Chris on Baring All in Best Magazine

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In an article which appeared in last week’s edition of Best magazine, I was invited to say why romance still matters.  I didn’t write about extravagant sweeping gestures – it isn’t as if my path has exactly been strewn with rose petals – but about small ways in which romance helps to keep those all-important lines of communication open.  The relationships in my novel Move Over Darling founder when couples won’t or can’t talk to each other.

‘Lovely!  Just give me a few personal anecdotes, will you?’ said the features editor giving me an example which would have had my children blushing.  After doing the mental equivalent of chewing my pencil, I came up with a few illustrations of successful romantic gestures and one, involving an accidental incident of public nudity on my part, that was less well executed.   ‘A photo of you and your husband would be nice too,’ said the editor.  Gulp!

Despite my trepidation, people in my local supermarket did not point and stare when I went in to buy my copy of Best. My daughters thought the article was great – though my youngest couldn’t resist an ‘Ooh-er, a bit saucy, Mum,’– and my husband tells me I can no longer complain about him as it states in a national magazine that he is Officially Romantic.

So…which romantic gestures would you dare to bare?

28 thoughts on “Chris on Baring All in Best Magazine

  1. Great coverage for Choc Lit in the uncovering of your, er um, personal moment. Romantic moments thin on the ground here but one that still warms the cockles of my heart when I remember it is the time when my husband and I got caught out with the weather on a long walk. We had about two miles to go home – and no shelter – and the heavens opened. No macs, can’t get my implant wet. My husband took out a woolly hat – that he wears in the garage for tinkering on cars and motorbikes and which is more oil than wool I think – from his jacket pocket and plonked it on my head, carefully covering my imnplant. ‘What DO I look like?’ I said. He gave me a puzzled look and saidm ‘You look fine.’ And then he hummed ‘My funny Valentine’ all the way home….aaaaah…:)

  2. My lovely husband silently puts cups of tea beside me while I’m writing, and he fills my car up with petrol as I have a horrible habit of ‘ignoring’ things like that. It’s the little things that matter (and what you do with it, of course. Ahem …)

  3. Thanks, Sue.

    I had to really think about those romantic moments too, Linda. It is, I think as Karen (making me laugh) says that it’s about the little things. I love the story of the oily hat, Linda – very tender. And Karen, a man who brings you cups of tea and fills your car up with petrol is definitely a keeper!

  4. When I was uploading my book onto Kindle and Create Space and losing patience with the process my husband kept me sane. Then – unexpectedly – when I was promoting Tall, Dark and Kilted on Twitter last Monday evening he turned up in my study in full highland gear, carrying an ice bucket with a half bottle of champagne in it – and a dozen red roses. Wowzer.

  5. Awww! Who says romance is dead, Lizzie? What a great story! Congratulations on both the release of Tall, Dark and Kilted and your own hero at home!

  6. Congratulations Chris – I bought my copy of Best and thought the article was great! My husband isn’t really one for romantic gestures – despite writing me poetry when we first met (getting my hopes up or what:)) In fact if he walked through the door with flowers I would be highly suspicious as to what prompted the gesture. But I don’t need romantic gestures – not when my husband took complete control of the kids with all that involves during edits. Not only that he did all the cooking, washing up, food shopping. He kind of forgot the cleaning but he is very much forgiven. He was there when I truly needed him – as he has been throughout. He believes in me – when I very often don’t:) It might not be romance – but does fit my definition of love:) Jeez how corny does that sound?

  7. No, romance is definitely not dead, Chris. As you say, it’s the little things which matter. Shame they occasionally drown in overflowing laundry baskets and the like 😀

  8. Just when I was getting a bit emotional about your appreciation for your husband, Sarah, I read Henri’s comment and laughed! Having someone to believe in you and encourage you when you’re in a writing low is a real bonus, whether it’s a supportive partner or a good writing buddy. Mind you, the writing buddies aren’t very good at dealing with overflowing laundry baskets either. I hope you share your comment with your DH, Sarah – he’ll be very moved. Thank you both for commenting.

  9. Must go and buy a copy of Best, Chris, sounds great! And yes, it’s the little things that count I think – for me it was when my husband got up early with our children when they were little (I hate mornings!) and now he does the early morning walk with the dogs so I don’t have to. I really appreciate that!

  10. I like that you got your DH into the habit of doing the early morning jobs for you, Christina! The article was out in last week’s mag, Pia, but I think it’s still available to download if you get the free Best app for iPad.

  11. I loved the article, Chris. Very funny AND romantic. Er…like many others have said, my husband is not stereotypically romantic but he does lots of nice things. He too fills the car with petrol and never moans when my parents are here every Saturday, rain or shine. He has always believed in me – re writing too and often blows my trumpet in public! No not like that! Wash your brains out! x

  12. I must be very innocent, Mandy, but what sort of trumpet did you think we thought you meant?

  13. Thanks, Mandy, how kind of you. And lovely to hear ALL about your husband too ;). Now I’m waiting to see what you’re going to tell Henri!

