Four Men and a Romance Novel

Please note: the giveaway is now closed.  

One question I’m asked frequently is what my friends and family think about the fact that I stopped practicing law to write.  My response is always the same: that my friends and family rock.  Truly, they’re all incredibly supportive of my writing.  And not just my girlfriends—the men, too.

Recently, one of my male friends tweeted that he was reading About That Night and cracked me up with this reaction: Used my new pickup line on my barista: “I plan on being inside you a lot.” Her panties fell RIGHT OFF! Thanks, @juljames!

And then I started wondering . . . what do these guys really think about reading romance?

So I decided to ask.

Yep, I’ve got the straight skinny from the men-folk themselves, four friends of mine who were kind enough to join me here today and give us their perspectives on reading romance.  For purposes of this blog, we’ll call them “Brian,” “David,” “Joe,” and “Matt,” because, well, those are their names.

Julie: All right, let’s start with an easy question.  Tell us a little about yourselves and what you typically like to read.  Bachelor #1, we’ll start with—Oops! Wrong blog.

Brian:  I’m an attorney.  Like Julie, I practiced at a large law firm in Chicago, where I specialized in employment law and litigation, and I now work as an in-house attorney at one of the largest biofuel companies in the world.  When I’m not reading case law and/or reviewing documents for my job, I’ve generally enjoyed reading fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy.

David: I’m a lawyer and an agent provocateur, stirring up situations whenever I can (but not in the Ludicrous, “waking up with a story to tell” kind of way).  Most people I know say they don’t know whether I’m telling a story or telling the truth, and thankfully that’s not because I’m a lawyer.  I blame my uncle Greg for that.

But moving on . . . . Prior to reading your novels, you could find anything next to my bed or toilet except romance novels (seriously).   Looking around my library, I would have to say that I read anything and everything – except romance.  My interest tends towards aliens and astral projection and the closest I’ve come to romance is, well, some erotic fiction I’ve “accumulated” over the years starting back in college with perhaps the best title for an erotic book – Groove Tongue Nympho.   And if you think the title is naughty, the cover is something to behold.  But I’ll leave it at that.

Joe:  I’m a labor and employment attorney for a very large corporate law firm in the Southwest.  Newly married – which is helpful, because most people who see your books when we are laying out at the pool reading just assume they belong to my wife.

I am an avid newspaper reader (hard copy, too, not one of those Google Alerts readers who only read about topics they like).  When I do read for pleasure, I lean towards John Grisham, Dan Brown and Stephen King.

Matt: I’m an Opera and Musical Theatre writer and professor,  (And, yes, I’m straight.  Really.) and a married father to an 8 month old daughter.

It may sound dull, but I’m usually reading scripts or non-fiction books about the stage – or research material for shows.  When I do read fiction for pleasure, it’s light contemporary stuff like Douglas Coupland or Steve Martin.

Julie: I’m still trying to purge my mind of the cover imagery I’ve conjured up for Groove Tongue Nympho . . . . Okay, I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that none of you had read a romance novel before being blackmailed inspired to pick up one of mine.  What expectations, if any, did you have going in?

Matt: I’ve always wondered if romance novels were more like chick lit/rom coms, or more like erotica.  And I expected more Fabio than I got – but I didn’t miss him.

Brian:  A part of me was very excited to read your first book—I mean, the fact that my good friend was writing a book and was being published was thrilling—but another part of me had some concerns.  On the one hand, I’d read the amazing screenplay on which your first book was based, and I was hopeful that you could convert such a solid story into an enjoyable novel.  But I was also really nervous that I wouldn’t like it—even if only because I’m not a fan of romance novels—and then I’d have to lie to you about how much I liked it.

David: Well, to be honest, I did not expect as much drama and conflict as I’ve found in your novels.   A quarter of the way through A Lot Like Love, I was like, hmmm, this is not what I thought romance novels would be.  There was more than just sexual tension going on, and I found myself liking the book in a way that I did not expect.   And don’t get me wrong, I liked the sexual tension, and indeed was quite pleasantly surprised by the introduction of such things as the “underwater blowjob” – something my girlfriend said is impossible, to which I replied: “You’ll never know unless you try.”  We are still dating.

Joe:  To be honest, I expected a lot more formulaic, linear effort, particularly for the first novel.  You know, like a legal brief.  I’m very impressed that you are able to break out of that mindset in your writing – candidly, I’m sure I couldn’t do it.  I not only write like a lawyer, I think like one, plan like one and even argue sports with strangers in bars like one.  Yes, I knew you had a wicked, sarcastic sense of humor (fyi, I have known Julie for over 10 years) – I did not know that it would translate into your writing as well as it does.

Julie:  Since we’re friends, I won’t put you on the spot and ask whether you liked my books.  But I think people would love to get some sense of your reaction to them.  Perhaps a few general thoughts?   (And don’t worry about hurting my feelings—I’m going to edit out anything bad you say and replace it with “If J.R.R. Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, and that dude who wrote Ender’s Game teamed up and wrote The Coolest Book Ever, they still wouldn’t be as kick-ass as Julie James.”)

