Squawk Radio

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I was thinking the other day about how I came by this romance writing gig. What makes me so driven to tell love stories? I realized it goes deeper than my happy marriage to my college sweetheart. Farther back than when I found my first Georgette Heyer novel in the library. Even before I stumbled across MARA, DAUGHTER OF THE NILE on the YA shelves.

It’s in my genes.

Consider this recent phone conversation I had with my mom. After many years alone, she and her husband, Bill, are now closing in on their fourteenth wedding anniversary. She still lives in my childhood home which is far enough away that we don’t see each other often, but we talk a lot. So we were discussing movies and I mentioned that I had recently seen Brokeback Mountain and Jarhead, both which starred Jake Gyllenhaal.

Mom: I haven’t seen those movies, but that Jake Gyllenhaal…
Me: (Long silent pause full of mental, but wholesome, lusting.)
Mom again: It kept bothering me, every time I saw his picture. I was just certain I knew him.
Me: Really?
Mom: Yes. He was just so familiar.
Me: (Another long pause while I start to think that maybe she actually does know him. Don’t you have those six degrees of separation stories in your family? I thought this might be one of those. After all, my grandmother taught Kris Kristofferson in grade school. As a teenager, my sister-in-law babysat Kris Kristofferson’s kids. A school buddy of mine was one of the lesser-known comics who sometimes showed up on “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” This was starting to sound way better than ol’ Kris and my funny friend.)
Mom: Then I figured it out!
Me: Yes? Yes? (I’m beginning to fantasize about Hollywood lunches. Maybe even a seat next to him at the next Academy Awards.)
Mom: Those blue eyes… That beautiful dark hair…
Me: Yes? Yes? (My palms are rubbing together in anticipation.)
Mom: It’s my Bill!
Me: What? (blink blink blink)
Mom: He looks just like my Bill! Except Bill has a little gray hair, of course.
Me: Right. (Mentally tearing up Oscar night tickets.)
Mom: And my Bill’s eyes are brown.
Me: Right. But other than that…
Mom: Yep! Other than that, he looks just like my Bill!
Me: (Holding back my smile and speaking aloud this thought…Yep, if Jake Gyllenhaal was a graying, brown-eyed, EIGHTY-ONE-YEAR-OLD man.)

Isn’t that just the best, though? In my mother’s eyes, her darling, aging husband is one of today’s hottest Hollywood stars. That takes imagination, yes? And a true belief in the transforming power of love. Hah. I know the source of my desire to write romance novels now.

Is there someone (or a couple) in your life who inspires your belief in love and happy-ever-after? Or, heck, we can just dish about our celebrity connections. Did I happen to mention that the mother of my best friend is best friends with the mother of Annette Bening?
Connie Brockway, 8:41 AM