Good morning! Today's guest is fellow Mundania Press author, Resa Nelson. Ms Nelson’s first novel (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) was Recommended for the Nebula Award and was a Finalist for the EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Her newest novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt and leans toward the mystery/thriller genre. She has been selling short fiction professionally since 1988 and is a longtime member of Science Fiction Writers of America. She is also the TV/Movie columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine and is a regular contributor to SCI FI magazine.
When I was in my 20s my definition of romance was shaped by what I’d seen in movies and on TV. Romance was hating a man at first sight only to fall in love with him later. It was catching a man and manipulating him until he fell in love with you. It was even more romantic if he had major character flaws, because the woman’s duty was to show him the error of his ways and mold him into a better man. At the same time, romance meant expecting flowers, cards, candy, and jewelry from a man.
Unfortunately, my expectations led me into a marriage that didn’t work for me and the realization that what I truly wanted had nothing to do with what my mother’s generation wanted. I firmly believe that each individual is the only person qualified to make his or her own decisions and that what’s perfectly right for one person may be perfectly wrong for another. I also believe that while my definition of romance from my 20s might work for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone and certainly not for me.
My new definition of romance bubbles up from my changed understanding of love. I used to think “love” was nothing more than the emotion associated with attraction. A woman might love a man because of his paycheck or his hairline or his waistline. Or she might love him for his sense of humor or intellect or kindness. No matter what the reason, I believed love was simply a feeling.
However, I now believe love is action. For example, suppose you’re in severe physical pain, have been ordered to stay in bed for a week, and your doctor has prescribed a painkiller. You ask your spouse to pick up your prescription from the local pharmacy. Your spouse says, “Of course. I love you so much, I’ll do anything.” Then your spouse pauses and says, “But I have a job interview in half an hour. I’ll come back as soon as I can.” You’re in physical agony for hours. Finally, your spouse breezes in with your prescription in hand and an armful of roses, saying, “Sorry it took so long, but my interview was delayed because the guy interviewing me got stuck in traffic. But the good news is that I got the job and my new boss took me out to lunch! I felt bad for making you wait, so I got you roses to make up for it. I knew you’d understand because I love you so much and you’d be so happy for me. You’re so wonderful!”
As far as I’m concerned, love isn’t putting your own needs first when someone else needs immediate help. In this example, real love would mean calling to reschedule the interview and getting the prescription filled immediately. Love isn’t making excuses or saying “I love you.” Love is taking the action to help or support someone else.
If a man gives me flowers or candy or a gift, I take it with a grain of salt. My idea of romance is a man who calls when he says he’s going to call. A man who does what he says he’s going to do. In other words, my idea of romance is a man whose actions match his words – a man of character. That’s what makes me swoon.
Although I don’t write romance novels, a romantic relationship is the glue that holds each of my novels together. Because of my own views about what is and isn’t romantic, my characters tend to already be in a romantic relationship when the novel begins, and then that relationship is tested. In my first novel (The Dragonslayer’s Sword) the main character meets her sweetheart in childhood. But when the book jumps ahead to her adult life, we learn they’ve had a serious argument and he’s inexplicably gone missing. In my second novel (Our Lady of the Absolute) I wanted to do something different. My main character is a woman who has a good marriage but no children. Being childless makes her feel like an outcast. Her dilemma is whether to accept her disappointment and hold onto her good and loving husband or to get divorced with the hope of finding a new husband and getting pregnant. Does she value marriage above children or children above marriage? This is the kind of question and character that fascinate me.
Ironically, despite my feelings about romance and love – or maybe because of them – I’m a huge fan of romantic comedies. I still have a soft spot for the classic Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies, but I especially admire more recent films like The Proposal and Just Like Heaven. At the end of the day, I’m all for romance and love as long as female characters keep their wits about them and understand their own value.
Visit Resa’s website at http://www.resanelson.com
Contact Resa at ContactResa@aol.com
Resa’s novels are available on Amazon at the following links:
Our Lady of the Absolute:
The Dragonslayer’s Sword:
About Our Lady of the Absolute
At first glance, Meres’ life seems perfect. She has a loving and devoted husband. A caring community. A “glamour” job as the only civilian allowed to work inside the temple of Isis, Our Lady of the Absolute. But there’s one thing Meres doesn’t have: a child. And being childless is enough to make any woman feel worthless in the White Walled City, the royal city of the Black Land, a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt.
When Meres learns her beloved sister-in-law Pu is pregnant with a foreigner’s child, everything changes. As a member of the Pharaoh’s harem, Pu is bound by law to be faithful to him, but she’s unintentionally broken that law and committed treason, a crime punishable by death. As a loyal citizen, Meres is bound by law to turn Pu over to the authorities. But how can Meres do that to someone who didn’t mean to do anything wrong – especially someone she loves?
Suddenly, the life Meres cherishes turns into a nightmare. Torn between love and envy, family and country, duty and faith, Meres risks rejecting the hard and fast rules of her religion in order to help the people she loves. She plunges into a dangerous journey that will lead her to uncover the truth about herself, her life, and the realization that nothing is absolute.
Thanks, Resa, for visiting us today. As always, you've given our readers something to think about.
Just a head's up to my readers...I'm participating with Lynda Hilburn's Halloween Giveaway. Lynda is giving away a Kindle e-reader to one lucky person who answers all the questions from participating authors. Check it out here