Matt: Orson Scott Card.  He has a name, Miss James.

I did enjoy the books!  I entered with an open mind and the mantra that the books are not intended for me – not unlike when one has agreed to see a romantic comedy with one’s wife.  When those movies (or these books) turn out to be well-crafted and/or appealing, it’s an extra refreshing experience.

Joe:  I found myself chuckling through the first two books, because I was picturing you as the heroine in both of them.  There is a more than a little of Julie in both Taylor Donovan and Payton Kendall.

I was also surprised by just how invested I became in the stories.  How much I wanted the two main characters to get together and fall in love.  For your last two novels, my wife has read them first, and I found myself looking at her and chuckling when, for example, she continues to read a chapter while we are walking down the aisle leaving a plane because she can’t put the book down.  Then, when we are lying by the pool and I don’t notice I’m getting sun burned because I’m so into the book, she gets to return the laugh.

David: If I was writing a brief to the Seventh Circuit after Judge Ito found the books to be too romantic to be published, I would say the following:

•   Julie’s books are not just about courtship.  And while they do revolve around that most divine and hopefully sweaty dance, they do so as a part of a greater suspenseful story, both between the female and male leads, and between those leads and the outer antagonists.

•   A well-written book is a well-written book.  Period.  Regardless of genre.

•   Sex is also great kissing.  Anticipation is not necessarily everything, but the build-up to the climax is crucial.

Brian:  I have really enjoyed reading your books. They read a lot like the best romantic comedy movies I’ve seen, but with much better sex.  Hands down, the thing I enjoy most about the novels is the amazing chemistry between your protagonists (who—let’s be honest here—spend most of the book in antagonist-mode), and the way it is often built, at least in part, through uber-witty verbal sparring between the two leads.  I really enjoy the wit and intelligence the characters display.   Reading the dialogue in the books reminds me of what it’s like to read one of the “Tyrion” chapters in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels.  (Hint for you Julie:  That’s about the highest compliment I can pay you for your dialogue.)

Julie:  Aw, thanks Brian.  Given how much I know you enjoy the George R.R. Martin books, that is quite a compliment!  Even if I have no clue what it means . . .

Okay, next question: female readers often talk about how they need to be able to relate to the heroine.  I have my own test when writing my heroines—whether she’s the type of person I would sit down and have a drink with.  Let’s flip the script.  Is that something that effects your enjoyment of a book—your ability to relate to the hero?

Matt: Absolutely.  These guys are clearly meant to be appealing and charming to the reader and to the heroine.  If I thought the hero was a douche, I’d have to put the book down.  Who wants to spend a whole novel watching a woman fall in love with a guy you’d want to punch?

David: Good question.  For me, the most important thing is making the hero likable, regardless of whether I can actually “relate” to their lives.  For example, your male heroes usually have firm – really firm – chests that make me put your books down and do push-ups, but I still like them despite their god-like appearances because they are interesting and likable and their faults are not deal breakers.  If a hero had a deal-breaking fault, like if he was married to someone with cancer, cheated on her, had a kid out of wedlock, and then lied to cover it up, that would be a deal breaker.

One other thing.   I need a hero – especially a movie star or billionaire hero – to have faults that I can relate to.  I suppose for the same reason that some people like to see their emperors with no clothes.  Coming from my background, class has always been an issue, and so, even where I’m at today, I still like to see such heroes taken down a notch or two.

Brian: I’ve always joked that your heroes are heavily inspired by me, but the truth is that I have nothing in common with them other than my great personality and killer looks.  Those minor similarities aside, I’ve never really felt like I could relate too well with the heroes in the novels.   They’re amazing and a little too cool for me to be able to relate to.

Joe:  Candidly, I think your heroines are a bit more relatable than your heroes.  Heck, I’ll admit it:  I’m more like Cameron Lynde than Jack Pallas and always will be.  But, I think men are okay with that – we are used to seeing Tom Cruise in Top Gun or Russell Crowe in Gladiator as our role models and falling woefully short of them.  Even the male role models in “chick” movies – Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic – bear little resemblance to everyday men.  Your heroes (at least in the end of the novels) are more akin to what men aspire to be – and I’m okay with that.

Julie: Pop quiz. If you could be any Julie James hero, you would be:

A. That movie star dude who drives an Aston Martin.

B. That FBI dude who knows how kill a man with staples.

C. That other FBI dude who gets all the cool undercover assignments.

D. That billionaire ex-con dude who dated a Victoria’s Secret supermodel.

E. The lawyer.

Brian: I’d definitely want to be able to kill with staples.  Or at least seriously maim.

David: C.  The other FBI dude who gets dope undercover assignments because, well, I personally know someone who used to get dope undercover assignments (wink).  Did I just wink?  You didn’t see that.

