Hi David, thanks for coming to visit today! 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’m an Air Force brat who has lived all over the south. My father retired to Texas in the late 70s and I’ve lived in Texas ever since. I now live in Austin and work for a public library. When I’m not reading I enjoy live music, seeing traveling Broadway shows, and especially love watching movies. I have a vast DVD collection.
How and when did you pick up your first romance? Was it in a sub genre (as in paranormal, thriller, contemporary etc)?
I picked up my first romance as a young teen. My mother read romances and I’d often sneak peeks at those. I didn’t truly read an entire romance novel until my wife and I got married and, for our honeymoon, we were given a copy of “Nerd in Shining Armor” by Vicki Lewis Thompson. Somehow the giver felt it an appropriate choice. They were right. “Nerd” is hard to categorize as it’s contemporary, humorous, and action packed. Every night after we’d get in bed I’d read a bit of the book to my wife.
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)?
Romance “clicks” for me because it’s such a broad genre. Cruise the aisle of your local bookstore and you’ll find such a variety of books in the romance section that there’s something there for everyone. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, historic time periods, time travel, superheroes, chefs, nerds, all these and so many other subjects can be found in the romance section. I do find that there’s room for improvement in the genre but not in the writing. As with any genre of book there will be authors you like and those you don’t. No, where romance can improve is in promoting itself better. How often does a romance book get reviewed by the New York Times? How often do I hear, especially working for a library, “oh, I don’t read those kinds of books” when I recommend a romance novel? I’ve not looked up the numbers but I suspect more romance novels are sold than any other genre yet they are still seen by some as sub-par books.
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?
I have so many favorite romance authors that I’ll try to give you the short list. Vicki Lewis Thompson will of course always hold a special place in my heart for getting me started in this genre. Other romance authors who I will buy every book they ever write are Jennifer Estep, Candace Havens, Jaye Wells, Ann Aguirre, Dakota Cassidy, and Louisa Edwards. I’m always reading and usually reading 5-6 books at a time though not all in the romance genre. Some of my favorites outside of the genre are Ed McBain, John D MacDonald, A. Lee Martinez, Christopher Moore, Clive Cussler and Carl Hiaasen. I also love graphic novels especially those of Robert Kirkman (Invincible), Mark Waid (Irredeemable), and Alison Bechdel (Fun Home).
If you could make a wish-list of a story you would like to read but haven’t yet, what would it be?
My wife is visually impaired and I’ve noticed there are very few romance books in which the main character has a disability such as being blind or deaf. The challenges this could present to a burgeoning relationship would, to me, make for a good romance novel.
Since I’m approaching this as a conversation, would you like to ask me something in return?
What do you see as the biggest challenge to writing today? Do you think there’s a way to attract more male readers to the romance genre?
ME: There are a ton of writers out in the wild but the biggest challenge, I think, is actually making a living on what you write. The world of publishing is a strange and difficult beast. And I think the way to attract more male readers to the romance genre is to attract and promote male writers of the genre. There are a lot of barriers to this that would need to be broken down, but I do believe it would be possible to do. Perhaps some day.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Thank YOU for taking the time to answer the questions! I enjoyed reading your answers.