  14. Sorry, Chris, have been entertaining my mother and doing bookshop thingies, so I’m late to the party but..’Best’ how fabulous! My OH isn’t spectacularly romantic, but he does do things like helping to entertain my mother – which is quite a feat of entertainment! He also quietly takes charge of things when I’m writing, and even more, he gives me the space to do it, without crowding me out or expecting me to drop work when I’m deep in edits or a new chapter. That is romance, in my book. Well, not in my book, obviously, but… you know what I mean.

  15. Chris, I’m loving all these comments. Must catch up with the article. I think it’s my OH’s attitude to mundane things (!) that touch me most. He values my home cooking, my cold feet in bed and my special neck and shoulders massage more than boring things like whose turn it is to wield the Dyson. And he respects my writing time. Speak soon x

  16. Congratulations, Chris – sounds like a great article! After being married for several decades, I find it IS the little things that count. For example, my husband would do Karen’s tea and petrol thing the wrong way round – and not necessarily by accident!

  17. Lizzie, I can’t help thinking that your husband’s little gesture needs to be written into a book at some point. My husband likes to think he’s romantic, but I don’t think it comes naturally, bless him… Although he did phone me up once and put Lionel Richie on (courtest of the radio) and I listened to Stuck on You being played. I love romance and romantic gestures. Chris, I wasn’t able to get Best – are you able to scan the pages, and email it to me?

  18. Sorry to be late responding. Have had a lovely weekend with DD1 while OH did all the chores so we could chat and catch up with post wedding reviews!

    No chance, Evonne – the article was quite enough!!

    Jane, that is romantic, isn’t it? It’s great, as Mandy said too, to have someone there who’ll put up with parents/wider family as it just makes life run more smoothly. And well done on all the bookshop thingies. My goodness you’ll have a whole new set of fans looking at the photos – go you!

    Juliet – congratulations on those several decades! Despite the tea and petrol swap!!

    Liv, I think you’re right! And did you enjoy listening to Lionel (how sweet!). Yep,can do!

  19. I think it’s fascinating how everyone’s stories reflect that caring gestures are equated with romantic gestures. It’s so true! It’s love in the real world. For you writers, do you think your heroes would continue to be romantic and swoon-worthy after 5+ years, or would they eventually turn into real mean? 🙂

    My DH isn’t a natural romantic, but he does occasionally surprise me (more so in our earlier years). A few months back he came into my office and pulled me out of my desk chair and proceeded to get a little, um, frisky, and shoved me against the wall. Now, in BOOKS, this manoeuvre is the what really lights my fire, and I think I must have mentioned this to him at one point. In reality? I started to giggle, and then he did too. Ah, well!

    Although, when we were first dating, he did make a Grand Gesture that I think fulfils his quota for about 10 years. We’d been friends for a while, then casually dated. He joined the military and was stationed in another state (this was in the US; we’re from CA, he got stationed in CO) so I told him I wanted to go back to just being friends, so we did. A few months later I started dating my ex (high school sweetheart) again. The day after I told then-friend-now-hubby, he showed up on my doorstep. Apparently he was so upset at the news that he went to the base chaplain to talk about it, who advised him to do something about it, so he drove to the airport and flew home to convince me why he was the better man, that I should dump the high school sweetheart and give him a serious chance. And would you believe I said no? So he called it quits on our friendship for a while, then called me out of the blue a few months later. Friendship back on. The next month he was home visiting family, and my high school sweetheart guy was all set to move in with me in 9 days. I was freaking out and confided in friend-at-the-time-now-hubby. He decides I need a vacation from life and the next morning informs me that he’s kidnapping me for the day, and drives me to a beach up north (this is in California). And can you guess what happened? It finally dawned on me that I was totally in love with him, so I had to break the exes heart (for the second time!), and have been with hubby ever since. 🙂 Nine years in, cleaning the bathroom and telling me he’s proud of me isn’t the stuff of legends, but it’s an appreciated expression of love.

  20. Wow, Rachel – we’ll all be scrapping for the rights to use your life story (complete with red hot scenes) as inspiration for our novels. Your DH was certainly determined to get his girl! It’s interesting too about how friendship works and I do think genuine friendship is what helps keeps couples together through the mundane and difficult times. Having said that I fell in love with my OH at first sight. (And what a can of worms that opened). I just saw him in the street and knew.

    Anyway, moving on… I’m pretty sure my fictional heroes wouldn’t turn mean – I think both Matthew and Gethin found, in my heroines, women who complete them. Matthew discovers he cares about someone more than his business ambitions and Coralie enables Gethin to heal past hurts and move forward. I’m very fond of my latest hero, but I’m going to have to hand him over to another woman soon!

  21. Hi Chris – I’m lucky enough to have a very romantic husband. On our first date, he turned up with a single blue rose. I’ll never forget turning up to see him sitting there with it on a bench, aaaah!

  22. LOL Chris, I’m not selling those rights! Secretly, I’ve thought of using it as the base for writing a book, but the pitfalls of autobiographical fiction abound (blinders, Mary-Sue anyone?), so not sure it’s a good idea! For now I’m happy to hold the red pen and secretly ponder ideas. 😉

    ~Rach

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