Joe: First, why do you have to make “the lawyer” option so bland?  E is the James hero I’m actually closest to, and I’m not sure I appreciate your insinuation that I most resemble the least of the James heroes . . .

I would want to be a billionaire movie star who plays undercover FBI agents on TV and knows how to incapacitate a group of men with nothing but a stick of gum.  Hey – it’s my fantasy world, who says I can’t answer A – D?

Matt: Of the five, I felt most akin to the undercover FBI dude, although I’d love to kill a man with staples.  Dating a Victoria’s Secret model certainly has appeal, but after that hot tub stunt she pulled, she lost her luster.

Julie:  Now let’s turn to the women.  Female readers want to read about heroes who they, themselves, might fall for.  Flipping the script again, how important was it for the heroines in the books to be someone who could pass the all-important take-her-home-to-meet-Mom test?

Joe: Wait a second, I’m married, I might have to plead the Fifth on this one.  None of your heroines can hold a candle to my beautiful, smart, funny, sexy lawyer wife.

David: Hmm, another good question.  I would have to say that one of the first things my Mom notices about a woman, or anyone she meets, is if they’re down to earth.  So long as their feet don’t lift off the ground, save for an astral projection situation, then they’re good to go for my Mom, and they’re good to go for me.  So, to answer your question, it is important that they pass the take-her-home-to-meet-Mom test.

Matt: Not important, as I was using the heroes as my proxy, not the heroine.  If the heroine had an infectious energy, I’d still find them appealing, even if they weren’t women I’d want to be in a long-term relationship with in real life.

Brian: I’ve consistently felt like I was supposed to be cheering for your heroines, and I’ve enjoyed doing exactly that: cheering for the girl to land the guy, and seeing her do it on her terms.  Even though I’m not always able to relate to the heroines, they usually have my three favorite qualities in a woman: super-likeable, extremely intelligent, and hilarious.  I’d also add that while I also find the supreme inner strength and independence of the heroines to be really attractive, I don’t think a woman necessarily has to have such drive for me to take her home to meet Mom.

Julie: All right, fess up about the sex scenes.  Weird to read those (since I wrote them), or just another part of the book?

David: Mostly just another part of the book, but I must confess that certain scenes and remarks reminded me of the times when I was young and watching “mature” movie scenes with my parents (and please note that I said “mature,” and not “adult”).  Shoot, what am I saying, even now when I watch such scenes, especially with my Mom (which, by the way, does not happen often), I get a little, well, you know, weirded out.  But it’s plenty easier to digest it with you than with my parents.

Matt: Definitely weird.  Fun weird, but weird.  When reading the sex scenes, I couldn’t shake the idea that I was gaining an insight into what you personally find appealing. (Which could be fallacious reasoning – you might be writing towards audience expectations or just postulating what your characters might be “into.”)  So, that’s weird.  And if the scenes were getting me “turned on”… well, that just seems downright naughty.  Probably we shouldn’t be friends any more.  (kidding)

Joe:  A bit weird, particularly when you are on a plane or have your wife next to you while you are reading.  Respectable men are taught to look at “adult” materials in private settings (you know, like a work computer).  But your sex scenes just sort of sneak up on the reader out of nowhere, whether you are sitting in a train station or in your bedroom.  A little redness tends to sneak up into my cheeks and ears.  I know that my wife has hit one of those parts when she lets out a small giggle or an “Oh, my!”

Brian:  At least initially, it was more than a little weird reading sex scenes written by my good female friend.  But the scenes are smokin’ hot.  So I got over it pretty quickly.

Julie: I always tell my friends that my books are rated R for “adult situations.” Were the books more or less explicit than you’d anticipated?

Matt: Going in I thought the plots for romance novels might be very thin excuses for explicit sex, like pool guys showing up in adult movies. Once I cracked these books, I found there was more story than I had anticipated (especially in the FBI books), and that they read more like romantic comedies or romantic action comedies than like Cinemax After Dark.  That also meant when I got to the sex scenes I found them surprisingly explicit, but not in a bad way…

Joe:  Well, let’s be honest, you are warming up as each book progresses.  The first two books were about what I expected.  As they’ve gone on, and you’ve become a bit more, ahem, descriptive, providing more vivid details and literal quotations, I was a bit surprised at first.

Brian:  The first two books were about what I’d anticipated.  The last three have been much more explicit.  It’s been fun seeing you grow as an author, especially as you’ve grown more and more comfortable writing the adult situations.

David: They were just right, albeit the “spit or swallow” exchange caught me off guard, but I know that this topic tends to be discussed amongst close girlfriends (or so I fantasize) so it fits a genre primarily read by women.  And I liked the build up in explicitness, which complimented the evolution of the character’s relationships.

