Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Single Writer's Guide to Dating; a guest blog by Jill Edmondson


 JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING Jill Edmondson claims she's not acquainted with fetish parties, or brothels, or phone sex hotlines, all of which her PI, Sasha Jackson, has found herself neck-deep in. Uh huh. Okay. We'll ignore the fact that both Jill and her sleuth are into serious rock music, Toronto night life, and are looking for love (in the case of Sasha Jackson, sometimes in all the wrong places.) And we know Jill is serious about her work - you don't get glowing reviews from the Globe and Mail, the Hamilton Spectator and Ellery Queen by sitting on your duff ogling pictures of half-dressed men. (Although wouldn't it be nice if literary success worked that way?) So I'm prepared to believe Jill doesn't have a sexy cop tucked away somewhere - especially when she tells us the perils and pitfalls of dating while writing...



I have long brown hair and blue eyes. I like long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners, cuddling by a fire, and... Oh wait, wrong website. Or maybe not.

Since re-entering the dating world a while ago, I’ve become acutely aware of the fact that a lot of people out there don’t like to read. Also since re-entering the dating world, I’ve developed a new understanding of my relationship with reading and writing.

Let me be clear: This isn’t necessarily about my books. Usually, I won’t even tell a potential date the titles of my books; if anything I might say they’re mysteries and leave it at that. But I do try to make it clear upfront that writing and books matter to me. And yet... 


I can’t date a guy who doesn’t like reading, and thinks it’s a “boring waste of time” or something to do “when there’s nothing better to do”. Guys have said those exact words to me. Many different guys. It doesn’t seem to matter what the source of the date is - whether we met at a party, or on an internet dating site, via mutual friends, at a singles event... As shocking a realization as this is, a lot of guys out there aren’t into reading. Who knew?

One man I chatted with via an online dating service told me he would never read my books, but maybe his teenaged son would. Huh? I hadn’t told him the titles or given him so much as a synopsis of the story. I have no idea why he thought his son might want to read them, but why the man himself would not. I didn’t even bother going on a first date with him.

Then there was the dude I met via friends. We had gone on several dates, and it looked like there was some potential for this one, but... We were on a day trip, and along the way, I blathered something about book stuff. I think I was stuck on a plot twist, and I asked for his opinion, whatever. He muttered some kind of vague answer. I looked at him carefully and saw blankness. So, I asked him if the writing talk was boring and he said yes. Needless to say, the rest of the outing was awkward, and there was no kiss goodbye.

In another instance, I told a guy that I write mystery novels. He asked if they’re nonfiction. Ummm...
I’ve given a fair bit of thought to this. At times I’ve wondered if I’m being a bitch, or if I’m being too sensitive. But methinks not. My books are my passion. Writing isn’t just a fluffy little pastime to while away a Sunday afternoon. My stories aren’t just a cutesy little hobby to keep me from being bored.


Books and writing are a huge part of my life. As any author knows, writing the book itself is only one part of the gig. There’s also the promoting and social media side of things. At last count, I had done well over one hundred events in support of my first three novels, everything from store signings, to library readings, to meeting with book clubs. And let’s not forget the social media stuff. I blog several times a week, I tweet every day, I do promos on Amazon, and anything else that seems like a good idea.

If a potential date isn’t into reading and doesn’t get why writing matters to me, then what possible future is there for us as a couple? Is he going to think I’m wasting my time blogging? Is he going to roll his eyes when I say I have to meet with a book club? Is he going to yawn when I tell him about my afternoon signing at Chapters? In tandem with this is the fact that much of my social life includes author friends and aspiring writers (and often usually involves single malt scotch as well, but that’s another blog post). I also enjoy going to author readings and launches, and I look forward to annual events like Bloody Words. 
Then of course, there is the bookworm inside of me. Long before I ever even thought of trying to pen my first manuscript, I was an avid reader. I usually read between 50 and 75 books a year, and read about twice as much nonfiction as fiction. I love discussing my recent reads with people, sharing my thoughts on whatever book, eager to hear another’s take on it. I also love hearing what others are reading, what it’s about, why I might like it, how cool that plot twist is, and so on.



So, while I have tried to be flexible and open-minded, I’m going to dig in my heels. I have come to the conclusion that a lack of interest in books and reading is a deal-breaker for me. Maybe from now on, instead of asking “what’s your sign?” or “do you come here often?” I’ll ask the guy what he likes to do before going to sleep, or what’s on his bedside table. Oh, wait, that could lead the conversation in another direction entirely...


The fourth book in Jill Edmondson's Sasha Jackson PI series, Frisky Business, has just been released. You can find out more about Jill and read excerpts from her books at her website. You can catch more of her writing at her blog, friend her on Facebook, compare books with her on Goodreads and follow her on Twitter as @JillEdmondson.


 

35 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

You mean there's actually people out there who don’t like to read? They have no idea what they’re missing. Me, I’ve put my book aside long enough to read this; now I’m off to hunt up a copy of “Frisky Business” . . . .

Jack Getze said...

A lot of guys don't read, and if they do, it's mostly non-fiction. I think they feel like life is short, there are things we need to achieve, and entertainment time -- movies, books, TV etc. -- should be minimized. Work!

But Jill, you definitely have to find book guy, I'd say preferably a writer. Try shopping for new books in stores and libraries in a sexy evening dress. Maybe the mystery shelves. :)

Jill said...

Thank you Joan!

Jack: I actually read mostly nonfiction myself! And your suggestion is great: Next time I'm at Chapters, I'll be wearing a cute little black dress and heels ;-)

Edith Maxwell said...

