Today’s post is a guest post by Anna Kaling, romance author and Monopoly player extraordinaire.
Check out Anna’s blog for my guest post, the ugly twin of this one, “How to win a fantasy writer’s heart“.
Anna happens to be my inspiring and talented critique partner, and the only person who has ever or will ever read the eight-thousand-year history of my novel’s world. She was polite enough to say it was interesting.
The only stipulation I gave Anna for this blog post was that the language had to be PG rated, and she came so close to succeeding. I only had to star out one word.
Anna, over to you to talk about yourself in third person.
Anna writes contemporary romantic comedies when she isn’t whinging about how hard it is to write contemporary romantic comedies whilst making no effort to actually write contemporary romantic comedies.
She has two cats who don’t know how to cat properly, and lives with them in a bungalow near London because she has a weird fear of stairs. And centipedes.
She can be found at annakaling.com and on Twitter as @AnnaKaling.
How to win the heart of a romance writer
It must be intimidating to fall in love with a romance writer. We spend most of our waking hours with men and women so perfect they only exist in paper form. It’s our job to analyse every detail of what makes a partner unsatisfactory in any way, create love interests with none of these features, and thus raise the relationship expectations of people everywhere.
Well, most of us raise them. We won’t talk about those books that are pretty much adverts for Women’s Aid.
We then publish these Manifestos of Impossible Standards inside covers featuring men with abs so toned they actually scare me because I expect some kind of alien creature to burst out and kill us all, and women who didn’t spend an hour at the Urban Decay counter last weekend while the poor make up artists tried to make them look semi-human. (Thanks, ladies. It was a valiant effort.)
But if you’re some kind of glutton for punishment and want to go up against these Adonises (Adonii?), here’s how to win a romance author’s heart…
Betray all your loved ones
Nothing between you and your friends or family should be sacred. Whenever they whinge to you about a relationship problem, you store it away to tell your romance author ASAP. It’s research, you understand—we’re constantly thinking up irredeemable character flaws for antagonists, and flaws that are flaw-y but not insurmountable for protagonists. Other people’s problems are wonderful little nuggets.
You should also encourage your friends to stay with irritating or pathetic people so the seam of gold doesn’t run dry. I mean, don’t do that if it’s Women’s Aid levels of bad, but do if they’re with someone who puts empty cartons of juice back in the fridge, or pronounces nuclear “nucular” or something.
Actually, not entirely sure either of those issues are surmountable. Watch out for a juice-swigger who plays fast and loose with the English language as my next antagonist!
This could also go in another blog post: Reasons Not To Be Friends With A Romance Author.
Adopt her ALL the cats
Romance authors love cats. It might be because we’re also anti-social, demanding, and like to be brushed, but we have an affinity. We want the most undesirable cat in the shelter, because we love an underdogcat. If they’re awkward, don’t know how to sleep correctly, and look like they have too many legs, adopt them.
Once you have adopted her a cat, don’t think it ends there. You’ll have to put up with having around an eighth of the bed space, because cats are liquid and expand to fill all available space. And you’ll have to keep adopting cats, because one cat isn’t enough for anybody. But if you insist on being responsible for feeding the cats, at least you’ll have a use and the author probably won’t kick you out so she can fit two more cats in the house.
Never check her browsing history
This is for your own good as much as hers. You don’t want to know that your partner has been Googling signs of unhealthy relationships, followed by the process for divorce, and then how to hide a corpse. Never fear; it will be for her latest book.
Of course, if you know she isn’t writing anything at that moment… maybe go incognito and find a good lawyer.
Don’t demand any kind of attention or affection
Partly because she now has 324 cats who are cuter than you, but also because she needs every spare moment to write, think about writing, or Google ‘How does one buy chloroform?’ God help your te***cles if you interrupt her when she’s on the cusp of a great idea about how to make that antagonist infuriating but believable. [Alecia: Yep, those are my stars. If you’re planning to invite Anna to your kid’s fifth birthday party, you might want to reconsider.]
I can’t write about this one because this blog has to be PG
All I’ll say is a certain thing happening is a big moment in our books and it never involves breaking wind, awkward fumbling, or singles of anything. Study and weep, my friend.
Don’t ever, ever, suggest she stop procrastinating when she whinges that her manuscript has been open for five hours and hasn’t been shamed into editing itself
She’s definitely not procrastinating. It’s research, okay, Judgey McJudgePants.
It might look like a mindless video game where she has to make virtual cakes for virtual customers, but it’s really research for… settings? Yeah. How to describe settings in a graphically enticing way. And cake. Cake is useful.
And that might look like Facebook messenger but that’s where other authors live, and if she can’t talk to other authors, you’ll be the one who has to answer questions like, “Would you have a third POV character, or would it be seen through the H/h eyes?” and that’s inevitably going to end in an argument when you don’t know what the heck she’s going on about. Cretin.
And lastly… read her books. Even if you think they’re soppy, girly nonsense, you love her and you should read this thing she poured heart and soul and cat hair into for months on end. She’ll love you forever. ❤
P.S. If anybody does want a romance author, I’ll just drop in that I’m single for reasons I can’t quite fathom. Nudge nudge wink wink. Cat memes and chill, my place, Saturday.
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