A colleague invited me to speak on campus at NUIG for Shag Week. Or rather she suggested to the English Society, a student organisation, that they invite me — and they did! I thought this was rather nice. Of course they had to use the Fabio cover for the poster — rather lurid, but apparently effective as we had a pretty good crowd on a Friday night, in fact a crowd that included men as well as women.
I’ve put a copy of my talk in PDF format online. It gives a flavour of the conversation, but not surprisingly I improvised a lot from these bare bones. Themes included how “romance” has gone from meaning “adventures” in the Middle Ages to a very strict — and much maligned — marketing term in the late 20th/early 21st centuries. So I spoke a bit about how the genre developed from the success of Woodiwiss’ The Flame and The Flower and the era of Fabio covers to what it looks like today. I used Harlequin’s own submissions page to show how “formula” (the assumption everyone makes about romance) will not work and the only absolute restriction is the HEA or HFN ending requirement.
I took great pleasure in talking about the Bad Sex Literary Awards. With a little help from Donne and Shakespeare, I tried to explain how the literary impulse toward metaphor seldom worked in describing sex. Why romance writers succeed rests on their ability to use sex as a way to reveal character. I briefly went through the five senses talking about the power in the ones often overlooked.
There were oodles of questions afterward. Some folks wanted recommendations of things to read, others wanted to know more about the writing process — and yes, I was asked about where I get my inspiration! 😉 I was interviewed for the paper; it always makes me nervous as I’ve yet to be quoted accurately ever by any newspaper. Fingers crossed.
I got a nice box of chocolates and gave away a lot of promo postcards (fortunately the ones for Four Play arrived that day). Time to order some more! Afterward we went to the pub, had some pizza and beer, then played some wacky board game. A good night out! Maybe I need to do more of this kind of speaking engagement. Someone’s gotta ‘splain to the kids why romance rocks!
And hey — some good coverage of the launch of Tirgearr Publishing!