I found another one! A man who reads romances! If you know of any more, please send them my way. Hey – these guys could form a reading unicorn club! ;D [My apologies on the weird scheduling – internet woes, you know. So thanks also to David for his patience!]
But the point is what he has to say – so let’s get to it!
ABOUT ME: David Kentner is first and foremost a reader. He also writes stories. When asked the proverbial chicken or the egg question, he is quick to respond that reading opened his mind to writing. A husband, father, and grandfather, he annoys his wife at every opportunity, knowing she loves the attention and the fact he actually enjoys washing dishes. His love of romance novels at all heat levels opened doors to books his wife had never considered reading. He still isn’t sure that was a wise decision as her pile of boxes filled with books is now constantly growing. David can be reached through his blog or his website.
1. What’s the first romance that you ever read?
Though not a true romance in the traditional sense, it was Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie. What stood out for me was the relationship, the love, between husband and wife. To be fair, I know I wouldn’t have read that book if it weren’t for my high school world lit teacher, who also taught my creative writing class. She set me up and made the book required reading solely so I would have to read it. And, as they say, the rest is history. I was hooked on love stories in any flavor…except for Romeo and Juliet. There’s an “ick” factor I can’t get past about a fictional thirteen-year-old girl who kills herself over a guy. My granddaughter is approaching thirteen, and I assured her I would shave her head if she brought home a sixteen-year-old boyfriend, right after I had a private conversation with young Mr. Studly out behind the grain bin.
Thank God romance requires a happy ending, which isn’t necessarily so for love stories. Now, it depends on my mood whether I reach for romance or a love story.
Before I left high school, I’d even read a few category romances. I made the mistake once of checking out the romances in a discount store when I was with my then girlfriend. At the time, she giggled in that female way of questioning a man’s sanity without need of further comment. But, she married me, so maybe it wasn’t such a mistake after all.
2. How did you get started reading romance?
3. Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite romance novel?
I’m not avoiding the question, but I really don’t have one. I revel in the different styles authors use to write their stories. Cookie cutter anything, regardless of genre, makes me cringe, and I’ve been known to throw a book in the trash after the first page if I don’t find the writing original and compelling. I’m a tough crowd when it comes to reading; probably because I read a lot.
That said, my current favorite opening line in a book is, “I woke up to the smell of Lysol and the end of the world.” That’s from Erica O’Rourke’s Torn, a young adult fantasy romance novel.
4. What would you like to see more of in romances? (What are your most and least favorite sub-genres?)
I have had my fill of sexy, organic, run of the mill vampires. Please, please, please…STOP! A body is finite. That means there are only so many spots from which to suck blood and I’ve read all of them multiple times. Naturally, if an author can present a romantic vampire I haven’t seen before, a character who oozes originality and a level of sensuality beyond trite, I’ll be there from the first to the last page. In fact, I’m aware of a book just completed by a seasoned ebook author with an actual new twist on the romantic hero vampire. I’m anxious to read it. If the book is as good as I hope it will be, I’ll be spreading the word.
I adore whimsical twists on well known concepts such as Saranna DeWylde’s Desperate Housewives of Olympus. Loved Lauren Fraser’s The Geek Next Door. How can you not enjoy an insecure guy who finally grows a set of balls and risks everything to pursue the woman of his dreams, who only recently started to realize what a hunk the geek has turned into? A new writer for me is paranormal romance author Lexi George. OMG, her book Demon Hunting in a Dive Bar is hilarious. Then, of course, there’s Victoria Alexander. I think she’s a romance genius, regardless of the era she uses as a backdrop for her dramatic tales.
I guess it should be clear by now that I don’t have a favorite subgenre. =)
What I would like to see more of are authors willing to take risks and break away from what they know ‘works.’ I understand diehard fans might disagree, but authors shouldn’t be afraid to push their limits, even in romance, and give readers something they haven’t seen before.
5. What is something you hate (or dislike strongly) in romances?
Romance by its very nature has certain requirements. These include the development of a romantic relationship and a hope for the future conclusion, regardless of the journey and/or hardships the characters have to travel/endure to get there. It would be easy to say I’d like to see romance novels deviate from these requirements, but genres already exist for those kinds of stories. The romance genre exists because readers know what to expect. It was the readers who created the romance genre, not the publishers. Readers want the hero and heroine to overcome any obstacles in their path and find happiness in the end. And there isn’t a thing wrong with that.
6. Do you browse the romance section at bookstores? If you saw another guy there, would you offer recommendations, or ask for any?
I used to. Now I haunt the internet listings and go to the local bookstore to buy a hard copy only to support my local bookstore. If we don’t support our bookstores, we will lose them.
As far as recommending books, I write a weekly column in which I interview authors both established and new to the business. Many of those authors write romance. I’m not shy at all about letting folks know what books and writers I’m enjoying at the moment.
7. How involved are you in the romance community?
Very, I suppose, though some might disagree. I don’t hang out in chat groups, though I do show up in scheduled live chats for authors and readers from time to time. The Romance Writers of America probably haven’t heard of me. But, let me toss this out for thought: Any reader who buys and reads books contributes to the literary community, including its various genres. Readers are the glue that holds the community together. Writers write out of love. Readers read out of love. And when readers and writers get together to share their love, it’s the perfect romance.
8. Do your friends/family know you read romance novels?
Oh my yes. That’s not a secret at all.
9. What other genres do you enjoy reading, if any, and what are some of your hobbies aside from reading?
I still buy and sell antiques, though after nearly twenty years I’ve slowed down considerably as it’s gotten very expensive and time consuming.
I read almost anything. I really do. Out of all the genres I have the strongest affinity with suspense/thrillers and historical fiction and nonfiction. I suspect Curious George and the suspicious man in the yellow hat had something to do with formulating my reading interests in the impossible. Davy Crockett made me want to separate fact from fiction. Pocahontas and John Smith first taught me that romance can be educational. Jules Verne showed me it’s okay to step beyond the known and set my imagination free.
There is something personal to be gleaned from every reading experience. We only have to have the desire to find what that something is.
So – anyone have questions for David? (It seems the sole reader not writer romance reading man is still eluding us.) So you better get those questions asked while you still can!