As a romantic novelist, V-Day is a reasonably important and obvious promotional opportunity. I ought to be celebrating it. But personally, the idea of just one day to celebrate romance, just one in all the year, sounds like a really sucky idea. A generic gift, a card with someone else's sentiments printed inside...exactly the same as everyone else gives and everyone else gets. I reckon you ought to be celebrating your romance with the one, individual, unique person you're in love with. And that it shouldn't be confined to one day of the year, celebrating some saint who died a horrible death.
So I started wondering how some of my characters would demonstrate romance. I can't really see Major Harker buying fluffy teddy bears and pink champagne, but that doesn't mean he's not romantic:
“Here.” Someone was holding out something soft and woollen…yes, a pair of socks. She started to look up to see who it was, but then registered the missing little finger, and said, “Thank you, Major.”
“Welcome. Sorry, ain’t got any spare boots for you.”
“That’s okay. I’m fine.”
“Yeah, you must be, it’s all you’ve said all day.”
She looked up to see what he meant by that, but he was gone, vanishing into the darkness outside the firelight. Eve put the clean socks on, and when she looked up he was back again, this time holding out a guitar as if it was a bunch of flowers.
Eve stared for a second.
“I can’t put that on my feet,” she said.
Harker grinned at her. “Can you play it?”
“I…I’m a bit out of practice.”
“Found it in the 33rd’s stores,” he said. “Probably get used for firewood if no one can find a use for it.”
A stab of feeling caught Eve at the thought of destroying a musical instrument, even one as shabby as this. “Needs tuning,” she said distantly.
“You can tell by looking at it?”
“Yeah. One of the strings is loose. Might not be any good.”
“Well, maybe we can replace it. Be a shame to let it burn. What’re guitar strings made of?”
“Nylon and steel,” Eve said.
“Oh. Well, it’s yours if you want it.”
He held it out, and Eve took it.
He works out what Eve needs, what she wants, and then he gets it for her. Way better than some overpriced roses if you ask me.
I also wondered what Luke from Run Rabbit Run would do for Valentine's Day. I strongly suspect that he wouldn't be inclined to hearts and flowers, and besides I don't really think Sophie would appreciate a generic gesture either. I can't give you an excerpt from the book that demonstrates Luke's romanticism without giving away a giant spoiler...but let's just say he doesn't do things by halves.
What do you think is a great romantic gesture? What's your favourite one from fiction?
And what do you think to my wonderful Valentines present, which arrived by UPS this morning?