Hi everyone! Welcome to another Tuesday Tantalizer!
Happy Valentine’s Day, as well!
At the end of this post, we’ll draw the winner for the Shades of the Orient giveaway that Stephanie Guerrero graciously offered. Stay tuned for that!
Today, rather than an interview, we have a guest post.
Jean Marie Bauhaus is a dear lady that I met through National Novel Writing Month a couple of years ago. Last summer, she published her first book, Restless Spirits. I reviewed it on my blog not long after it came out, and you can find that review here. It’s my favorite paranormal read of all time (and I’m not a huge fan of paranormal, so that’s saying a lot)!
So, without further ado . . . here’s Jean!
Romance gets a bad rap in the literary world. Romance novels, in particular, tend to get looked down upon as, at best, cotton candy for the mind, and at worst, straight up porn for women. And yet…
And yet I’ve read plenty of romance novels that are neither, that tell a good story, are well-written and well-plotted and emotionally moving.
And yet some of the finest writers I know write romance.
And yet the stories that have done the most to capture the hearts and imaginations of generations of readers, TV viewers and movie-goers are filled with romance.
I don’t write romance novels. But the stories I write usually contain plenty of romance. My writing feels empty and lifeless without that romantic element. I find that, as both a writer and a reader, and for that matter, as a member of the viewing audience, it’s usually not the MacGuffin driving the plot that I’m invested in, or the hero’s destination, but it’s the relationships between the characters; whether it’s the beauty of a deep friendship that tests the bonds of brotherhood and loyalty, a la Sam and Frodo, or the tension between sworn enemies like Batman and the Joker, or romantic tension that blossoms into full-fledged love between two characters who obviously belong together, I can never seem to get enough.
I guess you could say that I was a born ′shipper. ′Shipper, in case you don’t know, is short for ″relationshipper,″ someone who roots for certain characters in a story to get together and stay together. The first couple I remember ′shipping with a passion was Han and Leia… or maybe it was Superman and Lois Lane.
See, I’m part of the generation whose childhood was shaped by the films that did so much to shape our popular culture. I was a wide-eyed five-year-old the first time the Death Star exploded on-screen. I remember sneaking out of bed and creeping out to the living room past my bedtime to watch Christopher Reeve spin the earth backwards to save Margot Kidder the first time they aired Superman on television. A jungle gym on the school playground became an Egyptian tomb where I, playing Marian, had to wait patiently to be rescued by my playmate in his dad’s beat-up Fedora.
What each of those movies had in common, besides spectacular special effects and an epic quality that would change movies forever and spawn the trend of sequels and movie franchises, was that they each had a core romance helping to drive the plot, and it was that romantic element that made me care so much about those characters.
The trend continued as I got older. Over the years, fictional couples that have set my little ′shipper heart all a-flutter, sometimes to the point of obsessiveness, include Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe; Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester; Erik and Christine Daae; Lois and Clark (the Teri Hatcher/Dean Cain incarnations); Mulder and Scully; Jon Chricton and Aryn Sun; Buffy and Spike; Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy; Sansa Stark and Sandor Clegane; and, most recently, the Doctor and River Song.
Not all of these romances had happy endings. Some ended quite tragically, or frustratingly never came to resolution. But the messiness of these relationships, the longing, the transformative nature of the love some of these characters felt regardless of whether it was requited… that made me love these characters, and love their stories, and long for more.
That’s a lesson I try to bring to my own writing, and it’s why you’re not very likely to read a story of mine, be it horror or contemporary fantasy or paranormal suspense, that doesn’t have at least one romantic pairing that’s essential to the plot. Just as romance is part of what makes life worth living, it’s also part of what makes a story worth telling.
Jean Marie Bauhaus is living out her happily requited real-life romance with her husband, Matt, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her paranormal fantasy novel, Restless Spirits, is definitely not short on romance. You can follow her adventures in writing, publishing and hopelessly ′shipping fictional characters at her blog, Marzipan Pie Plate Bingo
Now, on to the new giveaway!
I will be gifting a Kindle edition of Restless Spirits to a lucky reader! Please click the book for the giveaway, and I hope you enjoy!
And last, but certainly not least . . .
The winner of last week’s giveaway for a paperback copy of “Shades of the Orient” is . . .
Fred, please email me at rebekah (dot) loper (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address. Congratulations!