Thursday, February 15, 2007

Thursday Talk-Time with Bronwyn Jameson

Australian Bronywn Jameson is a best-selling Desire author who last year had three - yes count them three - RITA nominated books in the hotly contested Short Contemporary category. A reader favourite and a fabulous woman to boot, Bronwyn is here to talk to you about...


I’m writing this on February 14 and—big shocker, I know—I’ve chosen to talk on the topic of romance and, more specifically, ways of showing our loved one(s) how much we care. This subject is very much on my mind not only because it is Valentine’s Day and not only because it’s my wedding anniversary. (Aside: how clever was I choosing an anniversary date my darling would never forget, due to the convenient reminders that appear in our mailbox, on TV, in store windows and the email inbox for weeks ahead of The Big Day?)

Firstly, I received revision notes from my editor on a synopsis for an upcoming project. The story is fine but I need to remember a few things when writing the story. Things, for example, such as the romance. Yes, I thought, as I skimmed through the storyline again. Lots of conflict, lots of story, lots of emotion, but not a lot of romantic moments. I’m pretty sure I would have noticed while writing the story, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. Readers love the romance. They want the share the giddy delight of those pivotal falling-in-love moments and the sweet warmth of genuine he’s-the-one connection, as well as the angsty conflict and the hot sizzle and the fraught emotional drama.

Secondly, I have a book out in America this month (and Australia in March) that I’ve been chatting about in various forums. Which means I’ve had to jump back in time to think about that story and those characters. Back In Fortune’s Bed is not only out in February but it takes place in that one winter’s month in South Dakota, and so I got to use Valentine’s Day and the subject of romantic gifts as a story thread. As suggested in the title, Max Fortune (my gorgeous Aussie outback cattleman hero) is determined to entice old flame Diana Fielding back into his bed. Diana is equally determined to keep their relationship on a professional footing. Max has to dig deep into his seductive arsenal, and along the way his efforts that start as a calculated ruse become genuine and heartfelt, and he proves how well he knows this woman by his choice of “gifts”.

All of this started me thinking about the many and various ways love is demonstrated, both in real life and through the fantasy world of our books. To me the perfect romantic gesture comes from knowing a special person’s emotional needs and wants. Knowing what he/she wants, what will make him/her smile, what will make him/her feel cherished. It’s not generic and it may change from year to year, month to month, day to day, moment to moment. And sometimes the gift or gesture doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as the thought and effort behind it.

The most romantic gift my husband has ever given me was a dinner-for-two at home, complete with romantic table setting, candles and firelight. But it wasn’t the work he put into the evening that made it romantic, it was the thought and the timing and the surprise element. This wasn’t a birthday or an anniversary, just another day I’d been out working. A rough day with a long drive at the end. I remember calling him along the way and asking if I should pick up takeaway; I was knackered. I arrived home to the most perfect surprise. I don’t remember what he cooked (perhaps I did pick up takeaway); I don’t remember what he did with the kids (or even if we had any at the time); I do remember feeling how lucky I was to have married this man who knew *exactly* what would make me happy that day.

In my books, that’s the feeling I am trying to emulate. My hero has to know what the heroine wants...and provide it. That works on every level—intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, sexually, romantically. He knows if she will appreciate a dozen long-stemmed roses or a pot of flowering violets. Whether lacy lingerie makes her feel sexy or brings out a rash. Whether to take her to the Michelin three star restaurant or to order Chinese takeaway. Or whether the best gift isn’t ordering a sitter, but taking her and her kids to a cheesy theme restaurant or a sporting game (where he, naturally, can secure fabulous seats and an introduction to their favourite players.) The most romantic gift for her may be as simple as a few perfectly chosen words, a poem, a card, a song. It may be a man arriving with a hammer and tool belt (what is it about those things?) to fix a broken door-hinge or the loose stair. And it may be arriving home from a rough day at work to find the table set, the wine breathing, and the candles flickering.

What is your idea of the perfect romantic gesture? Have you read one in a book recently that caught your attention and made you go “ahhhhh”? Or perhaps your sweetheart got it perfectly right on Valentine’s Day...anyone want to share?

Bronwyn’s latest novel, BACK IN FORTUNE’S BED, is out now in North America, and in March in Australia and New Zealand. Check it out at eHarlequin!

For more from Bronwyn check out her website, and her super popular blog.


  1. When I'm not feeling well and am in bed I think the most perfect romantic gesture would be to have dh come and lie down beside me and cuddle me/hold me.

  2. OMG I *love* that Desire cover -- it's just gorgeous.

    I don't know that there is a perfect romantic gesture -- there are lots of little ones that are perfect in their own moment, and I value those whenever they happen. I tend to not like over the top stuff, but sincere gestures that would be small but meaningful, like dh calling me from work to see how I'm feeling on a bad day, or rubbing my shoulders when he knows I'm tense -- little things, but nice things that all add up to romance. :)


  3. Trying to post for the third time. Sorry if they all turn up eventually.

    Bron, I love a romantic gesture that is tailored to the recipient. If a man intuits what a woman wants, what will make her happy, and does that for her, then I'm sold on him. I also think your long-haired hero on the cover of 'Back In Fortune's Bed' is rather yummy.

    Jennie Adams

  4. Hi Robyn, Sam, Jennie. It seems we are all in agreement that the small things can be the most perfect.

    Re the cover: pretty cool, isn't it? In America it's on Brenda Jackson's Seduction, Westmoreland Style (I *think* that's the one; definitely one of Brenda's fabulous Westmoreland series) and for some reason -- possibly the cowboy connection -- they chose to put it on mine in Australia. How lucky am I?


  5. Hi Bron!

    For Valentine's Day this year my hubby gave me a card with a box of Turtles (yeah, chocolate) but on the inside of the card he wrote some neat stuff, then said it was good for laser surgery for my eyes. So like a coupon!

    Now my kids and I have given him tons of coupons for golf bags (he must have 10 in a drawer-ha-this has become a joke--the bag that never came) but he started taking steps to make the laser surgury a reality. It wasn't flowers, it was better. I thought this coupon was the sweetest! Yeah! Gift that makes a difference!

    Marian S

  6. Marian, he is most definitely a hero. And as someone who now never loses her glasses because she doesn't have to wear them anymore--YAY!!!!--I give laser surgery the big two-thumbs up!