Mark R. Hunter ~ Inside the Love Life of A Romance Author
|C 2011 Mark R Hunter/whiskeycreekpress.com|
Today we're going inside the love life of a romance novelist to find out. I interviewed Mark R. Hunter, not on the aspects of his current novel Storm Chaser, instead I asked him some rather personal questions about his relationship with a very special lady named Emily.
Krisztina: How did you meet your wife Emily, and how long did you date before you became engaged?
Mark: We met on a fan fiction writing website. She thought I was female. I thought she was bright, quirky, and amusing. Turns out one of us was right.
Okay, how long did we date before getting engaged? Well, dating is a relative term, since we started out in a long-distance relationship, but I’m going to take a stab at this one. Hmm … three years? Asking a guy about an anniversary date is like coming across a deer on the highway: He’s either going to bolt, or stand there with a wide-eyed look on his face until somebody hits him.
Krisztina: What kind of things did you do while you were dating to try and seal the deal so to speak?
Mark: I drove 500 miles to see her – from northeast Indiana to southeast Missouri. Many times. I braved rainstorms, snow squalls, the Mississippi River, the Illinois State Police, and the New Madrid Fault Zone. I got woozy from wooing. Mostly I was just me, which in my case seldom seals the deal, but sometimes things work out. While down there I took her out to wander through cemeteries, swim in isolated rivers, eat Mexican with her friends, and go out for dinner in a place where the employees throw dinner rolls at your head every time you hold your hand up. That’s amore.
Krisztina: How did you propose?
Mark: You can read all about it here: http://ozma914.livejournal.com/350095.html#cutid1
But the short answer is, I drove 500 miles without telling her I was coming, and showed up at her door wearing my Class A fire department uniform and holding a ring. She wasn’t home.
Krisztina: Would Emily say that you are romantic?
Mark: No. Well, that was the easiest question of them all, wasn’t it? Not that I stalk around the house cursing Cupid, but like most men I have to make an extra effort just to remember to make an extra effort. Many people are surprised by this, but if you think about it, many male protagonists of romance novels aren’t really romantic in the traditional sense either.
In my novel Storm Chaser, Chance Hamlin is a man who can fall in love and be fiercely devoted. Still, nowhere in the book does he buy flowers, send candy, break out in spontaneous dancing, or even take Allie out to a romantic dinner. Men tend to show their love in ways that they think are perfectly obvious, but don’t connect with women in a romantic sense. “Hey, I washed the dishes! Is that romantic, or what?” Um … what.
Krisztina: Men wash dishes??? That would be incredibly romantic, indeed! No...seriously.
Mark: Chance, like me and many men, tends to confuse the little things we do to show love with being romantic, when they aren’t necessarily the same.
Krisztina: Do you do anything special for her on Valentine's Day?
Mark: Oh, crap. I knew I forgot something. Well, I was going to say that I made her a nice dinner, then I remembered that was for her birthday. Generally we stay in and have a low key Valentine’s Day – we both agree that the holiday’s too commercialized and generally silly, and she’s not much into jewelry, cut flowers, or candy. Last year I wrote her a tribute column – talk about cheap: http://ozma914.livejournal.com/500515.html#cutid1
Krisztina: I noticed you've only been legally married for a short time and that the actual ceremony is in 2013 (I Facebook stalked you), but do you celebrate any other anniversaries, perhaps celebrating how long you've been dating? If so, what do you usually do to celebrate an anniversary?
Mark: Whenever she slaps me on the back of the head and says, “What day is it, Mustache?” I love her all the more. Like most men, I tend to think that a new level in the relationship means you celebrate that and forget the others, and like most men I’m good at forgetting. I’ve learned, however, that such an attitude is wrong and could even be fatal.
Emily doesn’t like to spend money (I LOVE that woman! *jumps on couch*), so it’s not uncommon for us to spend a special day with a nice meal at home – meaning the actual table with candles and stuff, rather than sitting on the couch with plates in our laps and Doctor Who on TV.
Krisztina: Speaking of FB stalking, I also noticed that Emily's status says "married" and yours still says "engaged". Is this just another classic example of women being more prompt and detail-oriented than men? Or are you consciously waiting until after the ceremony to change your status?
