07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Where Do Love Scenes Come From?

 (And other probing questions)

There’s a special place in heaven for men who date romance authors.

OK, maybe not heaven if you subscribe to the notion that only well-behaved boys and girls go there (though I doubt men date romance authors expecting piety and good behavior).

One of the most common questions I get as a contemporary romance author is how I research my love scenes. Seems strangely personal, but I suppose when your debut novel includes a humorous discussion of the difference between a hand-job and a foot-job, people figure your personal life is fair game.

A copy editor once questioned whether I was certain the infamous “Strip Battleship” scene in Making Waves was indicative of actual game play.

“Don’t worry,” I assured her. “The scene was thoroughly tested and researched.”

 I think she was sorry she asked.

 My gentleman friend takes personal questions in stride, and generally has a witty response when they’re directed at him. Still, I don’t imagine it’s easy knowing your every move might inspire a new scene.

A few weeks ago, he was playing guitar and singing for me as I snuggled under the sheets and listened with rapt attention. Well, mostly rapt attention. The tiny part of my brain that wasn’t swooning was busy chewing on a plot problem.

“I’ve got it!” I shouted when he paused between songs.

His hands froze on the guitar. “Got what?”

“Something I’ve been trying to work through in this book I’m writing. Can you hold on a minute?”

I grabbed my iPhone off the nightstand while he regarded me curiously. “Are you using that to hit the pause button?”

“No I’m taking notes on the idea I just had,” I explained. “I don’t want to forget.”

He waited patiently while I finished jotting the idea. Then I snuggled back under the covers and smiled. “OK, you can continue.”

No sooner had he launched into a new song when a fresh idea hit me squarely between the eyes. I squirmed under the covers, eager to make note of it before I forgot.

He didn’t miss the squirming. “You’re either really turned on, or you’ve got another idea.”

“Maybe both?”

He laughed. “Write it down. I’ll wait.”

And so it went, with me pausing the concert at least twice more to jot notes. In the end, I got a lovely, romantic serenade and managed to flesh out a part of the book I’d been struggling with.

“Do I want to know what these ideas are?” he asked.

“They actually have to do with the way past relationships drive character motives,” I said. “I promise it has nothing to do with you being naked.”



As for whether anything more torrid inspires my actual love scenes….well, you’ll have to use your imagination. I certainly do.

About Tawna:

A third-generation Oregonian who can peel and eat a banana with her toes, Tawna Fenske has traveled a winding career path from journalist to English teacher in Venezuela to marketing geek. She’s the author of the popular daily blog “Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing” and a member of Romance Writers of America. Her debut novel, Making Waves, was nominated for Best Contemporary Romance in the RT Book Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and the Chicago Tribune noted, “Fenske’s wildly inventive plot and wonderfully quirky characters provide the perfect literary antidote to any romance reader’s summer reading doldrums.”

Her new “active fiction” novel, Getting Dumped, was released in January by Coliloquy, offering a contemporary choose-your-own-adventure romantic caper for Kindle readers. Her second romantic comedy, Believe it or Not, hits shelves March 2012 from Sourcebooks.


Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for an entertaining and informative post, Tawna. If he's real, keep him!

One of the things I like best about writing is that story ideas come from anyplace and simple things can inspire a love scene.

Enjoyed reading "Making Waves" and I'm lookingg forward to buying "Believe It Or Not".

Sarah Raplee said...

You are so right about that 'special place in heaven' - LOL!

That goes for husbands as well. Mine has threatened for years to start a confessional blog for romance writers' significant others. :)

Tawna Fenske said...

Judith, he's definitely real, thank heaven (or is it "thank hell?") Thanks for the kind words about MAKING WAVES! I hope you enjoy BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

Sarah, they should totally start a support group!


Linda G. said...

Hmm. TG plays guitar, and gives me private concerts regularly, though not when I'm in bed. May have to suggest a change of venue to him.