Why I Write What I Write ~ The Rom-Com Edition

Let’s get it out there: Mari Carr is responsible. Kinda.

Okay, to continue…

Hands up if you’ve read Jennifer Crusie?

When I really started branching out in my strictly-romance reading journey the first non-Harlequin/Mills & Boon/Silhoette romance book I remember reading was by Jennifer Crusie. Getting Rid of Bradley. Who here has read it? I remember being struck by how different it was to my previous romance book diet. The heroes of that diet were brooding, arrogant, millionaires who all owned the company. The heroines were all lowly secretaries/assisstants/blackmailed waitresses waiting to be swept-up by said arrogant, brooding millionaires even as they fought to deny their rising desire. There was tension on every page. There was smoldering looks and heaving breasts on every page. Ultimately, the hero would accuse the heroine of something hideous even as he undressed her, first with his gaze and then his hands, before chokingly admitting he didn’t care because he had to have her, he had to have her now.

Then came Getting Rid of Bradley. Holy moley, was it different.

I don’t remember why I picked Getting Rid of Bradley from the shelf in my local bookstore. I knew a Bradley in the late eighties who was a bit of a git so maybe there was some subconscious prompting going on. Whatever reason, I bought the book, took it home and promptly ignored my partner (who would eventually become my husband a few years later) as I devoured the book from cover to cover. A new diet found.

I love Crusie. I have often stated I’d love to be an Australian Jennifer Crusie. I don’t have the skill or the humour to pull it off, I know but damn, I can wish. Crusie writes funny hilarious romance tales. Her heroes are funny and fallible and at times, doofuses (doofi?). The heroines are cheeky and naughty and quite likely to fall on their faces instead of swan around with sensual grace. Rarely are her heroes or heroines perfect examples of the human species. There’s always a dog and even the dog is far from Crufts material. The situations Crusie places her characters in are at once ridiculous and real. I laugh myself silly every time I read one of her books and eagerly await the next.

So how has Crusie impacted on what I write?

Hands up whose read Copping A Feel?

Copping A Feel came out of nowhere. Or more to the point, Copping A Feel came out of Mari Carr’s utterly misguided invitation to become a part of Ellora’s Cave’s Cougar Challenge series. I say misguided because until that point, I’d never written anything but dark, twisted, disturbing, violent tales. Hell, even Crooked Triangle, my one attempt at writing a contemporary tale, turned into a twisted, dark and unsettling exploration into the sexual BDSM powerplay of a professional couple and an escape prisoner. So what the hell was Mari doing asking me to write for a multi-author contemporary series with some of best authors Ellora’s Cave has? I still don’t know. Honest. But she did. Up until that point I had two releases at Ellora’s Cave: Stone’s Soul, a short story about an ancient Hawaiin warrior trapped by a malevolent, jealous goddess inside a stone, and Timeless Wrath, a book Just Erotic Romance Reviews called “petrifying”. Yeah, I was all about writing something contemporary, wasn’t I? Nevertheless, Mari asked and I said yes (because, as those that know me well have figured out, I really really can’t say no).

I freaked out. Of course, I freaked out to my husband. No one else knew I was banging my head against the wall petrified I was going to fuck up. Me? Write contemporary? Me?? Really?

I bought all the Cougar Challenge books released and read them all. In one night. And then I sat on my bed, hugged my beloved dog and cried. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t. The books were all funny, all scorchingly hot and all wonderfully romantic.  They made me laugh and feel good (which explains the bawling on the bed, yes?). Now here’s the thing…while all this was happening, something else far more malicious was taking place. I was having my identity stolen in real life. I’d messed up an internet transaction (ie, I was an idiot) and a nefarious bunch of cyber criminals had gotten their nefarious mits on all my personal details including my credit card and were doing nefarious things with them. It was bloody terrible.

And then it came to me. Sitting on my bed, hugging my dog as I wondered how Mari ever thought I was capable of writing a contemporary, I thought, what if my heroine had her identity stolen? While she was trying to organise a trip to the US to attend Romanticon?

I climbed from the bed, patted my dog, opened my laptop and started writing. I didn’t think about what I wrote. I didn’t second guess any of the words that came. I rested my feet on my dog’s side and I wrote. And I wrote. And when it was done I sent it to Kelli (my EC editor) and thought, well there goes my writing career.

Kelli emailed me back within a week. She was angry with me. I’d made her laugh so hard she’d hurt herself. And Copping A Feel was released. My funniest book ever.

I don’t think I consciously tried to chanel Jennifer Crusie while I was writing it, but I sure as hell believe I was subconsciously thinking about her. Just like I was subconsciously thinking about the git called Bradley I knew way back in the 80s when I bought my first Jennfier Crusie book.

I bet Mari Carr never knew how my life was going to change because of her, huh? One day I’d like to take Mari and Jennifer out for dinner to say thank you.

Hands up who wants to come along?

13 Responses to “Why I Write What I Write ~ The Rom-Com Edition”

  1. OMG must get this one of yours – I love Jennifer Crusie – the first book of hers I read was Manhunting (even loaned it to my Mum – who also cracked up about it) – but hers are all great – I think the next one I read was Welcome to Temptation (which I had to read twice to really get the humour).

    So if your book is even half as funny I will enjoy it. Will download 2nite.

    • Oh no, Heather…now I’m freaking out! What if you don’t even crack a smile?? Argh!!!!

      And Welcome to Temptation? My fav Jennifer Crusie novel. In fact…I think I shall start reading it again as soon as I finish Zoe Archer’s Warrior (*sigh* Gabriel Huntley *sigh*)

  2. Copping a Feel was the first book I read of yours and I loved it! Until I read this blog, I would never have known that switching genres was so difficult for you. It never showed in the story.

    Now I have to find Jennifer Crusie and read her books too!!!

    Great blog Lexxie!

  3. I made you cry??? I had no idea. Love to say I’m sorry, but I’m not. Copping a Feel and the contemps at Samhain are my ABSOLUTE Lexxie Couper favs. Made me a fan for life. 🙂

    Rubbing hands together. Hmmm…what other genre can I ask Lexxie to write that will drive her batty and make the rest of us poor as we buy them up? Suggestions? Romantic suspense? m/m? Bwahahahahahahahaha!

  4. Jennifer has always been a favorite of mine. My librarian calls me when her books come in and puts them aside for me.

    Copping a Feel was one of the funniest, sexiest, OMG laugh out loud books within the Cougar Challenge. I, like you, had my credit card stolen so it was very timely for me.

    Aren’t, you glad just a little bit that Mari challenged you? LOL!

  5. What a great story! It is so cool to find out how stories came about. Plus that is an awesome title! So glad you decided to write part of the series – it’s a great one!

  6. LOL! LOVE Jenny Crusie, and love that you’re unable to say no to Mari 🙂 And yep, if you’re having dinner with those two, I’d love to tag along (tongue tied, I’m sure, just to be in the presence of you three!)

  7. Wow, that was one of my fave Lexxie books. It started my need to read everything by you. That book was very funny and I still remember the characters, especially the dog 🙂 you can write anything Lexxie 🙂

  8. I hope you keep Mari on track, too. I missed this one, now I have to go get it.

  9. I have never read Jennifer Cruise. I know, I know. What’s up with that? After this post I have to move her up my wish list.

  10. I haven’t read a Jennifer Cruise book either.I’ll have to check her out. Can’t wait to read Copping A Feel

  11. […] Kim Says: September 2, 2011 at 5:29 am e […]

  12. I want to come along 🙂

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