When I announced to my friends and family that I was writing Broken Resolutions, a contemporary romance with a librarian heroine, I got a lot of unsurprised nods. I’d spent five years working at a public library, after all. We’re told to write what we know, and I knew libraries and librarians. Of course I’d want to use that setting. Of course I’d choose a profession for my characters that I understood so intimately, rather than another I’d have to spend weeks researching.
I won’t deny it. The relatively low need for occupational research did appeal to me. Not (just) because of laziness, but because I didn’t want another excuse not to write. It’s the same reason I didn’t consider tackling historical romances, despite my graduate degree in American history. I was concerned that I’d focus so much on getting the details correct that I’d never actually complete my damn book. And from what I understand, failing to write finished books makes becoming an author considerably more difficult. (If I’m wrong about this, please e-mail me. I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.)
But convenience alone doesn’t drive me to create librarian heroines. Not at all. Librarians are simply one manifestation of my ultimate catnip. My tribe. The people about whom I most love to read and write.
I love nerds so much. Librarians, teachers, scientists, writers, researchers, museum workers… if you revel in knowledge and passionately pursue information, I want to write books about you. I want to buy books with you as the heroine or hero.
This is a selfish desire, I have to admit. I’m nerdy myself. Not just slightly nerdy, either. I’m a glasses-wearing, front-row-of-the-class-sitting, hand-in-the-air-raising, nose-in-a-book-burying complete and total nerd, and I’m proud of it. Always have been, always will be.
Need some evidence? I have plenty.
As a kid, I’d become so engrossed by my books that the world around me disappeared. When I’d accompany my mom to the doctor’s office and they’d call her into a room, I wouldn’t hear. Minutes later, I’d look up from my reading to find that my mother had simply…vanished. Somewhere. No doubt she’d told me she was going, but I hadn’t heard.
I also used to read the dictionary. Really. I’d just open to a random page and try to memorize the definitions I saw.
And to this day, if I have even the faintest suspicion that I might have to wait more than a minute or two at a restaurant, shop, or anywhere else, I’ll bring my e-reader in my purse. Just in case.
So when I advocate for nerds in books, I’m advocating for myself. And if you love reading—which I’m guessing you do, considering the nature of this blog—I’m advocating for you too.
To all the nerdy women and men out there, I say: Happy reading! (And also: Don’t forget to look up from your book before crossing the street!)