Read Around the Rainbow is a blogging project featuring yours truly, A.L. Lester, Ofelia Gränd, Holly Day, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Addison Albright, Fiona Glass, Lilian Francis, and Ellie Thomas. Every month, we pick a topic and then we blog about it. Check the other blog posts by clicking the RAtR widget in the sidebar, or the links at the bottom of this post.
The first RAtR topic for 2023 is how to romance a romance writer.
I was the one who came up with this topic; I thought it was fitting because we’re about to enter the month of love (aka February), and also because I’m curious about what other romance writers find romantic. The response I got to my topic suggestion was interesting, because more than one of my fellow RatR writers said that they’re not romantic at all, so they weren’t even sure they’d be able to write something on the topic (I’m not naming names, but you might be able to figure it out when you read the other people’s posts 😁).
I found it intriguing and puzzling that someone can write a romance story, but not consider themselves romantic. That got me thinking. Maybe it depends on how we define the word romance? Or what we perceive as romantic?
So I spent a long time thinking about what I find romantic, and I came to the conclusion that it’s about paying attention. My husband and I have been together for decades; he knows me really well by now, and he’s great at paying attention to my likes and dislikes, so when he does something thoughtful for me, I often feel romanced off my feet. I’m not talking about roses and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates on Valentine’s day, or grand gestures like proposing in front of a crowd. No, I’m someone who’s romanced by the little things.
Like him listening to me grumbling about the uselessness of my tea strainer and watching me spit out tiny pieces of leaves that the stupid thing allowed to float out into my tea, and deciding to do something about it. So he searched the internet until he found the best tea strainer in the history of tea strainers that doesn’t let the tiniest particle escape into my mug. I was ready to swoon after I tried it the first time.
It’s things like him bringing me a glass of sparkling water every night when we go to bed, or paying attention to my work load when I work in the home office, and if he notices my stress levels rising, he’ll come into my office and cheer me up with a kiss or some kind of pastry for an impromptu fika break (because every Swede feels better after fika!). It’s him gifting me his fancy, expensive noise cancellation headphones so I don’t have to listen to the chatter on the train on the days I’m working at the office. Or finding a second-hand copy of an out-of-print vinyl record by one of my favorite artists that I’ve been wanting for ages, and buying it for me.
He pays attention. He makes me feel seen and appreciated and cared for. And to me, that’s the most romantic thing in the world.
And isn’t that something we all want? Isn’t that why the characters in second-chances romance stories remember each other’s coffee orders when they meet again after not having seen each other for ten years? Because we, as authors, want to make the readers swoon when the characters pay attention to each other, when they see each other and remember the little things.
Anyone can buy me a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day, but only someone who knows me really well would buy me the world’s greatest tea strainer.
Don’t forget to check out my fellow RatR authors to see how to best romance them.