By Julie Particka
In romance novels, we talk all the time about insta-love as if it never happens in the real world. (It does, it’s just rare.) But no one ever mentions insta-lust. Why? Because we know that happens and it happens a lot. It’s probably even happened to you or someone you know.
It’s one reason I like writing (and reading) romances that are sex-driven. That whole “can’t get enough of you” feeling encompasses falling in love for me. And I’ll be honest, the sadist in me likes to then take a hammer to those rose-colored glasses and force my characters to look deeper than just the sex because that’s where most real-life cases of insta-lust fall apart.
If you take the sex out of the equation, what’s left? In our modern hook-up culture, it’s often found that there wasn’t much there to start with.
But this is romance, and romance is, in my opinion, largely about how two people make it work, even if the real world says they shouldn’t. That’s the fantasy even more than the firefighter or the pro-athlete or the billionaire or the actor. It’s two people choosing to fight all the odds stacked against them to make it work, to talk things out, to step up and say the “I’m sorry” that can save everything.
How does that work when the romance is based on insta-lust? By making sure there are other things drawing the characters together. Anything from filling a void they’ve had all their lives to simply being the one person in all the world where they can be themselves to shared goals and dreams.
I mean, I can’t speak for anyone else, but the last time I fell in insta-lust and had to take a good hard look at whether there was anything else there, I found things (even though we didn’t work out). Chemistry out the wazoo. A shared love of creating things and working with our hands. A fascination with steampunk. The ability to talk to each other about anything. An almost obsessive desire to make our kids happy. (Both of us were divorced.) And okay, a love for Fireball whiskey, but I really didn’t factor that in.
Other people saw all of that but also saw the reasons it wouldn’t work. The difference is, in fiction, we can make it work. People communicate in romance, at least by the end, even if not before. They make the extra effort. They strive to understand their partner.
That’s the thing that keeps me coming back. It’s not the happily-ever-after so much as it is the belief that people will work for it if the love is there, with or without the sex.
I have this sign in my kitchen. My kids bought it for me one year because they thought it was the funniest sign in the world for an author. Little did they know…
One of the hardest things for a lot of authors is writing that first page. It sets the tone for the rest of the book. And the moment I that sign entered my life, I knew I had to start a book with someone eating a salad.
Of course, before the first page is done, the main character calls the waiter over and says, “I need a vodka tonic. Hold the tonic.” Why? Not because I believe the sign to be true, but because the character would totally believe the sign to be true. And that was something I immediately loved about her.
I’ve long been a proponent of the idea that growing older doesn’t have to mean growing up.
Playing the Perfect Boyfriend
by Julie Particka
She’s faking it…but he’s playing for keeps.
Wild child Jade Easler has never met a dick she didn’t like, but there’s only been one she thought about keeping. And now he’s back in town…right after she’s slept with charming Hollywood up-and-comer, Dean Hartley. The fastest way to get her ex’s attention? Show up on the arm of a sexy younger man. She just hopes Dean is up for the task of fake boyfriend…
When he hooked up with his beautifully curvy photographer, Dean thought he’d only get the one night she promised. But when she needs help convincing a former flame she’s ready to settle down, who is he to argue? He’ll get to show her—in as many ways as possible—that giving up crazy, hot sex for a stale, predictable life isn’t what she wants. And prove that what she needs is him.