My last guest on the Great Blog Takeover is Leslie Langtry, author of The Bombay Family of Assassins’ darkly funny mysteries including ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY. Her latest book, SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS, is a romantic comedy. Leslie lives in the Midwest with her family and an obnoxious number of pets.
Leslie is here to
make you laugh talk to you about how she fell in love with romance novels. And to make you laugh. And so, without further ado, here’s Leslie.
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Thank you Suzanne for having me today! In honor of this event – I’m giving away copies of two of my books; ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY, and SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS to two of you who comment today.
I love romance. I didn’t come to it like most of the girls I knew who read Judy Blume’s FOREVER and were hooked from the start. I was a weird kid who read UNCLE TOM’S CABIN in middle school study hall. In fact, the teacher running study hall once came up and grabbed my copy of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, accusing me of hiding a romance novel between the covers of the classic. BTW – I wasn’t. I was just a geek.
My friends read 500 page books they called ‘bodice rippers.’ They had titles with words like ‘Ravish’ and ‘Lust’ in the titles, and the heroes had names like ‘Rafe’ and ‘Storm.’ But I didn’t read them either. It wasn’t that I was a snob, it was just that they didn’t interest me…and I was kind of weird. Okay, a lot weird.
My Mom remarried about that time. My Stepfather was awesome. But he didn’t know much about what girls my age liked. So one weekend, when he was at a used bookstore, he found a box of books he thought were perfect for me. He brought them home and handed them over. It was a bunch of vintage Harlequin romances from the ‘60’s.
I didn’t know what to do with them and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings, so I read them. Which lead to reading more of them. Probably hundreds – I’m not sure. I liked these short, modern day novels where women had jobs and didn’t wear 300lbs of clothing.
But I still didn’t read a lot of romance. I went through the usual Golden Age of Science Fiction (which is age 13, in case you’re wondering) and mainlined Agatha Christie like a junkie after experiencing the gateway drug – Nancy Drew. And I still read classics.
What I didn’t realize was that I was reading romance, in the form of LONESOME DOVE, ANNA KARENINA AND GONE WITH THE WIND.
It wasn’t until my 30’s that I really started discovering romance books. And when I attempted to write my first book – it was a historical romance. It sucked by the way. So did the next three. No one will ever, ever see them. I’m not kidding.
I joined Romance Writers of America and realized I’d been missing out on about a million amazing books. I also learned that I needed to write my own books my own way. Which is how I ended up writing and selling ‘SCUSE ME WHILE I KILL THIS GUY – a comic/romance/mystery novel about a woman who’s in the family business, which just happens to be assassination. This led to other Bombay books.
A few years back, I wanted to try my hand at writing a really, emotionally intense romance that didn’t include people killing each other or some strange mystery. So, I wrote what became SEX,LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS. It’s different from other books in the genre, because the main characters are in failing marriages when they find each other on vacation at a theme park. But then, I’m not sure I could write a normal book. My stuff will probably always be a little strange.
Since then, I’ve focused on my romance reading education. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time to read everything I want to and I still like mystery, sci-fi, history, etc. But I’m getting there!
What was your introduction to romance novels?
Author of THE BOMBAY FAMILY OF ASSASSINS Series & SEX, LIES & FAMILY VACATIONS out now!