I’m a guy and I write love stories. As it turns out, not all that many other guys do this. Some romance writers with female names are actually men (I’m sure Jerry Springer has found a tawdry way to spin this at some point). Some men include great love stories in novels about other things (thank you, Pat Conroy). But remarkably few men make the love story the central element in their fiction. This seems terribly wrong to me, as though guys have made some universal agreement to maintain a laughable stereotype. Boys think about cars, sports, and sex (not necessarily in that order) and girls think about romance. Really?
When I discovered, well after I’d completed my first novel, The Forever Year, that I was something of an anomaly in the fiction world, I decided to think about what sent me on this mostly uncharted course. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had imprinted romantic love very strongly at an early age. Twice, actually.
The first came from my parents. My parents had an intensely romantic marriage. Not Technicolor epic romance. And not embarrass-you-in-front-of-your-friends romance. But a very real and very deep romance that made it abundantly clear that they lived for one another, that they always thought of one another first, and that they were soulmates long before anyone started using that term. My father was the only man my mother ever dated. My mother was the only woman my father ever loved (he actually dated a little before they got together; in fact, family legend has it that his first crush was on my mother’s older sister). When my father died, they’d been married for sixty-three years (in case you’re wondering, they had me relatively late in life after four other children). Their relationship was very gratifying to watch, even when I was a little kid. And it clearly had a huge impact on me.
As did my sister’s marriage. Thirteen years older than me, she met her husband when I was nine, and they married the next year. This was the first time I got to see head-over-heels in action. My sister went from moderately intense to giddy in an eye-blink – and then managed to stay that way. I spent a great deal of time in their home in my formative years, including an entire summer when she was pregnant with her first child, and they were almost supernaturally romantic. When my sister opened her first email account – decades into her marriage – she chose her wedding date for her address. I think that really says it all.
None of this was on my mind as I developed the story for The Forever Year. But as I think about it now, I realize that I probably wouldn’t have cared this much about love if I didn’t have these two huge imprints when I was a kid. Since very few other guys choose to write what I write, I guess my experience was far more unusual than I ever realized.
Lou Aronica is the New York Times bestselling author of ten novels (all published by The Story Plant) and more than a dozen nonfiction books. The e-book versions of his novels Leaves and Everything or Nothing are available for the special price of $2.99 for the entire month of October 2017.
SPECIAL REQUEST/OFFER TO FRIENDS OF THE STORY PLANT. Episode 2 of our ridiculously exciting audio drama HYBRID is now live on iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hybrid/id1279813466?mt=2 Early listeners are loving it, and we think you might love it, too. Now here's the request/offer: listen to the first two episodes and leave a review on iTunes. Then email me at email@example.com to let me know that you've done so, and I'll send you the digital edition of the national bestselling novel by Brian O'Grady upon which the show was based. Thanks, and enjoy! ...
Klaus Reisch reaches out to a local pastor to learn more about Amanda Flynn. Meanwhile, Amanda returns to Colorado Springs against the strong urging of her father-in-law. And at the CDC, Dr. Nathan Martin gets a visitor who is going to send his life in a startling new directoin.
We're very excited to announce that the first episode our latest audio drama, HYBRID, has just gone live. I wrote the script based on the novel by Brian O'Grady, the show is performed by more than a dozen actors, and it has a full range of sound effects and a dramatic score (written by yours truly). You can get it for free from Apple Podcasts at itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hybrid/id1279813466?mt=2.
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Very exciting news: "Episode 0" (streaming-speak for "trailer") of our new audio drama based on Brian O'Grady's national bestseller HYBRID is live. Please give it a listen and let us know what you think: