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Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

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Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 11:19 AM | Post: #11

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

(14 Mar 2012 10:28 AM)kaska Wrote:  I did attempt it several times but to no avail...

In all fairness to Linda though I rarely enjoy romance, love stories, so this probably wasn't going to be an enjoyable book club read for me this month as it's not my usual genre.

Thanks for trying several times, Kaska. I think that was beyond the call of duty!

I'd like to throw into the discussion something my agent said, which I believe to be true. She said, "You don't write romance, you write love stories."

My writing career has been dogged by genre issues (don't get me started!) and one of them is that I've been marketed and reviewed as a writer of romance (or even Romance.) I think this has been misleading. I do write love stories, but I don't think I write romance. Broadly speaking, I think fiction either comforts or confronts and IMHO romance is not fundamentally a challenging genre, it's a comforting genre. (Be clear, I'm not saying one is better than the other. Not at all. It's horses for courses. Georgette Heyer is my comfort read of choice and I rate her very highly as a writer.)

I think my novels confront and comfort (which is one of the reasons there have been genre issues with publishers) but I don't think my fiction should ever be described as "romance", not least because I subvert the genre conventions. My heroes are far too flawed and vulnerable to fit the romance genre. If there are any alpha males in my novels, they aren't the hero.

But I know some readers - even some of my fans - would disagree about this. Certainly STAR GAZING being shortlisted for Romantic Novel of the Year in 2009 muddied the waters. But I still claim it's an unusual love story, not a romance.
Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 11:34 AM | Post: #12

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

(14 Mar 2012 11:15 AM)B J Burton Wrote:  O.K. I was wrong - I clearly do need to discuss this book.

Resistance is futile, Barry!

Check out Natalie Goldberg's WILD MIND and WRITING DOWN THE BONES if you're interested in learning more about Timed Writing.

You have understood the Megan/Gavin set-up exactly as I'd hoped. Smile Megan could see that Gavin was exhausted by the gruelling circus that was Rose's illness and he would leave. What could she do to keep him? She didn't have a lot of options, but an attractive teenage girl would know how to manipulate a serial philanderer. Of course Gavin was the more culpable, but it was a nasty grey area. (I love writing about moral grey areas and A LIFETIME BURNING is my major exploration of that.)

Note that Gavin and Calum both betrayed their partners. I always wonder why readers forgive Calum so readily when he was two-timing a wife! At least Gavin and Rose weren't actually married. But by the time you know about Calum's murky past, you're already hooked - or in the case of many female readers (and this author), you're in love. (A female reader emailed me many years ago to ask, "Are there really men like Calum in the Hebrides? Because if there are, I'm re-locating.")
Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 11:46 AM | Post: #13

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

(14 Mar 2012 11:05 AM)Kew Wrote:  I also enjoyed the way that the story was told from three different perspectives; in Rose's voice, from inside her mind, and from a general perspective.

This book could definately stand re-reading! I just gobbled it up the first time.

Glad you enjoyed it, Kew. Smile

I think all my novels bear re-reading because I do go in for big twists and revelations, which means, when you re-read, you know exactly what's going on, exactly what someone means when they say something you thought was harmless first time round.

For example when Megan gets tearful and assures Rose there's no way Gavin will turn up at Calum's 40th birthday party, you'll feel a bit choked (I hope) because you realise poor Megan has come to Uist to break the news to her Mum that the love of her life - the lover they shared - is dead.

I think I actually write my novels with the intention that they should be read twice. My hope is that, on a 2nd read, they're a different book, so you respond in a different way. Two for the price of one! Wink
Offline Susanne Reading The Rose Petal Beach by Dorothy Koomson
14 Mar 2012, 11:51 AM | Post: #14

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

Your books are definitely not Romance, they are far too challenging and controversial to be classed as Romance. They are about real people in real situations, which are often extremely uncomfortable. They deal with taboo subjects. The characters are human and flawed, which is why we love them so much!
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Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 12:05 PM | Post: #15

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

Thanks, Susanne.

My publisher dropped me because I wouldn't turn HOUSE OF SILENCE into a romance. They'd bought the book when it was half-finished and raved about it as work-in-progress, but they declined to read a synopsis. Then when I handed in the completed novel, there was trouble. They wanted major changes - IMO dumbing down the book. They even wanted the heroine to end up with a different guy! My editor said, "I don't know how we can market this if you don't turn it into a romance." (I'd like to point out that I've subsequently sold 18k downloads of this unaltered, unmarketable novel in 11 months. Groovy )

I declined to butcher HOUSE OF SILENCE, so my publisher and I parted company and I had to pay back my advance. Then I was cast out into the publishing wilderness. My agent couldn't sell HoS or my next novel UNTYING THE KNOT because neither belonged to any clear genre.

Then the Kindle revolution happened and I published the books myself, knowing some of my fans would buy them. But I had no idea Kindle would allow me to reach so many new readers for whom unstable genre just wouldn't be an issue.
Offline sujay Reading The Glass Guardian by Linda Gillard
14 Mar 2012, 12:41 PM | Post: #16

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

You definitely don't write what I class as romance novels Linda. To me romance means sugar coated and sweet stories, with a happy ever after ending. There is no way I would describe any of your books like that. They are full of totally believable characters, who deep at heart are good human beings, but others have influenced them and created individuals with deep characters that we only discover as we read more of the book and get to know them, warts and all. You books are full of emotion and I feel that we get to know the real characters and what makes them tick.

I like the fact that the characters aren't perfect and have a past, and the way you go back in time to fill us in with background information about why people do the things they do. It makes them more complete in my opinion.
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Offline B J Burton Reading Complete Works of H P Lovecraft
14 Mar 2012, 12:42 PM | Post: #17

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

Hmmm - the attractions of Calum escaped me.
From my mere male point of view he appears as a man who cheats on wives, has a drink problem, has a body deformed by his climbing injuries and lives in a tatty caravan while making no attempt to make his house habitable.
Rose is not in safe hands. I suspect that Calum sees her as an attractive 'project' - a vulnerable woman with a comfortable cottage. I fear the worst; I wouldn't be surprised to find his skin stitched into one of Rose's creations.

Don't you just love it when publishers are proved wrong? They often are. 25% of books printed in the UK are pulped. Another substantial proportion are remaindered. They have some tricky decisions to make over ebooks - and they don't have a good track record with decision-making.
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Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 01:03 PM | Post: #18

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

You're absolutely right about Calum, Barry. But he's also wracked with guilt, kind to children, a brilliant poet and full of self-deprecating, dark Highland humour. A girl could surely love a man who deals with the emotional quagmire of the morning-after-the-night-before thus...

(From Ch. 13)

“Rose… you said if you went to bed with me there might be three people in the bed.”

“Yes.”

“Were there?” His chest rises and falls. Once. Twice.

She wants to lie, but cannot. “Yes.”

“Oh… How did I do?”

Wink
Offline B J Burton Reading Complete Works of H P Lovecraft
14 Mar 2012, 01:18 PM | Post: #19

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

(14 Mar 2012 01:03 PM)Linda Gillard Wrote:  You're absolutely right about Calum, Barry. But he's also wracked with guilt, kind to children, a brilliant poet and full of self-deprecating, dark Highland humour. A girl could surely love a man who deals with the emotional quagmire of the morning-after-the-night-before thus...

(From Ch. 13)

“Rose… you said if you went to bed with me there might be three people in the bed.”

“Yes.”

“Were there?” His chest rises and falls. Once. Twice.

She wants to lie, but cannot. “Yes.”

“Oh… How did I do?”

Wink

Yes, I enjoyed that exchange - but was it self-deprecating humour or an insecure individual seeking reassurance that his plan was progressing?
You've already answered that, and as you're the author you must be right!
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Offline Linda Gillard Reading JANE EYRE by Charlotte Bronte
14 Mar 2012, 01:29 PM | Post: #20

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RE: Bookclub: The discussion of Emotional Geology (contains spoilers)

(14 Mar 2012 01:18 PM)B J Burton Wrote:  But was it self-deprecating humour or an insecure individual seeking reassurance that his plan was progressing?
You've already answered that, and as you're the author you must be right!

Oh, it was both I think! Definitely seeking reassurance. Calum's love life hasn't occupied much of his time for the last few years and he knows he's inevitably going to be compared with the man of whom Rose said, "Sex with Gavin was amazing, Wagnerian - God, that man was fit."

A hard act to follow...

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