Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dave Thome talks about Fast Lane Trilogy (Guest Author)

UPDATE October 4, 2012:  Since this interview was first posted in 2011, Dave has decided to expand the original book "Fast Lane" into the Fast Lane Romance trilogy. He has renamed the book to "Palm Springs Heat" by DC Thome. It has been climbing the romantic suspense charts. I'm looking forward to Book 2 coming out and wondering what Dave, I mean DC Thome, has in mind...

Click on the new cover to see it in the Kindle Store.

Like many other Man Writing A Romance blog fans, I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this book, the romance novel Dave has been so diligently working on and blogging about since I have known him.

Having recently read the book myself, I would dub this "romantic suspense" because I was hanging on the edge of my seat through most of it. Oh, there's a romance in the story--a really good one--but there is a lot more. I kept getting interrupted with phone calls while I was reading it and told Dave I had to call people back and apologize for being rude when I was done.

In this post, I asked Dave to talk a bit more about Lara who is the heroine in Fast Lane.

Donna: I know you were struggling with determining the optimal physical size of the ideal heroine. Did you decide if her size mattered?

Dave: I know that size can be important to women. I firmly believe it’s possible for everyone to find that someone who either doesn’t care about size--“too big” or “too small” or whatever. I guess that’s part of the romantic in me, but I see evidence of it every day. That in no way, however, diminishes the depth of feeling women have about their  bodies, height, weight, or whatever.

In this book, the size of the heroine, Lara, does matter. The central male character, Clay, is an international playboy-type whose trademark is “The Rotation,” three beautiful women who are with him 24/7. Every six months, one member of The Rotation is replaced with a new one. So Lara has to appeal to Clay on that level.

Or so she believes. Turns out, Lara’s not 100% typical of The Rotation. She’s older and less busty than previous members.

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Women’s clothing sizes have always perplexed me. I mostly know what my mom and my wife wear in terms of letters, not numbers. Plus, I’ve been told the numbers are notoriously unreliable, so that a woman who’s a 10 wears an M in one brand wears an L in another. But, as a man, I get that. Sometimes XLs are  too small and XXLs big. Or XXLs are just right on one part of the body, but too big on another.

Anyway, I had regular input from lots of women while I was writing Fast Lane--writer’s group members, people who read my Man Writing a Romance blog, my wife Mary Jo--and there is a point in the story when it becomes necessary to say Lara’s exact size. I had typed in 8 as a placeholder, but I asked all my audiences if that sounded right, or if 10 or some other size would be better. The responses were sometimes funny and always enlightening.

Some women said, “Why not 12 or 14 or 16?” I know some of those women. I believe they wear 12 or 14 or 16. One woman I know who’s very petite said, “Why not 4?” This demonstrates, I think, the complexity of the issue. Women who wear larger sizes are self-conscious about being “large,” while women who wear smaller sizes are self-conscious of being “small.” But I’ve know tall men and short men who experience similar emotions.

The third group of respondents I refer as the “story pragmatists.” Their answers were usually like, “Lara has to fit into that world, so she’d have to be an 8 or a 10, even a 6.” It was their answers that made me feel confident in making Lara a size 8.

Donna: What did walking in Lara's shoes creatively teach you?

Dave: Okay, here’s something I always knew, but didn’t really think about from day to day:  It’s  much harder in our society to be a woman than a man. I’m talking about things like clothing sizes, what clothes should be worn with which other clothes where and when, makeup, body hair, hair styles, shoes.

My wife almost never wears makeup. It was like that when we met 32 years ago, and it’s always been that way. I’m glad. I’m not convinced women who wear lots of makeup have to.

Here’s a funny story: My daughter decided when she was in college not to shave her arm pits or legs. I found myself not really caring about her legs--though I do love the way freshly shaved legs feel--but appalled by her pits. I’m not the kind of dad who would make a fuss about this--it’s her body, right? But I actually did say something, trying to be as discreet as possible and making it clear it was just my personal opinion. I realize there’s no reason for me to have this bias, but I do. (I felt okay mentioning this because my daughter was raised to be confident in herself and to stick by her guns.)

I think it again demonstrates how complicated these issues are. One time, the women in my writer’s group said they were glad they weren’t young and would therefore “have to” wax and spray tan and get nail extensions and do a bunch of other kinds of maintenance--and here I was, having experienced almost the opposite  philosophy. I guess what crowd you run with matters.

Donna: Now that you've finished your romance, what's next for you creatively?

Dave: I have a novel called Chick Flick that I wrote before this book. Like PSH, it’s funny. But unlike PSH, it’s pretty dark and puts its central characters through a truly hellish night of the soul. It also has a male protagonist, but one woman who’s read it said that for all its darkness, it’s romantic at its core. I’m having a couple people read it to see what they think.

In the meantime, I’ve written twenty screenplays, including six that have female protagonists. I’ve already started updating one, Metal Mom, which is about a woman who resumes her heavy metal singing career when her kids are in high school. It was optioned a couple times and even had Michelle Phillips signed to play the lead. It never got made, though, so I’m going to take it and a few other scripts directly to the people while I’m working on Chick Flick.

Donna: Just one more FYI about Dave, he's published his blog to a quick downloadable book that encapsulates his best posts for a year. This is also available for sale at Amazon. Click here to see the blog book. The cover on it is hysterical--I mean "amazing". Sorry Dave....You look great. Really.


JM said...

You know, it's always fun to read romances written by a man. At RT last year, Barry Eisler was reading excerpts from misc. books, and we had to decide if the author was male or female. It was intriguing listening to word choices. I'll admit, I only guessed right about half the time. Little indicators give it away- descriptions of cars the women authors wouldn't care about, visual cues we don't usually pick up on.
Your work sounds very interesting. Can't wait to read it!

Dave Thome said...

I should play that guessing game some time and see how close to fifty percent I get.

My day job is writing a column and articles about car technology, and I know some women are regular readers. That said, my editor relies on me when it comes to gadgets because she's more interested in the business end of the industry and people. I have, though, written several articles about the architecture and decor of renovated showrooms.

Several women read Fast Lane before I published it, and none of them said their eyes glazed over when they got to parts that involve cars--for which I am grateful.

I'm also grateful to you, JM, not only for saying you'll give Fast Lane a chance, but also for mentioning Barry Eisler and me in the same paragraph. More or less.


Jacqueline Howett said...


A women's wardrobe takes years, even for women to understand and put together.

Well, I think you have a great writers name. It has a certain ring to it.

Very interesting. I look forward to reading you!