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Real Romance Paperback – June 25, 2012
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From the Author
I'd written several short pieces, but was at the point where I badly wanted to publish a full-length novel. Unfortunately, the novel I'd written (a gritty thriller based somewhat on my experiences contracting with the US State Department) wasn't getting much traction. After doing some research, I learned romance as a genre dominated the popular fiction market. I thought about this, then began my strategic plan. Wasn't I a die-hard romantic, after all?
While I'd read lots of love stories, I'd never consumed them with such gusto as I did after starting my quest. I joined Romance Writers of America and investigated which publishers were seeking manuscripts and what their guidelines were. When I learned the Kensington Precious Gems line was acquiring new writers, I went out and bought as many of those novels as I could find. Then I set about creating a matrix, looking for commonalities in plotting, pacing, sensuality and tone.
In the midst of all this, I had an idea! It hit me incidentally, and my daughter still takes credit for inspiring my new life's path. She needed eyeglasses at a young age, and I took her to an optician who was... I'm sorry, I'm going to say it... drop-dead gorgeous! Suddenly, the creative fiction wheels started turning. When it came to holiday novels, very few seemed focused on Thanksgiving. Wouldn't it be fun to set a story then, and include a heroine from a meddling big family like the one I'd grown up in? Before I knew it, the first ten pages of a story had formed in my brain. I set fingers to keyboard and typed them up. Then, I was unsure of what to do next.
Could I really invest in writing a whole book in a genre I'd never written before? Maybe, I should... um... test the waters first? So I did what nobody recommends and I'd dissuade any other aspiring writer from trying... I queried a New York City editor with a synopsis and those glorious first ten pages. Kensington's stated response time to partials was several months, so I was stunned to receive a reply just ten days later. "I'd like to see the rest of the book, if there is a rest of the book."
Holy cow, she'd nailed me! Or, had she? Hmm. I thought this out. How much time would a reasonable writer take to "polish" an already completed work, turn it around and ship it off? I decided I needed to get her the full manuscript in ten days. (I reasoned "ten" had worked for me thus far; why muck it up?) If I Fed-exed the package that would buy me time. I locked myself in my office with a stern warning to the kids: Only interrupt Mommy if there is blood or fire. Then, I was off to the races.
I didn't sleep or eat much, but to my credit I did feed my family. Just don't ask them about the burned frozen pizza or the pasta Alfredo where I forgot to add noodles. What's this, Mom? Soup? The night I dumped a hot cocoa pack in the Rice-a-Roni was probably my crowning achievement, but we all lived through it and survived to tell the tale.
On day seven, I finished the book. For forty-eight hours I furiously edited. The story was everything I thought it probably shouldn't be. An almost-parody of the romance genre and all the silly things that typically go wrong and right. But hey, it had character(s)! I liked it! And, by gosh, by golly, I got that package sent out by overnight mail on day nine!
I was elated! So happy I'd actually done it. I'd written a short contemporary romance novel all the way to end. If I never heard from that editor again, I knew I'd be all right. I was on my way, and primed to write another story where a happily ever after was guaranteed. My first effort may not have been perfect, but in its own unique way I found it charming. Yes! I'd done it! I'd experienced a first! And what a memorable first it turned out to be.
Just five weeks later the telephone rang. It was January second, the first business day of the New Year. In our house we have a rule about not answering calls during mealtime, so we let the answering machine get it. I nearly choked on my burger when I heard, "Hi, this is Hilary Sares calling from Kensington..." At my family's urging, I sprang from my chair and rushed to the phone. I was her first buy of the year and she absolutely loved it. She'd never read a heroine needing eyeglasses before, and the book was cute and funny - would need very little changing. It was almost like it had been crafted just for that line!
When we finished talking, I raced past my family in the dining room and bee-lined for the front door. Throwing it open, I let out a wallop that echoed back at me from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes! Yes, yes, yippee! Yeah, baby! My dreams had come true. I was on my way to becoming a New-York-published author, and I had my daughter to thank for it - for getting her first pair of eyeglasses.
Have I written a novel in ten days since? Not on your life. Though some drafts come more quickly than others, my process is now more like two to six months. But I'll never forget that romance first and the way it made me feel. Like what we're meant to do is bound to catch up with us. And that true joy is possible. I still float thinking of the moment when I realized my transition had come.
REAL ROMANCE went on to sell into a second printing and get translated into several languages. I received foreign copies of the novel from Denmark, Norway and Brazil that sit on my bookshelf today. Now, through the wonder of e-books, I'm able to offer this sampling of Ginny Baird fiction to a new segment of readers.
Bon appetite and happy Thanksgiving! May your holiday be filled with many firsts, the kind that make you laugh and sigh. And most importantly, those that help you remember that love is truly at the center of all things.
From the Back Cover
Shy bookstore manager Marie McCloud spends each night between the covers with a hot guy... The hunky hero from one of her romance novels, that is. Having been cheated on, disparaged then ditched, Marie turns to pure fiction to soothe her aching heart. What she doesn't count on is finding real romance where she least expects it.
Ladies' man David Lake is always up for a physical challenge. An intellectual one? He's not so sure. But when David meets pretty Marie, he's ready to leap through some hoops to get the brainy brunette's attention. With a little bit of research and a whole lot of reading, David prepares to sweep Marie off her feet -- for the romance of a lifetime.
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Top customer reviews
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The two take an instant liking to each other, but each thinks the other is involved, which results in misinterpretations and mixed signals.
Characters were sweet and the story was nice and simple, even though the ending was a little too convenient and cliché. Really, the bulk of the story was about them fantasizing about each other. I mean, how could they dream of a future together when they hardly even knew each other?
A story bound by the world of books and fantastic fiction.
“Fiction is supposed to be about feeling better, about forgetting.” (LOC 1090)
This tale of a wistful book store manager and lusty optical shop worker works on several levels. Marie wants romance ... real, lusty, breath-taking romance. David wants Marie. The plot has been explained by other reviewers, so I won't go into any further details. I'll just say, have a good time reading this book. Be prepared for a few steamy scenes (loved them!), a very handsome and sexy H and a beautiful and somewhat shy h (well, she's been burned twice, and you know what they say about that!). The subordinate characters (Joanne, Caroline, and Marie's extended family) are well drawn and believable.
The romance was a bit of a whirlwind, but who's to say that that can't happen? When it's right, it's right ... and this book is right.
1) The story jumped around too fast. One moment they're mad, the next they're fine, the next there's some misunderstanding, the next they make up, etc. it just continues like that and I didn't see how anything got resolved.
2) There was no real reason why the characters fell in love besides physical attraction. And I don't even understand why David would have been attracted to Marie, since he's suppose to be a big player and she seemed like the shy bookworm. The author didn't describe what would have made her so appealing. It just sounded like David thought it would be fun to seduce the nerd and see how wild she could be. But then somehow falls in love with her, which didn't make sense since she just freaked out at him and called him a liar. But then she falls in love with him too after she was convinced he was a no good liar.
3) I couldn't believe that the characters were in their 30s. Their reactions seemed more like people in their 20s. (I can let this go a bit because maybe I just have a certain perception of what people in their 30s should be like).
So ya, I finished the story but it dragged on and I couldn't wait to just get to the end to see what happens so I could stop reading.