Ah, online dating, Jill. I met my wonderful beau ten years ago on match.com, but definitely had to wade through lots of of losers and liars, often in the same package. Hugh actually doesn't get my writing, so he's not one of those first-reader partners, but he fully supports me in the effort, and is, of course, a reader himself! I love all the pictures of sexy men reading you found. And am adding your books to my TBR pile.

Jill said...

Haha! Thanks Edith!

Jack Getze said...

Two Birds with One Stone Dept: Getting to know librarians and bookstore people can't hurt either.

Good luck with everything.

Anonymous said...

Fine Jill....I'll take your advice too and wear a little black dress and heels when I go to Chapters...despite the fact I live in a small town, I'll give it a try. Thank god my mother's not around to see it! On another note, having looked at the photos in the blog I have come to the conclusion that your books must weigh an awful lot!

John Wonnacott

Hallie Ephron said...

I am so glad I'm not dating, because clearly you've got to kiss (or not) a lot of frogs.

Have often wondered if there's a single question you could ask at the outset that would highlight the duds. Of course everyone's question would be different.

Mine: Would you read a book written by a woman?

Of course answers would range from "Read?" to ...

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Huh? Was there an essay? I saw photos, but...

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

I'm trying to remember if I've ever seen a cool "candidate" guy in a bookstore. Hmmm. (Besides you Jack, of course. And the authors giving talks..) That's such an interesting question. I'll be at a Barnes & Noble this afternoon, and will report back.

I am taking this as a very very serious experiment, Jill! And will report back when I get home!

Jack Getze said...

Thanks Hank, but the last time I was a cool candidate, I was lecturing about crime novels at the nursing home.

Jill said...

You folks are awesome! Thanks for chiming in!

Kim said...

Having worked at indie bookstores for nearly 10 years, I can vouch for the fact that there are definitely some keepers roaming the shelves. It's a great place to start a conversation ... especially if you happen to be in an evening gown :) What a fun post - thank you for sharing your stories! I'm now off to find Frisky Business and then enjoy an overcast Saturday on the sofa reading with my (lucky me) reading husband!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

My (now) husband and I went to a bookstore on our first date — it was how I knew he was a keeper!

Yes, "Do you read books by women?" is a good litmus test. You'd week out all the David Gilmours out there...

Melodie Campbell said...

Great post, Jill! I even find this applies to women-friends. Gradually, over the 22 years that I have been published, most of my non-reading friends are no longer in my life. It may sound elitist, but I have found non-readers not very interesting to talk to. On the other hand, my writer friends are always thinking, always intelligent.

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

That would be "weed." Not enough coffee and all that beefcake has made me a little flustered….

Hallie Ephron said...

I liked "week out" - I thought, wow, another hip word usage that I've missed out on.

Susan D said...

OMG. Where did all those sexy intellectuals come from?

Keep the faith, Jill. I met my guy 24 years ago through the Toronto Star personals (back when guys had to actually be able to write a letter and stamp it and mail it in order to respond.) He was my top pick. He still is. And he reads in bed.

Hey why not try the personals in literary magazines? Or are there any left?

Karen in Ohio said...

So much eye candy, so little time.

When I was single it didn't occur to me to worry about whether or not potential mates liked to read, until I met my now-husband. He was an English major, because he liked to read. I was just thinking yesterday how cool it is that he likes most of the same kinds of books I do; he's reading a Joshilyn Jackson that I enjoyed right now. It just makes life so much easier, when you "get" one another in such a way.

Good luck finding your soulmate, Jill. And don't be afraid of online dating; four different friends met their true match that way.

Libby Dodd said...

Not a reader? Not a date! No discussion Period
Maybe there needs to be a "Bookers.com", rather than Match.com

Jill said...

Great idea Libby!

Deb said...

What a dilemma, Jill! It wasn't until I was married to my first (and ex) husband that he mentioned very proudly that he had never read a book written by a woman... Really?

But I think it's attitude that is the deal breaker, not the actual reading. My (now) hubby read voraciously when he was younger (and can still tell you the plots of books in great detail...) And the he discovered computers. He does read non-fiction all the time on his tablet, and has some fiction on there but I'm not sure he's gotten to any of it.

So we generally don't read books together, but we watch movies together. That's our thing. And he's very supportive of what I do, and my "just reading" time. He bought me my tablet so I could read more.

So I'd look for someone who is curious and interested in lots of things.

And if he looked like one of the guys in the photos, that wouldn't be so bad, either:-)

(There used to be a great blog called "Hot Guys Reading Books." It's now Everybody Reading Books, but hopefully there are some hot guys in there, too.
http://hotguysreadingbooks.tumblr.com/

Julia said...

I thought the pictures of hot guys reading would inspire Jill. I feel quite sure every one of these men is Canadian, too. The guy with the cowboy hat and tats is from Alberta.

Jill said...

@Julia I've just booked a flight to Alberta...

Reine said...

I met Steve at his brother's house near Death Valley. He asked me if I wanted to go get a cup of coffee. Of course. Yes. We drove 3 1/2 hours to LA and went to a bookstore café. First we bought a bunch of books. Then we sat down on a couch, cuddled and read. That was that. Been together since.

Jill said...

Reine: That sounds wonderful! Lucky you!

Val Poore said...

Brilliant post, Jill! I so agree with you! Sad for me is when I met my other half, he read huge numbers of books and now he can barely get through a couple of chapters of a book. He reads - a lot, but not books! Now what do I do? Haha, don't answer that. It's fine, but it's ironic that as my passion for writing has grown, his passion for reading books has diminished!

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And solipsistically I thought this only happened to me.
Ah ! what a world.
But I'm shamefaced that I read All of Graham Greene one summer of love gone awry. I deliberately omitted Magnum Opus Power & Glory

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