The Unusual Suspects
My name is Maggie and I’m an addict.
Reading is my drug of choice. I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. My dad used to go to the Salvation Army and come home loaded down with ancient musty cast-offs: adventures illustrated by N.C. Wyeth and Arthur Rackham, the Bobbsey Twins out of order, and Judy Bolton books (Judy was a lesser Nancy Drew but I liked her so much better). I was the geeky little girl who always finished first in the library’s summer reading program. And there was a “candy store” around the corner from my house, with an old-fashioned soda fountain, greeting cards, comic books (before they were called graphic novels) and hardcover books for 59 cents. I bought Black Beauty and Little Women there and cried. I discovered Mad Magazine there and laughed, once I got over the shock.
Okay, enough of the Wonder Years.
I read a lot, mostly historical romances, but I’m pretty open. For a while I was an awful snot and wouldn’t read bestsellers. I’m over that. I want to see what captures the cash and interest of the reading public. I am often disappointed.
I’m also a blogaholic. Besides reading the delightful and diverting women to the left, I visit several other sites almost daily. There’s always a new twist on an old truth under discussion that makes me think.
One constant theme: favorite “usual suspects” in a romance novel. You know, the rake and the bluestocking, the billionaire boss and Betty Sue. Every hero is supposed to be rich and handsome, every heroine a virgin. If she’s been married before, she’s a psychological virgin if not a physical one. We all assume there are unwritten rules that must be obeyed. “They” want a certain type of book, be they editors or readers. But I’ve read some compelling fiction that bends these rules, with unconventional heroes and heroines.
It takes all kinds.
There’s a lid for every pot.
Whatever floats your boat.
Whatever gets you through the night, ’salright.
I watched the movie Casanova recently. How delightful it was when Francesca’s mother stopped in her tracks when she saw the porcine pork king of Genoa. Played with fearless insouciance and a disregard for his dignity by Oliver Platt, he made a most unlikely hero, but it was liberating love at first sight for both of them. And Heath Ledger as Casanova was pretty cute, too.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, when everyone deserves their happy ending, what distinctive characters would you like to see/write/recommend? Are you looking for a heavy heroine whose honey happily hugs every inch? A vixen who is not vilified for her lack of virtue? An author who avoids alliteration at all costs?
I’m thinking experienced woman, younger man, like the characters in Jennifer Crusie’s Anyone But You. They don’t call me Mrs. Robinson for nothing.