Julie: That brings up a good point.  Allow me to share some statistics. According to the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2011, here’s how romantic fiction stacked up in terms of sales revenue:

Romance fiction: $1.358 billion
Religion/inspirational: $759 million
Mystery: $682 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $559 million
Classic literary fiction: $455 million

Given how well romantic fiction sells—a genre that is targeted primarily at women—and given that you now have all officially read a romance novel, do you think you’ve learned anything or gained any new insights into what women want out of relationships?

Joe:  Yes, and shame on you for feeding those instincts and desires.  Isn’t this world hard enough for a man without our better halves thinking there are men like Jason Andrews just falling out of trees?  Yes, your heroes tell us to be more witty, romantic, honest, and attentive and those are lessons to take to heart.  To be fair, they also tell us to be handsomer, funnier, better dressed, in much better shape, and wealthier than we are too!  I cringe thinking about my wife, some day when I’m sitting on the couch watching a football game, saying, “I bet Jack Pallas wouldn’t be sitting his lazy butt on the couch!”

Brian:  Not really. I think these romance novels are all fantasies in their own right.  The heroines are wonderful, but they all aim to fall in love with these amazing men, who are far too perfect, and far more impressive than any of the guys I’ve ever known (with the possible exception of Matt).  What woman wouldn’t fall for them?   And, with the men that irresistible, that perfect, I think the main lesson for me is that if I were that irresistible, then women might want me pretty badly too.

David: This is a difficult one because I think I speak for all men when I say that I believe I was born with the knowledge of what all women want out of relationships (except for perhaps Yanomami women).  With that said, I think reading good romance novels will help to keep me grounded in my relationship with my girlfriend, and will help to remind me that the dance should never end, but the dance does take on different hues and tones as life progresses.  With that said, it would be cool to see a romance novel or novels between the same characters at different stages in their lives.

Matt: If the relationships in your books are an indicator of how women fantasize about relationships, then yes: Confident men, a little cheeky/witty.  Handsome and put together, of course, and with an element of mismatch between his personality and that of the heroine that keeps things interesting.

Julie:  With my Q&A guests, typically other romance authors, I like to wrap things up with a few fun questions.  Figured I do the same here:

What are you watching on TV these days? (Or what are you reading?)

Joe: Sports, Celebrity Apprentice and I love the new Once Upon a Time show.

Brian: Watching: Game of Thrones.  Reading:  Nurture Shock (a great, research-based book that dispels a lot of the “conventional wisdom” on parenting), and I’m now re-reading the “Song of Ice and Fire” novels by George R.R. Martin.

David: I am reading The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains and I am watching the new Sherlock Holmes on the BBC and wrapping up the last season of Battlestar Gallatica.

Matt: Not a lot at the moment.  I watched “The Voice” but didn’t like the outcome.  I watched “Face Off” which is an SFX makeup reality show.  I DVR Jeopardy and Archer and Doctor Who.  Jeez, what a nerd!

What’s on your iPod?

Matt: Mostly podcasts: Comedy show and NPR food.  Music-wise: the new Jack Black, a whole lotta Led Zeppelin, some Mozart for work.

David: What’s currently on my playlist is Girl Talk, Arcade Fire, Frank Ocean (do yourself a favor and check out his Coldplay inspired “Strawberry Swing”), Sigur Ros, M83, various trance, Chris Botti’s When I Fall in Love, and I’m going through an 80s music period (The Cure, Depeche Mode, Human League, Flock of Seagulls, et al.).

Brian: Lots of Springsteen.  And Wiggleworms.

Joe: Every genre, but I use it most when working out, so up-tempo dance music (like Armin van Buren, Avicii) tends to rule.

What is your biggest weakness? (Shoes, purses, chocolate, power tools, etc.)

Joe: My wife’s smile.  Seriously.  I don’t really have a weakness for material things – there’s nothing I couldn’t do without.  I guess my somewhat fun car (a Saturn Red Sky convertible) would be the closest thing.  I call it my pre-mid-life crisis car.

Brian: Lou Malnati’s deep-dish pizza. 

David: The Call of Duty video game.

Matt: I’m afraid I have more ties than Jay Gatsby had shirts.  Oh, and comic books – which I suppose are romance novels for boys.

Favorite role model- real or fictitious – for a romantic lead?   

David: Without hesitation, mine would be Archibald Alexander Leach, otherwise known as Cary Grant.

Joe: My male crush, I mean role model, would be George Clooney.

Brian: 1980’s Robert Downey Jr.   He was everything Hugh Grant has ever aspired to be.

Matt:  Can they be deceased?  Because I’d definitely choose Cary Grant or Gene Kelly, depending on whether or not dancing is required.

Complete this sentence: One fun thing about me that people might not know is…

David: I won two breakdancing competitions in my early teens and I’m now looking to dominate the world of fox-trotting.

Brian: I like to karaoke while sober.

Joe: I can dance—I mean, really dance (I was a serious hip-hop dancer when I was a little guy). It sounds like David, Brian and I need to form a group and take our show on the road . . . I’m sure there are literally tens of people in the world that might watch us (assuming there was no cover charge).

