You don’t find many geeks in most romance and chick lit books. In fact, lately there have been a slew of billionaire romances on the market. Maybe it’s the “50 Shades” effect. But realistically, how many of us have even met a millionaire or billionaire, much less dated one?
For my first novel, I wanted to write a novel with people you might actually be in danger of meeting one day. As someone who worked in cubicle hell, I know interesting people do work in offices. I met a lot of geeks and techie types at the various places I worked over the years. So Chez Stinky has the type of people you might meet at your average office job and go out to happy hour with. The main characters are kind of nerdy people (a technical writer and an engineer) who end up getting together through an odd series of events.
A Tech Writer? Really?
In Chez Stinky, my main character Kat Stevens is a technical writer, which is hardly a glamorous career choice. In fact, I once read an article that said that the secret to technical writing is an ability to tolerate extreme boredom. That’s pretty much Kat’s experience with her job. It pays the rent. (I was a technical writer too “back in the day,” so I know of what I speak.)
The book is set in 1995. I opted to set the book almost twenty years ago partly because many things we take for granted now were novel for geeky types like my main characters. Today, even serious nerds don’t get particularly excited about buying a new computer. But in my book, it’s a kind of fun plot point. (And if you’ve ever thought about throwing a computer out a window, you can have a vicarious thrill.)
The other reason to set the book in the past is not just because of the characters and their interests. It’s because reading about mobile applications is screamingly dull. I’ve read some books recently that include texting and cell phones, and I find it annoying. I don’t like reading about texting almost as much as I don’t like people texting at the dinner table.
My third Alpine Grove romantic comedy, The Art of Wag includes Rob Thompson, a nerdy guy who makes his living setting up networks and satellite systems. As he points out, you should never underestimate the geeks of the world. I tend to agree.
Although my books periodically contain a few references to technology, they appeal most to pet lovers. Because although the nerds find love, they also discover that the bond they have for the animals in the story is important too.