance you authors take me on wonderful adventures to places I may never visit and I thank you for that.

Have Fun
Helen

Fiona Lowe said...

Merrimon, it only works if people are open minded. I have good friends who are not romance readers and have read my book and then with a look of complete surprise have said, "You know I didn't expect to enjoy it but was a good story and I couldn't put it down." But they're embarrassed they liked it and would never buy another romance.

But not to worry! If people are that blinkered that they close themselves to opportunities and adventures in reading then I feel sad for them.

Maureen said...

I don't usually have that problem because it's not a subject that comes up a lot. I read at home mostly, when I have a little bit of time. If someone was rude enough to make comments like that woman you mentioned then I don't think I would respond. I have found that simply pretending someone hasn't said something is the most effective way to fight back.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

lol I had to laugh Fiona, and I'm still laughing. What's the difference between erotica and romance. lol.. and on page 83 lol.

I occasionally get a dvd or watch a movie with my husband and believe me, turning to a romance story is the better choice lately. Most movies are full of blood and guts and vile.

Give me romance anyday. And that HEA is lovely to look forwad to.

I recently watched Nights In Rodanthe. A great romance but with a shocking twist at the end. So very sad. It's worth a watch though.

Suz :)

RachieG said...

I usually say the romances I read can trounce some of the best fiction out there easily. These books are funny, have real life situatinos, can deal with dark emotions or actions, can be funny, and interact directly with people's relationships with others. What more can fiction do? Just because there is usually a happily ever after...AND if I can get them to read a good one, they never say anything negative again! :)