Matt: I have a Comedy Podcast (shameless self-promotion time) called White Dad Problems where my old college roommates and I yuk it up about the challenge of being grown-ups.  You don’t have to be a Dad, you certainly don’t have to be White – but if you need a laugh check it out on iTunes or at whitedadproblems.com (Note that the language is Explicit, but if you’re already reading romance novels…)

Julie:  Thanks so much to all of you for dropping by and giving us the male perspective on reading romance.  This has been a lot of fun! And also quite interesting . . .

And here’s something else for all of you readers: to keep the fun going, five randomly-selected people who leave a comment below will receive a copy of any of my books (your choice).  Winners can choose between a signed paperback or a Kindle, Nook or Kobo ebook.  The giveaway is international and will remain open until 8pm CST on Wednesday, June 27th.

Happy reading!

 

157 thoughts on “Four Men and a Romance Novel

  1. Kat Latham says:

    Intelligent, hilarious, and down-to-earth – each and every one of you guys has romance hero written all over you. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I’ve asked a couple of guy friends to read my manuscripts and give me feedback. It was really interesting to see the things they came back with because their view of the hero and heroine’s relationship was slightly different than my female readers’ was. And the women found the sex easier to critique – one guy friend couldn’t even address it, saying, “I won’t comment on the rest of the action. That’d be too weird. ;-)”

    Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Candy says:

    Since I don’t know any men who would read, or at least admit reading, a romance novel it’s great to get the guy’s views. Thanks Julie!

  3. Lauri says:

    Loved reading the male perspective. I laughed several times. Glad to know what men think about romance novels since I cannot talk my own husband into reading one.

  4. Allie Costa says:

    Note to self, do not read Julie James’ blog at work! Now my coworkers think I’m crazy, thanks Julie! Now seriously, thanks Julie for this great post and for making me laugh on a rainy Monday morning!

    PS: Sorry about any grammar mistakes, English is my second language!

  5. Nicole Mc says:

    This was fantastic. Loved their answers, and they were so funny. Just goes to show, we don’t need a description of firm chests and rippled abs to plug in the fantasy. just give me the right context (discussing romance) and I imagined all of the guys as hunky, beefy, witty hero’s! Seriously!! 🙂 (I love that the one guy pictured you as the heroine!! )

  6. arethazhlen says:

    Wow it was so fun to know male opinion about romance novel . Romance novel all the way, there is no such thing as interesting as romance novels . Your male friend are really cool :).

  7. Suzi says:

    I could write a long comment, but I won’t:
    Very witty to read aha! I doubt I could’ve stopped midway it was that entertaining!
    it’s something I think we’ve all wondered about at some point! 🙂

  8. Rahab M says:

    What a great post! It’s so interesting to know men’s perspective on romance novels. I think its really sexy too when a guy is not afraid/ashamed to read romance novels!Wish I could get me one of those 🙂

  9. Laura says:

    What fun to read the male perspective on romances! I still remember that episode of Friends where Joey found Rachel’s romance novel and started reading it… he was so shocked at what he read, and then announced to everyone that Rachel had porn! Too funny!
    Thanks for a great post!

  10. Shae says:

    This was awesome! It sounds like you have an awesome group of friends. Just curious which book is the spit or swallow in? LoL I haven’t read the last two books, but I hope to soon!

  11. cheryl c. says:

    Reading this was a fun way to begin my morning! I am fully awake and energized after reading this entertaining interview.

  12. Annie says:

    Thanks for the fun post. I’ve noticed that authors have been asking men their POV on romance novels and it’s always been interesting to hear what they have to say. I love how open-minded all of them were!

  13. Dani Koff says:

    You guys rock, now I’m thinking that Julie will have to write an hero that could do the “So you think you can dance” thing.. LOL…
    Great post =)

  14. Steffie says:

    Wow, that was quite an interview. Loved to hear the male experiences of reading romance novels! I always tried to get my boyfriend into reading one of those (just so that he knows what women truly want in their relationships LOL), but unfortunately failed so far. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  15. Leeanne says:

    Loved this post!! My husband always makes cracks about me reading romance novels. I’ve thought many times that he should read one and that one of your FBI books would be a good start…

  16. Alina says:

    It’s always fascinating to read about what men think of romance novels. Thank you for subjecting your friends to the questionnaire.

  17. nerissa says:

    Great interview, I always wondered if there were men out there that Would admit to reading romance novels. Hahahaha! Your Guy friends are awesome, seems like a bunch of great guys. Oh and iI was literally LOL’ing at David’s answer regarding the sex scene…:)

  18. Olivia says:

    Wow.

    I thought that was a really insightful way of looking at romance and your novels. I also found it highly entertaining.

    I think my favourite part has to be where David said: ““underwater blowjob” – something my girlfriend said is impossible, to which I replied: “You’ll never know unless you try.” We are still dating.”

