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Do Authors Base Romantic Novels on Real Relationships?

 

I’ve often wondered whether authors base their romantic novels on real relationships in their pasts.

In my case, the answer is yes. A relationship I had with a boy in middle school (he was 12 years old and I was 11!) inspired me to write my own romantic novel. Even though 45 years have passed, I still cherish fond memories of this larger than life character: tall, darkly handsome, whip smart and, most importantly of all, funny. AND this handsome and smart boy used his wonderful gift for humour to flirt with me!

Virtually every afternoon for three or four months, he would walk home from school with me, always trying his hardest to make me laugh, creating cute nicknames for me and devising amusing songs about me, often snatching the little round green leather hat off my head (it was mid-winter) and kicking it across the street like a football.

I didn’t mind the teasing at all; it was good-natured, he made me laugh, and he was so gorgeous, with his curly dark hair, big brown eyes, and freckles. I looked forward to our afternoon walks home, and wrote about him in my diary every night. I still have that diary, filled with his witty comments, its cloth cover awash in the wild psychedelic colours that were so trendy in 1971.

By the end of the school year in June, he had stopped paying attention to me. He was Jewish, my mom told me, and his family probably didn’t want him to get involved with a Christian girl. Sigh.

For the next four decades, I was haunted by memories of this boy. He was such a unique individual with such a big personality, and I’ve never met anyone else like him. Then one day in early 2013, I had an important insight: unique personalities like my former boyfriend belong in novels!

Of course, nobody wants to read about the “puppy love” of two pre-teens. Well, maybe pre-teens do, but I was now in my 50’s . . . so I aged the two of us by 40 years. I kept my former boyfriend’s marvellous sense of humour but transformed him from a class clown to a professional stand-up comedian. I also kept his Jewishness; it’s an important part of who he is.

Once I established the character of the comedian, it was easy to spin a romantic tale around him and to create a host of other characters, especially the non-Jewish heroine (you’ll never guess who I based her on!). The rest of the novel is pure fantasy, the result of my overactive imagination run amuck (and some research), but its core, its heart, is the sweet relationship between a funny, outgoing boy and a shy, studious girl over four decades ago.

Want to Read More?

Finish author Helena Halme transformed her real-life romance with an English naval officer into a romantic novel The Englishman: http://selfpublishingadvice.org/writing-how-to-turn-your-life-into-a-novel/

Have you based a novel that you’ve written on a real past romantic relationship? Please post your comments.

photo credit: Inseparable via photopin (license)

 

 

5-Star Review from the UK!

(See https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones/dp/1945181338/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=love+is+the+punch+line&qid=1569769542&s=books&sr=1-2)

A romance that keeps it real

Review posted on Amazon.uk on 16 September 2018 by Jack Dawkins, Esq,

Format: Paperback

 

Love is the Punch Line, Kathleen Jones’ debut novel, is not your average romance.

Straying from the tried and tested formula of two young, beautiful, perfect people overcoming a series of challenges and rivals on the path to true love, Kathleen gives us a relationship that feels a lot closer to the real world. The story revolves around Josh, an aging comedian on a steep downward career curve, peddling weak material at obscure comedy clubs – a world away from his past as a successful sitcom star. Josh is self-obsessed, depressed, and consumed with doubt over both his comedy and his unattractive appearance. When he meets Holly, a Canadian business woman, there are early hints that she could be his salvation – but both of them are damaged from previous failed relationships and prone to overreact to every little setback that comes their way. At times it’s hard to like either character, but that adds to the sense that this book reflects real life, where few people can remain consistently likeable in their most difficult moments.

A string of mishaps and misunderstandings conspires to keep the couple apart as the novel progresses, and we are kept guessing as to their eventual fate until the finals chapters. The book is an enjoyable ride, but touches on serious themes such as depression, suicide, and body image. Recommended if you want a romance that goes beyond the norm.

 

The Birth of a Writer Took 50 Years

By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

Above: Kathleen Jones (front row, fourth from right) in Mrs. Eleanor Campbell’s grade 2 class at Central Public School in Windsor, Ontario, in 1967-68.