Mark: Well, she certainly is more prompt and detail oriented than me, but in this case “B” is correct – I wanted to make the “big” wedding next year to be our official anniversary date. (However, if you check again you’ll notice that while Emily does have a “married” event on her timeline, her actual status still lists her as engaged.)
Of course, I should change all my relationship statuses so I don’t get stalked by crazed female (or male) fans, but that hasn’t been a problem as of yet. At all. Not even a little.
The whole story of the two wedding thing, which has to do largely with our families being separated by 500 miles, can be found here:
Krisztina: How often do you surprise Emily with flowers?
Mark: Whenever I give Emily flowers, she’s surprised. Emily likes flowers occasionally, but she’s not thrilled with getting cut flowers too often because she feels they’re a waste. Have I mentioned how much I love her? I used to track down beautiful flowering plants for her, under the theory that they can be a constant reminder of our love, but when I touch them they die. That’s not the message I’d like to send.
Krisztina: Here is a chance to redeem yourself if you don't surprise her with flowers. What kind of things do you do when you want to showEmily how much you love her?
Mark: Remember earlier, when I mentioned the mundane things guys do that they think are big “I love you” things, a theory women tend to disagree with? Yeah, those. For instance, I often cook or help her cook. I also do dishes, which to me is no big deal. But cooking? I hate cooking. Despise cooking. “From-scratch” has the same tone to me as “serial killer”. Guys, nothing says “I love you” like a little note, a heart drawn on the bathroom mirror, a walk on the beach. Nothing says “I love you but I’m sleeping on the couch” like a gift-wrapped toaster.
Krisztina: What is your idea of a romantic evening?
Mark: Jello wrestling. No, kidding, but lime is my favorite. I lean toward a dinner out; she leans toward a dinner in. The problem I have with dinners in is that either she cooks them, which to me doesn’t seem fair, or I cook them, which to me seems dangerous. Sometimes it’s dangerous but still works out: http://ozma914.livejournal.com/495837.html#cutid1
Still, given a meal popping in out of thin air, a good idea of a romantic evening would be a candlelit dinner on an actual table at home, which has the advantage that afterward no one would see how horribly I dance. Maybe a walk in the woods or a fire in the backyard afterward.
Krisztina: What are the things you love the most about Emily?
Mark: See above tribute column! But meanwhile, for you Harry Potter fans, she’s very Hermione Granger: Smart, caring, hardworking, loving, unwilling to take crap off of anyone. I’m her Snape. (I’m older, plus she’s not a Ron Weasley fan.)
Krisztina: How do you and Emily keep the passion alive? Or are you still in the honeymoon phase to where that isn't an issue yet?
Mark: It’s hard, because I’m not an outwardly passionate person – and to make matters worse we’ve had a lot of medical difficulties this year, making it hard to work up a little passion over anything. I think in cases like that you have to maintain a lot of physical contact (Get your mind out of the gutter. Oh, okay, leave it in there). Hugs, cuddling, casual touches, maybe PG rated stuff that reminds us of R rated stuff to come. Also, a stripper pole in the living room. She gets a kick out of how every time I try to spin around it I fall headlong into the radiator.
Krisztina: Anyone who reads your blog at www.markrhunter.com knows that you and Emily don't have the best of luck when it comes to health issues and injuries. Does this affect your romantic relationship?
Oh, see above. Another easy one, yay! Yes, it definitely affects our romantic relationship, as it does every other aspect of our lives. This is where the “for better or for worse” thing comes in. You play the hand you’re dealt, even when it comes up with three jokers, a jack, and a duck. Which may be a great hand, for all I know. There are some ways in which I think it brings us closer together. Of course, I’d rather we get closer together through a trip to Maui.
Krisztina: Do you and Emily have a safe word during sex? Just kidding! Don't answer that!
Mark: “Do you smell smoke?” That always gets my attention.
Mark R Hunter is the author of Storm Chaser and Storm Chaser Shorts. You can read a sneak peek on Amazon. For his blog and more info on Mark, visit his official website www.markrhunter.com. You can also tweet with him @MarkRHunter.