Love in the Stacks

Today, I’m visiting Mary Gramlich’s blog to discuss how I perennially disappoint my mom by not making my heroes baby-toting cowboys who also play professional sports and volunteer for the local firehouse. (Love you, Mom!) Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for my book on her site!

Book with heart

As far as my mother is concerned, all good romances feature cowboys, firefighters, or professional athletes. And if the hero happens to be a hockey-playing rancher who volunteers for the local firehouse—and preferably acquires an infant at some point in the story—all the better.

Unfortunately for her, those stories aren’t my catnip. No, I focus on a slightly different type of hero and heroine: Nerds. Book jockeys. Smart, snarky, and sometimes socially awkward human beings.** Which inevitably results in the following conversation every time I start writing a new book:

Mom: So is your hero a firefighter?
Me: No.
Mom: A cowboy?
Me: Nope.
Mom: A hockey player?
Me: NO.
Mom: Does he play baseball?
Me: For the love of God, NO!
Mom: [pauses] Maybe your next book?
Me: NO, MOM. IT WILL NEVER BE A COWBOY, OKAY?
Mom: So…nerds again?
Me: Yes.
Mom: Huh.

So—despite my mother’s best efforts—I set my debut novella, Broken Resolutions, in a small, rural Maryland library. Most likely because I worked for five years at various branches of my local library system in western Maryland. I corralled up to thirty squirming toddlers for storytime; troubleshot internet terminals; created displays in which I somehow always managed to feature romances; shelved like the wind; checked books in and out; and found information both crucial (prognoses for various life-threatening diseases) and minor (the phone numbers for local taxidermists).

Public libraries provide crucial services for communities, even apart from the way they offer free—free!—books, information, and educational or entertainment programs. Library branches ensure access to computers and the internet, a place for community events, and a sanctuary during extreme weather for those without adequate shelter.

Generally, however, libraries are not considered hot spots for romance. Which is why I am so excited to tell stories about the men and women who work in the stacks and behind the circulation and reference desks.

Those stories are a heightened version of reality, of course. My own library would have fired me immediately had I planned a risqué New Year’s Eve singles’ event or created an erotica display labeled “Horny Like the Wolf.” But I don’t see why a mutual love of books couldn’t transform into mutual love, period.

And yes, my characters have sex in the library. No, I won’t tell you exactly where.

I’m proud to have been a librarian for five years. I’m also proud to write stories that celebrate librarians in all their nerdy glory. I’m proudest of all to have frustrated my poor, cowboy-lovin’ mother for six separate books in my Lovestruck Librarians series.

Just kidding. Love you, Mom. But I’m still not writing about a rancher with secret twin babies, so you should probably resign yourself to reading about nerds.

** Which is not to say that firefighters, etc. can’t be smart, snarky, socially awkward, or nerds. Just that they possess additional skill sets to which I’m not naturally drawn as a writer.

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