Guest Blog by Robin Kaye, author of Call Me Wild
I’m Jessica James but everyone calls me Jessie and I don’t believe in love. I sound like I belong at a twelve-step meeting, don’t I?
Now, before you start booing me like a bunch of rabid romance fans, let me explain. I’ve never believed in love. Okay, maybe that’s not true. Everyone loves his or her mother—even if you don’t want to, you do. You love your family, your dog, your cat, and your best friends. But what I’m talking about is romantic love. I never believed in that.
I think romantic love is fiction, which is one reason romance novels are so darned popular. It’s my theory that what people mistake for romantic love is nothing more than lust.
In my research I’ve discovered that romantic love typically lasts from eighteen months to two years, and by that time it takes a powder, the couple is already in a relationship, and there’s no real reason to leave. Their lives are entwined and it’s not as if they dislike the other person, it’s just that the thrill is gone. So they go on, not unhappy exactly—or so it seems to me. It’s kind of like when you have no place to go and your lounging around the house in your pajamas, then you look at the clock and it’s already two in the afternoon and you’re comfortable in your fuzzy slippers and oversized T-shirt and threadbare sleep pants, so why bother changing?
When the lust fades, if there’s something more to the relationship than just lust, such as some kind of commonality, the relationship can last for years or forever. You’re not in love; you’re more like roommates until one of the parties involved falls in lust with someone else.
So now you’re probably wondering why I brought this up in the first place. I was happily living my life in New York, working at my dream job—I was a sports reporter for the Times, when I had the AstroTurf pulled out from under me and I lost my job.
My best friend Andrew was on the phone with me when I found my electronic pink slip. He dared me to sublet my apartment, move to Boise, Idaho, and live in his vacation home rent-free while I wrote the book I’d been talking about ever since our freshman year at Columbia.
I always thought I’d write literary fiction, but then reality set in and frankly, I needed to make a quick buck. That’s when I decided I’d write a romance. After all, everyone knows writing romance is the easiest way to get published. I was professional writer, how hard could it be? After all, romances are formulaic—or so I heard, not that I’d ever read one. Call me a snob, but I always thought being caught reading a romance automatically made people think your IQ dropped by at least ten points. Still, in order to find out what the formula was for a romance, I had to read some. I went right out and bought a dozen romances, packed up my belongings, and drove my beloved Mini-Cooper from Manhattan to Boise, bound and determined to write a romance and get it published within the next three months. I just never knew I’d learn a whole lot more in Boise than I bargained for.