    And he’d underlined are. I found this highly amusing. I have to admit, I’ve never read one of your novels before, but they sound highly exciting!

    A very different type of interview, but one that was very unique and entertaining to read. Thank you to you and your friends for sharing.

    Very much enjoyed it, and you have a wonderfully pink blog set up! 😀

  19. Kristy Wyatt says:

    I LOVED reading this! I’ve often wondered what men would think about romance novels if they read them. Kudos to those amazing men! Thanks Julie!

  20. Deanne says:

    Great post! As a woman, you wonder what men really think. It’s wonderful that the men were willing to sit down and have their reactions “recorded”

  21. Kim says:

    Thanks for the fascinating interview. It’s interesting to get the male perspective on your novels.

    You should have also asked them which of their names would make a good one for an upcoming hero in a Julie James novel. Unless you already used their names: Perhaps J.D. Jameson was actually a combination of two of your aforementioned friends names. 🙂

  22. aurian says:

    That was very much fun to read, thank you gentlemen for this interview. And I think it very brave of you to try Julie’s books. Will you read other authors now as well?

  23. j3nny says:

    It was fun reading this. Whenever I mention romance novels to my male friends, their first reaction is “you’re reading porn.” I’m glad your friends are more open about it than mine lol

  24. Gale says:

    The guys were very open — and very funny — in their answers so it was most enjoyable. I have many employment attorney friends myself and yup, they seem to be just as crazy as YOUR friends! Great perspective from some honest gents. Thanks for the blog!

  25. Ames says:

    Groove Tongue Nympho… heh

    This was an awesome post. I love your male friends’ thoughts on your books and the romance genre! And I loved that pick-up line tweet you got! ^_^

  26. Taiyesha Baker says:

    I have to admit. Usually, I just go to the blog of said author and post a comment. However, I was intrigued and pretty soon I had read the whole thing. I love listening to what guys have to say about romance novels and learning that it isn’t just written porn, its fun, and enjoyable. I’ve always wondered how guys felt about romance novels and i’m glad to know you had the gumption to seek out their thoughts, and all the guys are super funny so that helps. awesome blog post Julie

  27. Amy R says:

    I loved this blog post. Those guys are hilarious! How cool that they were willing to read your books and be interviewed about them. Keep them around! Thanks, Julie!

  28. Emily Wheeler says:

    Great blog post :). I’m always glad to hear about men reading romance novels & realizing they actually have plots. I’m going to have to make my husband read this!

  29. Leanna H says:

    This was a great interview! I have always wondered what guys think of romance novels and you picked five great professional guys that gave you honest answers.

  30. Michelle G. says:

    Lol, thanks for the interviews! It’s always fun to see the male perspective on a genre I love so much. And it’s wonderful that you didn’t even have to twist some arms for them to read your books. I love that these men initially read your books in support of you but continued because they love your books.

  31. Daylea H. says:

    That was awesome. How lucky you are to have such great guy friends who will not only read your books but will may you laugh hysterically will they review them. Great job guys.

  32. Readsalot81 says:

    That interview was marvelous! And fun! It was enjoyable seeing the male perspective regarding romance novels. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  33. Sherie says:

    I loved the blog! I wonder if I can get my sci-fi husband to read a romance novel. I do have to admit he has skimmed through a few, but I think some were a little to mushy for him!

  34. TrishJ says:

    This was very interesting. You almost never hear feom the male reader, and you KNOW They are out there. Loved *Joe* when he said his wife’s smile was his weakness .. spoken like a romance hero. I would LOVE to win a copy of one of your books.

  35. Sue P. says:

    What a fun interview. How did you possibly have the good fortune to find four such great guys to be friends with!? Just goes to show ya that guys do not lose their masculinity if they read romance novels! Thanks so much for sharing this with us and thank the guys also. Their women are very lucky.

  36. Jessika says:

    Great interview! Laughed & smirked out loud during the blog, much as I do your books. It’s nice to see friends who have each other’s backs. Thanks guys for the insight and of course great questions Julie.

  37. Mel says:

    Loved getting the male perspective! And your guys friends sound witty, smart, and sarcastic…basically the real life counterparts to your fictional heroes! Great interview.

  38. Loosheesh says:

    Great blog! Thanks to the guys for their insightful and intelligent responses (loved the fun questions at the end 🙂 )

  39. Carrie J says:

    That was great I really loved reading the guys replies and learned a little about what a guy thinks. Had me laughing out loud making heads turn to see if I was alright. You all are great!

  40. Anusha says:

    I enjoyed getting an insight of how boys think. It was definetly interesting. And i love all of the julie james books. I have probably read them each more than 5 times from the library but the charm doesnt wear off!! 😉 i cant wait for the next book and other great ideas like this interview. 🙂

  41. Kathy says:

    You have some great male friends (I’m curious if one of them might perhaps be Mr. James??) I also think you can use the combination of them for one if not two of your next “heros”. They all sound like a lot of fun; you are a lucky girl!

