Love lessons from women wrohmoawn­r­ci­ete nov­els

“Ro­mance that’s filled with laugh­ter is su­per sexy.”– Joss Wood

Glamour (South Africa) - - Glamour Goddess -

There’s noth­ing like curl­ing up with a ro­mance novel and dis­ap­pear­ing into a world of love, pas­sion and dash­ing strangers. And when it comes to ro­mance nov­els, Mills & Boon has dom­i­nated the field for over a cen­tury, with book gen­res rang­ing from erot­ica and non fic­tion to para­nor­mal and fan­tasy. So we were thrilled to dis­cover that three Mills & Boon au­thors live right here, in SA, and ea­gerly asked them our top love-re­lated ques­tions. Want to learn from the women who have sold more than 29 000 nov­els be­tween them? Read on! Joss Wood wrote her first book when she was eight – and hasn’t stopped since. Af­ter plac­ing in a short story writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion in 2011, she landed a book deal with Har­lequin pub­lish­ers and is now lucky enough to write full-time. She lives in Lady­smith, Kwazulu-na­tal with her hus­band Vaughan, son Rourke, 15, and daugh­ter Tess, 13.

What’s your favourite love story? In 1812, army cap­tain Harry Smith came across two wounded women in the war-torn city of Bada­joz, Spain. Shocked at their state, he took them un­der his wing and within hours, he had pro­posed to one of them – Juana María de los Dolores de León. Juana was only 14, but she was made of strong stuff and ac­com­pa­nied Harry ev­ery­where. Even­tu­ally they came to SA, where he be­came gov­er­nor and com­man­der in chief of the Cape. Har­ri­smith and Lady­smith are named af­ter them. Top real-life cou­ples? My par­ents have been mar­ried for over 50 years and my par­ents-in-law for over 60. Mak­ing a mar­riage work that long is ro­mance in ac­tion. Or stub­born­ness! Most ro­man­tic ex­tract from one of your books? From Flirt­ing With the For­bid­den (Har­lequin; R385): “‘You are my home, Mor­gan. You’re the place where I want to be.’ Noah touched her hand with his fin­gers. ‘I’ve spent the last week try­ing to con­vince my­self that I’m bet­ter on my own, that I can live with­out you, that I’m in­de­pen­dent and a hard-ass and I don’t need any­one. And I don’t need

any­one, Morgs. I just need you. I love you. More than I can ex­press and much more than you will ever know.’” Best love tips? Hu­mour is pow­er­ful be­cause ro­mance that’s filled with laugh­ter is su­per sexy. Be­sides, if you’re go­ing to be with some­one for a long time, you’ve got to be able to laugh with and at each other. Big­gest ro­mance mis­takes? “I love you” said be­fore or dur­ing sex is best ig­nored. I be­lieve that you can’t force some­one to love you. There’s no rule that says, “I love you so you have to love me back.” Re­la­tion­ship deal-break­ers? Cheat­ing. Don’t say it “just hap­pened”. Get­ting up close and per­sonal (and naked) in­volves a series of choices. What should we know about men? Men don’t do sub­tleties or hints. Ask di­rectly for what you want – if nec­es­sary, use small words and pic­tures. What should men know about us? We’re al­ways right. We’re bet­ter driv­ers. We cry for no rea­son. And if you’re not Ger­ard But­ler, don’t ex­pect your wo­man to look like a su­per­model. How can you spot ‘The One’? This is dif­fi­cult for me to an­swer be­cause I had a pre­mo­ni­tion about my hus­band and knew that I was go­ing to marry him as soon as I heard his name. I thought, ‘So, you’ve ar­rived. Good thing you’re hot.’ I might also have spilt my drink and acted like a dork. It was over 20 years ago – my mem­ory is fuzzy. Should you ever give up on love? On find­ing love? Never. But if love is con­sis­tently ugly, rude [or] abu­sive, or it makes you mis­er­able, it’s not worth it.

Thérèse Be­har­rie

started her blog, For the Love of Love, in 2014. A year later, she en­tered a Har­lequin com­pe­ti­tion. Her story didn’t make the cut, but the pub­lish­ers re­quested a man­u­script. The re­sult is The Ty­coon’s Re­luc­tant Cin­derella (Har­lequin; price TBC), out in Jan­uary 2017. She lives in Cape Town with her hus­band, Grant.

What’s your favourite love story? Eve and Roarke Dal­las from In Death are a great ex­am­ple of how love can heal. As their re­la­tion­ship deepens, they face what threat­ened to keep them apart in the first place. Top real-life cou­ples? Emily Blunt and John Krasin­ski seem to gen­uinely love and re­spect each other. And, at the risk of sound­ing con­ceited, my hus­band, Grant, and I. Meet him and you’ll un­der­stand! Most ro­man­tic ex­tract from one of your books From The Ty­coon’s Re­luc­tant Cin­derella ( Har­lequin; price TBC): “‘ What are you do­ing?’ she asked, when there was barely any space be­tween them. ‘ I’m apol­o­gis­ing,’ he said, and placed his hands on ei­ther side of her. ‘ It’s OK. It’s fine.’ She didn’t care that she hadn’t been ready to ac­cept his apol­ogy a few min­utes ago. ‘Good. But now I’m say­ing sorry in ad­vance… for do­ing this.’ And he kissed her.” Best love tips? Tra­di­tional ges­tures: a sur­prise sup­per, flow­ers or bil­tong. And do­ing things your part­ner doesn’t like do­ing. Does he hate cook­ing? Then cook! Thought­ful­ness is ro­man­tic. Big­gest ro­mance mis­takes? Stay­ing with some­one you know is wrong for you is a com­mon one.

