Men Reading Romance: Meet John

Hi John, thanks for agreeing to visit on my blog 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 am retired military and am now considered to be disabled (Meniere’s Disease- I have no more equilibrium and ride the tilt-a-whirl about half the time). We live in PANAMA in the jungle, our closest neighbors are Kuna indians about 3 miles away (and yes they live in grass huts, I could write a whole book on them alone). For fun we take our animals, that does include our human kids, to the beach which is about a 35 minute walk on a path thru the jungle. Asia, a 4 year old jaguar (we count her as one of our human children) usually leads the way. Nat’l Geographic was out here last year to do a story about her and walked away scratching their heads saying that a jaguar should not be able to integrate into a human family like Asia has (another book in that one too).

Asia the jaguar

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

I’m attempting to raise 2 teenage daughters by myself and happened upon a book one of them was reading while it was lying on her bed. Being bored stiff (and curious as hell) I picked it up and started reading the first page. An hour later I got busted by my youngest and had to do some serious spin control. It was a Nalini Singh book, one of the psy-changling series. Needless to say Amazon and I got real close. I also figured I’d better know what I was getting into when they were about to start dating (Scaring potential dates became my number 1 hobby, still is when I can). From there I found that I liked the general idea probably because I’ve never felt that way about a woman and chances are I never will, another long story there.

Asia, photo two

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)?

See number 2, also it helps me to understand the wicked wenches of the west, my daughters, a little better in that this is what they’ve been reading for awhile now. Another reason is that after 21 years in the Army in some real nasty places………….well……I’ve seen all that stuff I want to and this genre seems to help balance out those memories. Is there room for improvement, always in everything, and I believe that. If there wasn’t then why write at all?

Photo of Panama City Beach. I could get used to sunsets like this!

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-80%: Nalini Singh, Lora Leigh, You, Christine Feehan, Moira Rogers.

Non-romance-20%: Glen Cook, Louis L’Amour, Tom Clancy, S M Stirling, Nelson DeMille.

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

Not ducking the question here but that’s a non-starter because in the literature world there is no unknown storyline and history always repeats itself, yada, yada………… However, having said that, I would wish that romance writers not stop at the climax of the story so much. It’s the interaction of the main characters while NOT under stress afterwards that gives a better “reflective” ending. Example: Rune and Carling’s interactions for the next few days after the dog arrived. Mainly because I really like those characters and their day to day lives I think would prove to be interesting.

Asia, photo three

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

Is the real you ever in a story or do you ever completely pattern a character after yourself such that to know it would be to know you?

ME: I would have to say that every character I write has to have a sliver of me in them, but I have never completely patterned a character after myself.  I’m not sure that I would make very interesting fictional reading!

Is there anything you would like to add?

Yeah Buddy! When the hell is the next book gonna get here? Christ I’m having withdrawals !!

Oracle’s Moon will have been released by the time this posts—and next up will be the e-novella Natural Evil, published by Samhain on March 20th!  Thanks so much again for the visit, John. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

7 Responses

  1. Viki S. says:

    How freakin’ cool! To live in the jungle with your kids – WOW!
    Asia is beautiful.
    If I could ask John a question it would be – Did it shock you when you realized what your teenage daughter was reading?
    Very nice interview.

  2. Amanda H says:

    I really enjoyed this!!! Thanks John for sharing… and I’m so jealous of Asia! She’s gorgeous! Most of the Military guys I know read romance… I was surprised a few years ago when I started adopting Soldiers that one thing they requested to be sent was romance books… but even better… now that they are home… they still enjoy reading romance book! Awesome Blog Thea!!!

  3. John says:

    To Vicki S.
    Not really, I’ve tried to teach them to read and listen to everything and then make they’re own decisions. So no I wasn’t surprised. I forget to put in the article about our big bad jaguar being terrified of chickens. When she was a baby she got crossways with a hen and came running in the house with a head full of knots. Nowdays one of the Kuna’s chickens show up and she goes right up on the roof and growls until it’s in the frying pan or out of the area. Strange cat.

  4. mary hay says:

    John, I really enjoyed seeing you “little” cat, and hearing about you and your daughters lives in the jungle.

  5. Phyllis says:

    You are some kind of amazing John! Bringing up daughters on your own, along with Asia (I love cats of all sizes) and other ‘kids’, in the middle of the jungle! Sounds like my kind of heaven..I would love to know the why of your choice to live there. Thank you for your interview.

  6. Jaime says:

    John, I really hope you’ll write your own books. I want to know all about raising Asia, being neighbors with the Kuna, bringing up daughters in the rain forest, battling Meniere’s…you have a treasure trove of stories waiting to be told, and probably a lot of wisdom to impart. Also, I love that you read romance and are brave enough to admit it! 😉

  7. John says:

    Phyllis and Jaime. We moved out to the sticks because both of the wicked wenches of the west got tired of carrying around bail money ’cause the cops usually thought I was drunk or stoned even when I had a card from a prominent physician explaining my situation. Actually we moved because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and both were able to recognize it for what it was. It’s not all fun and games though. Seirra has the all-time Southern Panamanian screeching record. A love lorn iguanna had made a nest between her legs and when she woke up and looked down… well it wasn’t a pretty picture. Funny as hell though, until she flung the poor lizard at Savannah. I was impressed ’cause those babies are not lightweights. That one ended up being a two-whistle brawl (meaning I had to whistle twice to get their attention away from doing bodily harm). Of course it somehow ended up being all my fault and I spent the day in the doghouse. Just another day in paradise.