Wonder Boi Writes

Go Ahead, Get Me Wet

I figured that title would get your attention. After my last blog was shared over 3,000 times, I’ve been a little worried I had to follow up with something catchy, something profound, something to make all 3,000 of you buy my latest book, Heart Of The Game. I thought and thought and thought but came up with nothing.

You see, most of the time I’m not that poignant. I’m just a boi who likes stories. I like characters. I like romance. Long before I ever had any intention of writing novels, I loved to read them. One summer in middle school I found The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Did you know she (yes, she was also a woman writing as man) was 15 when she started writing the book? Well she spoke to me as a teen. I loved that book so much I carried around with me. I had a paperback copy that fit in my back pocket, and I carried it around the neighborhood and would just sit down and read little snippets. Part of a page got ripped out at one point. The spine cracked, the cover got bent, but I loved that book so much I didn’t want to be outside its world for too long, so I kept it close at all times.

I’ve always been that way with my books. I disappear into them. I sink in so deep I forget what time it is, what season it is, what city I’m in. When they end, I mourn them. I often have “memories” that I never really experienced except from the point of view of some exquisitely drawn character. I’ve seen so clearly places I’ve never actually visited, and I suffer scars that never felt a wound. I don’t read books; I inhabit them. I love my books like a child loves a stuffed animal, and if stories work like Velveteen Rabbits, I have loved more than a few sets of characters into full existence.

Yesterday, I choose to return to one of those old favorites, a classic. In honor of Katherine V. Forrest’s birthday, I picked up Curious Wine again. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that book since college, but it’s one I just sink into like an exhausted person might fall into a feather bed. From the opening pages, from the first glorious appearance of Lane Christianson, I am a swoony puddle of romantic mush. “Your looking is like touching.”

Le sigh.

Suddenly the boisterous, playful baseball boi is big ole girl longing for candlelight and a bubble bath. And I am in touch enough with my feminine side to give it what it asks for.

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I posted that photo and immediately got a comment saying “If you drop that book in the water, you are dead to me.” It was from my editor Lynda Sandoval, and she quickly added a “just kidding.” And she was just kidding. I’ve been to her house. I’ve seen the books everywhere! But the comment still got me thinking about the idea that some books are just too precious to risk getting wet or bent or dirty. I get that as a way of honoring them, of holding them up as the precious treasure they are, but for me a good book isn’t like a piece of jewelry or fine china. A good book is much more like a beautiful woman, something to touched, explored, held close no matter where you are. To enshrine a set a books high on some shelf like a showpiece seems somehow akin to having Halle Berry and not taking her to bed for fear you might muss up her hair.

It’s fine that people collect books, that they save them and protect them and get obsessive about keep them pristine, but at the same time, please don’t feel the need to do so for my sake. Not with my books. That’s not how I’d like my books to be cherished.

I don’t want to write the book you give a prominent place in your bookcase. I want to write the book that stays on your bedside table for so long someone uses it as a coaster.

I want to write the book you bend the spine on because you stayed up reading so late you just set it beside you in bed and ended up rolling over on it.

I don’t want to write the book you never bend or dog ear the pages of. I want you to fold down the pages and star the margins of passages you want to go back and read again later.

I don’t want to write the book you make people wash their hands before they touch. I want to write the book you get Cheetos on because you can’t put down it down long enough to eat a real meal.

I want to write the book you get sand and sunscreen on because you took it to the beach and got so absorbed in it the tide snuck up on you.

I don’t want my titles to be collected for collector’s sake. I don’t dare hope to achieve the longevity and beloved status that Katherine Forrest has. I don’t expect to ever write a book on par with Curious Wine, but if some time down the road, someone who isn’t even born yet finds a copy of Heart Of The Game and thinks they’ve stumbled onto a lesbian romance classic, I hope they won’t be afraid to go ahead and take it into the bubble bath with them.

There’d be no better compliment to me than if readers let my characters into their hearts do deeply they couldn’t help getting them a little wet or dirty in the process.

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April 23, 2015 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. My copy of “Daughters of a Coral Dawn” is so tattered is is nigh on dead. BUT…but, it is the book I came out to, with, and quite possibly for (to some tiny degree) so I agree with you. Someday I may need a new copy of that book, serviceable, so that when i go to show women passages and loan it out, I know they are getting the full story. But for now, I will live with my well loved copy. And I will tell you, Wonder Boi, that several of your books have achieved that “slept in” look. LOL. I guess you will take that as a compliment, so I can admit it now!

    Comment by onamarae | April 23, 2015 | Reply

  2. THAT’S why you are the writer you are. I get immersed in your books up to my neck and live them to the end. Then I savour them for a while before I start another. Thank YOU, Rachel for the 8 books I have. LD Mills (Linda)

    Comment by bjfan99Linda D Mills | April 23, 2015 | Reply


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