1967 was a landmark year, a year I’ll always remember. It was Canada’s 100thbirthday . . . and my birth date as a writer.

That fall, I was a 7-year-old entering the second grade at Central Public School in Windsor, Ontario. Up to that point, I had never thought of becoming a writer; in fact, I had never even written anything, even though I was already an enthusiastic reader. I wasn’t even much of a student and didn’t put much effort into my schoolwork.

All that changed when I entered the classroom of veteran teacher Mrs. Eleanor Campbell. An excellent teacher—and a strict disciplinarian—she motivated me to work hard, and my grades dramatically improved. And she made me aware of a talent that I didn’t know I had.

That fall, Mrs. Campbell gave our class a number of creative writing assignments. Even though I wasn’t the hardest-working student at that point, I put a great deal of effort into my writing. I soon discovered that I really enjoyed making up stories and characters, and I didn’t view these assignments as “work” at all. To my surprise, Mrs. Campbell loved my stories and often asked me to read them out loud to the class. She even told my parents that I would become “a famous Canadian author” someday.

Gradually, I began to think of myself as a writer, and throughout my school years, from grade 2 until I graduated from university, I continued to receive encouragement from teachers and professors for my creative writing. Alas, when it came time to earn a living, I had to put my dream of becoming a published writer on hold . . . but I never gave it up entirely. I started writing again at 46, and sold my first novel to a publisher at 57—my 50-year-old dream finally came true.

Mrs. Campbell passed away years ago, but I’ll always be grateful for her for recognizing my talent and inspiring my dream.

Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidasand sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT Kathleen’s first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, is available NOW, in trade paperback and ebook from Amazon.com (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1525812415&sr=1-1&keywords=love+is+the+punch+line)and Indigo Books and Music (https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/love-is-the-punch-line/9781945181337-item.html?ikwid=love+is+the+punch+line&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0)Visit the Love Is the Punch Line Media Room athttps://kathleenjones.org/media-room/

 

 

 

 

 

NEW RAVE REVIEW FOR “LOVE IS THE PUNCH LINE”!

5 Stars

Reviewed by Claire LeNoir on Amazon, July 8, 2019: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Punch-Line-Kathleen-Jones-ebook/dp/B07BYNX7BM/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Love+Is+the+Punch+Line&qid=1567360042&s=books&sr=1-1

A different kind of romance

July 8, 2019

Format: Kindle Edition

Verified Purchase

“Love is the Punch Line” is a well-crafted story, at times charming and at time exasperating (in a good way) novel about romance between two mismatched people, Josh and Holly. Both see themselves through self-critical eyes and fear they are over the hill and undesirable. It’s a refreshing change from romances between young and perfect people, and I enjoyed reading it, though I often found myself wanting to shake Josh, the lead male character (who seems to be based upon a Rodney Dangerfield type of stand-up comic). Just when I want to wash my hands of Josh, he becomes so vulnerable and soft-hearted that I understand why someone–like Holly, the leading lady–could actually love him.

There’s a heartwarming segment where one of his fellow stand-up comics dies, and Josh struggles with his grief and confronts his own failings. It’s revealing of Josh’s character, and adds a poignant twist to the story, though it is not a main plot line.

Josh often does his best to ruin their relationship with his comedic digs at Holly, even after he realizes she is a sensitive person and easily wounded. His troubled history with women seems to drive him to test–or destroy–the relationship. Unlike the typical genre romance male lead, he is often his own worst enemy and his insecurities often seem insurmountable.

Unlike the traditional romance, it’s never really clear if this couple will have their “happy ever after.” And that adds to the appeal of this love story because it is not formulaic and there is a “what will happen next” tension that carries through the story. The author does a great job of taking on the romance genre and creating something fresh and intriguing out of it. In other words, romance genre readers will still like it, but non-romance genre readers will also find much to enjoy in the book. Which is to say, in many ways, it transcends genre boundaries.

Oh, and yes–the screen play Josh writes is a nicely played as a strong thread in the story. Will it ever be made into a movie? Will it refresh his lagging career? Is Holly’s belief in the screen play enough to carry them through the challenges? Read it and see!

Complex, original within the romance genre, and entertaining.