  42. Alicia says:

    I loved this! I kind of want to sit down and have a drink with all of you.

    That John Edwards shout out had me rolling. The situation is terrible but David’s comment is so true. Some authors have their heroes doing terrible things but we’re supposed to root for them in the end. I don’t think so!

  43. Rachel Bates says:

    This is hilarious and awesome! I love that your guy friends read your books, and I enjoyed their insight 🙂

  44. Petra says:

    Great interview! There’s so much prejudice I find it almost impossible to persuade any guys to give romance novels a try. Finding out some of their opinions is fascinating. Really fun answers. 🙂

  45. Jenn H says:

    What a great interview – it’s always fascinating to read about what men think about when they read well-written romance. That they were willing to sit and chat with you about it so honestly speaks volumes not only about what good friends they must be, but also about the respect they have for your work.

    Thanks for the posting – such a great read!

  46. Jeannei L says:

    What a fun and interesting interview. I don’t even have any guy friends that read for starters. Thanks for sharing.

  47. Diana S says:

    What a great read, it was certainly enlightening and even humorous.

    As someone who formerly wrote horror novels I often get strange looks when my friends and family see me reading romance. I usually reply with I am still a girl after all but I guess I better rethink that response since romance isn’t just for girls any more than horror is just for men.

    Thanks for the great blog and giveaway. I’d love the chance to read some of your work.

  48. Harriet says:

    These guys are great (and funny)!

    I didn’t think my romantic suspense novel would appeal to men, but after one male read the first ten pages he asked, “Why would you think a man wouldn’t want to read something that has the word nipples?” Lesson learned!

  49. Sarah says:

    I LOVE this! I have a guy friend I’m really close with who I’ve recently converted into being a reader. *evil laugh* And since he’s always asking me for recommendations, since he doesn’t have a lot of other friend who are readers, he’s always reading “girl books.” I’m not sure he knows he’s reading girl books, though. *evil laugh*

  50. Marinitalita says:

    I think your heroes are really based upon these four friends of yours, even though they are not billionaires, movie estars, or FBI staple-killers. They are just enhanced, for the sake of fiction, but the real deal is underneath all taht sexy and mysterious…

  51. Justine says:

    This was such a fun post to read! It wasn’t clear to me how many and which of Julie’s books each of the guys had read.

  52. Jackie says:

    What fun. The guys had me cracking up.

    David, So your the one who knocked me off on Call of Duty when I was cooking dinner. 😉 LOL

  53. Tiana says:

    Interesting and funny, definitely a good idea…you hardly get the male perspective. The nature of you guys’ relationship is very evident and too cute, gotta love good friends. Thanks Julie’s friends for sharing your insight.

  54. Cris says:

    Legend post! In my scientist-in-training circle, “what are you reading?” is generally met with “Well, I just read this really cool paper in the latest issue of Cell where…” Most conversation eventually turns to science stuff, which drives me mad, and I doubt a single one of my male friends has read a romance novel! I’d trade my friends for yours in a heartbeat 😛

  55. Kecia Adams says:

    This was really well done! Thanks to you and your guy friends for an entertaining post. I have gotten very similar answers from the few guys (husband included) who were brave enough to read my book (also romance). 🙂

  56. Monikarw says:

    LMAO! I LOVE this!!!! 😀
    I had so much fun reading & it was very nice of them to share their opinions with you (us) 🙂
    Very cool post! Wish my guy friends read romance novels. I’ll make them read this. ;D Thanks, Julie :*

  57. Claudia Blanco says:

    I had so much fun reading about his guys and now I kind of want to read a novel about a couple of them XD

    Thanks

  58. Julie Brannagh says:

    I loved hearing from the four guys!

    My husband reads romance novels, too. Yours, of course, are on my Kindle, which will be pried from my cold, dead fingers. If I’m chosen, he’ll get the book!

  59. Irene Preston says:

    LMAO – this was great! I was totally shocked by how many male friends said they were going to read my book (eeep). Also, Matt, my co-worker asked me if Fabio was going to be on the cover!

  60. Irene Hendricks says:

    Enjoy your books, and need something to read on the plane to Chicago on Wednesday! Love how you switched careers for the sake of your family! Wish I could have done that, but benefits of a teacher were important with a husband in a volatile business like commodity trading in the bond pit. Glad those days are over and we are happily retired in The Villages, FL. Gave our 5 children an opportunity to grow up without the influences of Mom & Dad interfering in their relationships until they were married & with children. Now that they are planning families, we will return to Chicago more frequently! I was truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with the Gifted program for 2 years:)

  61. Na S. says:

    I love romance and have found heroes come in all shape and sizes. I always like to see what their perspective on something is. It’s an insight that can be both fun and handy!

