Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Photojournalist, author and popular speaker Christie Craig is an award-winning, multi-published writer whose non-fiction and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty Romance Writers of America-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone.
Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Christie will put her first single title romance novel, Divorced, Desperate & Delicious, in the Romance Roundup Gift Basket (AKA the "BIG BASKET of LOOOOVE"). Her latest book in the Divorced series, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, is in bookstores now. Her newest non-fiction title, The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel, co-authored with her nonfiction writing partner Faye Hughes, is also available now. Her marriage partner, Steve, figures prominently in her own hilarious blog posts over at Killer Fiction, where she often chronicles the sometimes unbelievable (but always true) adventures of the Craig clan.
IMHO: Welcome to the party, Christie! I know you have some deeply serious thoughts on what romance means to you. Well, okay, some deeply funny thoughts, then. Share!
CC: Thanks, TJ! You bet I do. I even have a title: “What a Woman Really Wants in Romance.”
I remember being in first grade and coming home and asking my mom if she’d put my hair up in pigtails the next day for school. She rolled her eyes at me in disbelief because that very morning I’d thrown a hissy fit because I hadn’t wanted to wear my hair up in pigtails. But I had good reasons for my change of heart. And you can bet it involved matters of the heart, too. You see, I’d watched a neighborhood boy named Calvin, whom I liked, pull on the pigtails of another little girl named Mary. Surely, if I wore my hair like hers, he would pull my pigtails instead of Mary’s.
At age six, I didn’t care if that boy had a six pack or a sexy gait. His toothless smile and freckles made my stomach flutter. I didn’t care that his mode of transportation, an old paint-chipped bike that had belonged to his brother, wasn’t the hottest on the block. Frankly, I didn’t really care, or even want, to get my hair pulled, either. What I wanted was . . . his attention.
As I grew older, like most girls, what I looked for in a man changed a bit. Don’t judge me, but I’ll confess, I got to that place where I preferred my men with teeth. And when I got to high school, freckles weren’t a plus either. And yes, in time I started noticing six packs and sexy bad-boy smiles, and I’ll admit it, I wouldn’t have been happy with a man whose mode of transportation was a paint-chipped bike.
My point isn’t that love, or our search for it, is superficial. I think the whole attraction thing is somewhat physiological. We are instinctively looking for a mate with good genes, and how he fits into his jeans is sure to catch our eyes. We are looking for a mate who can help us feed and clothe ourselves and our children and that paint-chipped bike may lead us to believe he won’t be a good provider.
But you know, when I look deep into romance, at what a woman really wants and what my romance heroines want, I can tell you that some things are the same as they were on that playground years ago. Women want to know that of all the girls pumping their legs on the swing set, going up and down on the seesaw, that you are the one he wants. It’s your pigtails he wants to pull. Women want a man’s full attention; they want to be the thing he’ll do anything to attain--even if it means spending his whole recess chasing you around the school’s backyard.
As I write my novels, I try to remember this about romance. Sure, I add plenty of hard abs and bedroom smiles. Hey, sex is part of a good romance. And you can bet your bottom dollar that my heroes have all their teeth. Nevertheless, these two people get together because there just isn’t anyone else whom they would choose to share their lives with. Like most romances, my characters may not know this in the beginning, but while playing on life’s playground, (which for my heroine in my book, Divorced, Desperate & Dating, means avoiding a killer, resisting a bad-boy’s charm, and using a tampon to defend herself) they suddenly realize that this other person is the one.
Today, after twenty-four years of marriage, when I look over at my husband, I’m kind of glad I didn’t hook up with Calvin. I won’t lie, my hubby no longer has a six pack—not that it’s all gone to pot, mind you. His bedroom smile still makes my stomach flutter, and of course he still has all his teeth. But more importantly, he still somehow makes me feel like the prettiest girl on the playground.
And isn’t that what a woman really wants? To be made to feel beautiful and desirable—to know you are his one and only. Here’s wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, and may you spend it with someone who makes you feel special.
IMHO: Thank you for sharing, Christie. I’ll bet your hubby is kind of glad you didn’t hook up with Calvin, too. LOL! And folks, I’ll also bet Christie would love to know what you think a woman really wants in romance.
Remember to leave a comment for Christie and at least one other author during our contest to be eligible to win all ten autographed books in the BIG BASKET OF LOOOOVE as we close in on Valentine’s Day. And be sure to come back on Saturday, February 7, 2009, when we welcome my dear friend Lynne Marshall, Romantic Medical Fiction author. Lynne is the only person I know who can make a stay in the hospital seem romantic. See you then!