>The other day, very early in the morning, I found myself watching a movie on Encore–Valley of the Dolls, based on the ’60s bestseller by Jacqueline Susann. No one could ever call Susann a romance novelist with a straight face, but she certainly did write about about relationships. Her characters’ relationships were closer to reality than the classic romance formula, in which the heroine hates the hero for most of the book, then falls madly in love with him at the end. In Valley, Anne Welles falls for marriage-shy Lyon Burke from the start, and they have an on-again-off-again affair throughout the book. At the end, however, she does not rush into Lyon’s arms. He realizes he’s been an ass and seeks her out, finding her at her family home in New England. When he tells her he loves her, she responds by telling him that there was a time that was all she wanted to hear. But Anne has come to realize that this past history is an indicator that a marriage between them would never work.
She sends him packing, and he deserves it. It took him too long to make up his mind about her, about them.
Early in my career, I fiercely resisted the “romance writer” label (except for my Silhouette romances, and even they weren’t formulaic). I didn’t have a problem writing about love, about relationships–in fact, I don’t believe any novel can work without it. My problem was in the type of romances I was expected to write. In Dance of the Gods, for example, I had to delete a reference to Meredith padding barefoot across the room. She couldn’t like Barry Manilow. She had to be a feminist. I’ve already mentioned in other posts all the projects that were rejected because they weren’t “glamorous.”
Love isn’t about expensive jewels, five-star restaurants or jetting to exotic locales. That’s just grandstanding. It’s not Scarlett and Rhett (though it could be Scarlett and James–but then, that’s a personal bias).
I’ve loved writing the love stories of Connor and Lynne in Chasing the Wind, who found each other against all odds and endured a supernatural war; Alex and Robyn in An Army of Angels, her insistence that they belonged together overcoming his doubts–theirs was a love that transcended death itself; Jamie and Kate in Final Hours, willing to die together rather than be apart; and Gabriel and Chloe in Same Time, Tomorrow, meeting on the internet and discovering they’re soul mates….
My favorite romances are mostly from movies: Jack and Joan in Romancing the Stone, Harry and Sally in When Harry Met Sally, Edward and Vivian in Pretty Woman, Indy and Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ian and Samantha in If Only, Noah and Allie in The Notebook.
Who are your favorite lovers in books or film? I’d love to know!