Been on holiday break for almost two weeks, but had to go in to the office last Tuesday to get ready for a board meeting. Exciting stuff, huh? Since I was there, another lady I work with came in to get some stuff done. Inevitably, since neither one of us really wanted to be there, we ended up chatting for awhile.
Recently the writer me has been colliding with the real me. People are finding out about the “hobby” I’ve been doing quietly for years, and my picture is finding its way into the paper. So this lady asked me about my book, and, of course, I told her about it. Her reply? “You don’t look like a romance novelist.”
Huh? What are we supposed to look like? Meryl Streep in She-Devil? Do I not wear enough pink? No furs? Is my black lab a less appropriate choice for a romance writer than, say, a white Pomeranian? And no, I don’t own a single pair of diamond drop earrings. I am obviously no Barbara Cartland, but I never claimed to be.
Over the last several years, I have met a lot of romance writers. All lovely women, mind you, but none of us sit on satin settees surrounded by naked golden cherubs wearing furs and dripping in diamonds. Most of us sit around writing in our sweats or, even better, pajamas. We’re a pretty modest lot, and don’t have big mansions with pool boys who used to be on a soap opera. Not that I’d like to admit it, but we’re more like Roseanne Bar than Meryl in that movie. (Though in real life, I’d like to think I’m more like Meryl. I can’t stand Roseanne.) We’re women (and a few men, believe it or not) who have kids, baby bellies, mortgages, day jobs, and for whom the agent/editor power lunch is a rarity.
Think Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Alone with her cat and completely out of Kleenex. That pretty much sums it up. I’m sorry, am I ruining some impressions out there? Well, maybe Barbara Cartland was the old picture of a romance writer, but this is what a real romance writer in 2009 looks like:
Not too exciting, huh? I’ll work on that. Maybe get a Pomeranian.
Nah. Maybe not.