  62. Fabiola Attademo says:

    I laughed so much reading this!
    Loved it!!! hahahahahahahahahah
    Good to know the male perspectibe on romance.
    And your friends seem to be so much fun! XD

    Love your books so much! You became one of my favorite writers =)
    Looking forward to more stories soon!!! ^^

    =*

  63. Pat C. says:

    Loved getting the male perspective. It’s something I’ve wondered about. Thanks Julie, you have great guy friends.

  64. connie says:

    I never tried to convince my guy friends to read romance novels, i just always assumed they’d says no. Until I walked into work one day and saw one of my co-workers (a forty something, big strapping, father of a teenage boy) sitting there with his eyes practically glued to an erotic romance novel. I was so shocked I had to stop and ask. He says the women on the job have corrupted him, now he’s addicted, so we all bring him new romances to read.

  65. Chachic says:

    Love this post! It was interesting to hear what your male friends think of your books, Julie. I’m tempted to make my guy friends read them too so I can ask them what they think. 😛

  66. sabah says:

    Great post loves guys perspective on romance novels. I know my guy friend would never do that no matter what I offer them in return. Thanks for sharing

  67. SeaGrace says:

    You have wonderful friends. Lucky you! Loved seeing their take on your books (which I totally believe :should: be read by more men.)

  68. twinkle says:

    Is it a requirement to be sweet and witty for someone to be your friend?! they seem like the closest thing to your heroes.. glad they do exist, there’s hope to meet someone like Kyle and Jack and J.D…

  69. Heather McKenna says:

    This was really great. I loved reading the guys point of view to so many questions that are usually only asked to women.

  70. Robin says:

    What a fabulous interview! I had a male friend come home from a business trip and tell me he read my book on the plane. He loved it but said it should come with a warning label. He said he had to have his tray table down most of the way.

    Your friends sound like romance hero material to me! It was great meeting them!

  71. Jaime says:

    I can relate with these guys completely and I read your books as a man only after being moved by the adoration that a woman in my life really had on your books. Certainly gave me some laughs and it really was refereshing as Matt said.

  72. Marribeth says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I never imagined men reading these types of books. Atleast none I have ever known. Thanks for sharing.

  73. Lisa says:

    Well, I really appreciate these men for reading and comenting on the books. I’d give a lot for my husband to read one, of my choosing, of course, and maybe get a clue! I don’t think I know of a single man who would answer those questions honestly. Bravo!

  74. Kathleen O says:

    This was a great interview.. These men are very sure their manhood and I really enjoyed that part of the interview where you asked what kind of hero they would like to be…
    Good for you guys…

  75. Patricia A. Turner says:

    I am finding this little fact to be quite true. I have had several men tell me that they have read my books. One of wish was a total surprise.

  76. Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile says:

    This is a really fun blog post and yes, I have wondered the same thing and I am glad I have now the opinion of four men. From 0 to 4 in 5 minutes of reading everything!

    I love being engrossed in books that I leave the real world behind me, like Joe said.

    Interestingly, I couldn’t find the cover of Groove Tongue Nympho online. Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough? Well, I got curious.

  77. Laura in PA says:

    This is awesome. The closest my husband has come to reading a romance novel is when I convinced him to read the first J.D. Robb In Death book.

  78. Fedora says:

    That was awesome–thank you for the insight and interesting interview, Matt, Brian, David, and Joe! And will be looking out for when you take your show on the road 😉

  79. Michelle says:

    A great read. Nice to have the male perspective on the addiction of romance novels. I also didn’t realize how BIG the marketshare of romance novels was. Thanks for that tidbit.

  80. adella says:

    Thank you for going through the trouble to find out what men really think of romance novels. The above interviews are so amusing to read.

  81. lori meehan says:

    Julie your friends are great. I was glad to see at least one if the guys is not a lawyer. For a minute I thought I was going to have to tell you you needed to get out more. Lol. The guys are hilarious ,I loved their honest answers. I bet you all have a great time together.

  82. Karen says:

    Thanks! This was fun! I also have a friend who’s husband reads our romance novels and talks to us about them. I keep needling my husband about that but unfortunatley he isn’t going for it. (yet) hehe

  83. Annie Lewis says:

    I loved the interview. I want to know how you got those guys to actually participate here, let alone read romance. I’ve failed miserably getting my dh who happens to be a university English renaissance professor to read any of my romances. He did however skim Outlander but gave it a mediocre grade. The only author we both read and he’s about to give up on is Evanovich. He of course for the mystery aspect but me for the guys. 😉

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    ((¸¸.·´ ..·´ Annie -:¦:-
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  84. Julianne says:

    Thanks for giving us the male perspective on romance novels! I wish my husband would be open to reading a few – especially a few of your books!

  85. StacieD says:

    Great post! You have some very cool guy friends. It is interesting to get a man’s perspective.

    Geishasmom73 AT yahoo DOT com

  86. Danielle West says:

    This is fantastic. I have seen questionnaires from men that have read romance books before and enjoyed them but I loved reading answers from men that are completely new to the genre (for the most part). And I agree, JJ books just keep getting better! 🙂

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