Men Reading Romance: Meet Drew

Hi Drew, I’m so glad you got in touch and participated in my survey!  Tell me a little about yourself in a few sentences.  What do you do for a living, and other than reading, what do you do for fun?

I am an accountant / IT / marketing / webmaster for a small non-profit in Durham, NC.  I have a wife and 3 children, two of whom have handicaps.  Other than reading I enjoy singing and acting in local theater groups.

Drew as Judas in Godspell

How and when did you pick up your first romance? Was it in a sub genre (as in paranormal, thriller, contemporary etc)?

Back about 10 years ago my wife and I were looking for a way to connect about more than the current disaster of the day.  I suggested reading a book together, and Carole thought that was a great idea.  However, I was (and still am) a huge Sci-Fi/Fantasy fan, and my wife was a dedicated Romance reader.  We compromised and agreed that we would read one of “her” books, then one of “mine”.  Carole picked first, and she selected Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts.  It wasn’t bad; plucky heroine, engaging writing, I could read this.  Over the years I’ve become hooked, and now there are enough genre-crossing books that we can satisfy both our loves.  We currently reading through Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series.

Why does reading romance “click” for you?  Conversely, do you find room for improvement in the genre in general (or any sub genre in specific)?

I really like a story with a happy ending.  When I’m reading for recreation I don’t want a downer. I want a story that even if the protagonist has some rough moments I know it will come out all right in the end.  I’ll even admit that I’ve learned some things that have improved my marriage. (For example, an unnatural love of shoes that takes up all of the floor space in the closet is not unique to Carole.)

I would say the few “category” romance (if that’s the right word, the small Harlequin books) I’ve read really didn’t do anything for me.  Most of them seem to be My Fair Lady rewrites with cardboard cut-out characters.

Who are your favorite romance authors?  Non-romance authors?  Can you give a percentage (just a rough off-the-top-of-your-head guess) about how much you read of each?

Romance Top 5:  Nora Roberts / J. D. Robb, Julia Quinn, Katie MacAlister, Jeaniene Frost, Amanda Quick / Jayne Castle / Jayne Ann Krentz

Non-Romance:  David Weber, Eric Flint, Robert Heinlein, Robert Jordan, W. E. B. Griffin

I would say I am reading 65% – 70% romance at this point.

If you could make a wish-list of a story you would like to read but haven’t yet, what would it be?

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Rahab at the fall of Jericho in the Bible.  Later it is recounted that she is Jesus Great-Great….Grandmother.  I’d love to read a story of that romance.  A lot of tension (political and personal), conflict, but it comes out beautifully in the end.  I think it would make a great story.

Since I’m approaching this as a conversation, would you like to ask me something in return?

When you are writing, how “perfect” does your world-building have to be before you can write.  Do you have to totally understand completely how your world works before you can write the story?  If there’s a conflict with the plot, do you change your concept of your world to fit the narrative or change the narrative to fit your world?

ME: Creating the Elder Races and writing within the universe is like one long improvisational jazz session.  If I waited until I understood completely how my world works, I wouldn’t be able to meet what has been a rather hectic schedule of deadlines.  I world-build until I have “enough” then I start writing.  Or I write and world build along the way, as I did for Dragon Bound.  There’s always some combination of world building and writing at the same time, and both things influence each other.  Somehow, so far, it has worked for me.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I have really enjoyed your Elder Races series.  I’ll be reading Oracle’s Moon this time next week.

How wonderful; thank you for telling me, and thank you for taking the time to visit on my blog today!

2 Responses

  1. Viki S. says:

    What a wonderful way to connect. My hubs is thinking of retiring REAL soon and it scares me since I’m used to being on my own. This may be a great thing for us to try. Thank you for the idea and the interview.

  2. Teressa says:

    Hello Drew! Thank you for sharing your pov on romances. My dad occasionally reads romance books, though he doesn’t actively seek them out. He’s more the person that will read anything. And I gotta tell you, sometimes it’s pretty awkward when I think about him reading a romance knowing I’ve read the same thing…

    I do have two authors to recommend to you and your wife since you both seem to love Thea’s books. Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh both write in the Paranorma/urban fantasy genre and both have excellent books with strong characters and detailed plots.

    Thea, thank you for providing a guest with a unique view on the romance industry. Both my sister and I highly enjoy your books 🙂