I’ve been writing nonfiction for years, but I always assumed that I’d start writing fiction at some point. I wrote my first “novel” when I was thirteen, wrote another “novel” in college, and then another still when I was in my early twenties. I let one or two people see them, realized as I was doing so how embarrassed I was by the work, and then made them disappear. These are not in a trunk anywhere. They will never show up, ever. I’ve wiped the sentences from my mind so I can never inflict them on anyone. Still, I’d been thinking even then about the kind of novel I wanted to write and it always came down to the same thing: I wanted to write a love story.
It seems that some people think it’s odd that a guy would aspire to write this kind of fiction. My publisher even told me that my being male gave my work a “distinctive hook.” I find this mystifying. Since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated by romance. It always seemed vitally important to me. I mean, if you had a great romance in your life, how much more did you really need? Okay, some really good pizza (thin crust, of course, preferably a sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes). The Yankees winning the World Series at least once every five years. Maybe a music collection filled with everything from Miles Davis to the Decemberists. Beyond that, the great romance took care of most everything else.
I’ve always given a great deal of thought to love. When I was a teenager, I fantasized epic affairs (yes, I also fantasized just about every other kind of interaction with a member of the opposite sex because that’s what boys do). This actually turned out to be somewhat detrimental to my real-world dating life, as I’d built the thing up in my head so much. Pursuing my education and my career were hugely important to me, but I still spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about a relationship I might be in or one I might want to be in.
Therefore, it seemed entirely natural to me that when I finally turned to fiction – for real this time, as opposed to the pages I created and then vaporized in the past – that I would write a love story. In fact, once I started, these stories came to me in a rush. The idea of doing this because it was a “distinctive hook” never crossed my mind. If that hook helps my publisher get my books to readers, great. But when I embarked on my fiction-writing career, I decided to utilize a corollary to the writer’s axiom “write what you know” – write what you think about all the time. For me, that’s love.
Michael Baron is The Story Plant’s Author of the Month. This means we are offering sensational deals on all of his works. You can learn more at our website.