Re­la­tion­ship deal-break­ers? Dis­re­spect and lack of con­sid­er­a­tion. What should we know about men? Men en­joy ro­mance, too! What should men know about us? That women love thought­ful men. How can you spot ‘The One’? If you can be your­self and feel happy around them, it’s a good sign. And if you can close your eyes and eas­ily pic­ture a life with them, they’re prob­a­bly The One. Should you ever give up on love? On true love? Never! Lucy Ry­der has writ­ten six books and teaches English and com­mu­ni­ca­tion at a com­mu­nity col­lege in Benoni, Joburg, where she lives with her daugh­ters, Caitlin, 20, and Ash­leigh, 18, and her Bo­er­boel Daisy.

What’s your favourite love story? Mad­die and Jax from Sim­ply Ir­re­sistible by Jill Shalvis ( Lit­tle, Brown & Com­pany; R143). Although she’s de­ter­mined not to get in­volved with Jax, she just can’t stop her­self. Top real-life cou­ples? Prince Ed­ward and Wal­lis Simp­son. I can’t think of any­thing more ro­man­tic than a man giv­ing up ev­ery­thing to be with me. Most ro­man­tic ex­tract from one of your books Overly ro­man­tic scenes make me gag. For me, ro­mance is about set­ting a scene in which two very dif­fer­ent peo­ple are out of their el­e­ment, and turn­ing up the heat. The ro­mance lies in their re­ac­tions to each other. Best love tips? Every­day things, like writ­ing “I love you” in the steamed-up bath­room mir­ror or mak­ing me break­fast. Big­gest ro­mance mis­takes? Stalk­ing a guy and com­ing across as des­per­ate. Guys like to think that they’re do­ing the chas­ing! Re­la­tion­ship deal-break­ers? Cheat­ing, be­cause I should be enough. Also, stalker dudes. A guy you’ve just met declar­ing undy­ing love. Se­ri­ously? What should we know about men? You know when your man is quiet and you ask what’s wrong? It’s best to leave him alone if he says, ‘Noth­ing.’ Women tend to think we’ve done some­thing wrong in that sit­u­a­tion, but it’s usu­ally un­re­lated and he just needs space. What should men know about us? When a man tells an­other man about some­thing wor­ry­ing him, he ex­pects log­i­cal ad­vice. When a wo­man tells a man about some­thing wor­ry­ing her, she wants sympathy, not log­i­cal so­lu­tions. How can you spot ‘The One’? For me, it’s know­ing their flaws and still want­ing to be with them. And hu­mour. If you can laugh at the same things, you have a good chance of stay­ing to­gether. Should you ever give up on love? Def­i­nitely not! There re­ally are great guys out there and, if you both work at it, ro­mance can be the best thing ever.

Ash­ley Gra­ham

See how model Ash­ley Gra­ham rocks plus-size fash­ion on her In­sta­gram feed (@th­eash­ley­gra­ham).

All of the women we in­ter­viewed had one sug­ges­tion in com­mon: what­ever you do, don’t be­lieve in the old ‘shoulds’ about what curvy women should wear. “Plus-size women have been told for so long, ‘You can’t wear this, you don’t look good in that, stripes are not for you,’” says Ash­ley. “Hon­estly, it’s a bunch of bull! Plus-size fash­ion op­tions aren’t plenty, so the more rules you can break and the more fun you have with it, the bet­ter you’re go­ing to look.”

Model Pre­cious Lee, a size 14, agrees: “Pieces like printed py­ja­mas are so dif­fer­ent from what you’re sup­posed to wear if you’re plus-size, but don’t be afraid of bold prints be­cause you think they may make you look big­ger.”

And Melissa Mccarthy has per­sonal proof that writ­ing your own fash­ion rules pays off. “Peo­ple would tell me that the clothes I wanted weren’t made be­cause ‘no plus-size wo­man wants pat­terned trousers,’” she re­calls. “Mean­while, I was mak­ing them for my­self and was con­stantly be­ing asked where I got them.”

So now the come­di­enne has a mes­sage for ev­ery­one: “Wear the damn leop­ard print – I beg you!”

Be­cause I en­joy sex.” “Be­cause of how I look.” “Be­cause I like to flirt.” Why does a wo­man get la­belled a ‘slut’? I asked this ques­tion at a re­cent Slut­walk in Los An­ge­les, US, and these are some of the rea­sons that women told me they had been slammed with the S-word. The women I met were there to cel­e­brate their fe­male sex­u­al­ity, and to protest the idea that it’s some­how dirty or shame­ful.

The event was or­gan­ised by ac­tress and model Am­ber Rose in re­sponse to neg­a­tive pub­lic com­ments by both her exes – Kanye West and Wiz Khal­ifa – about her past work as a strip­per. I was there in sol­i­dar­ity, en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to share their ex­pe­ri­ences through my or­gan­i­sa­tion The Unslut Pro­ject.

While Am­ber Rose and the other pro­po­nents of Slut­walks

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