My guest today is the lovely Jeevani Charika, whose latest book, A Convenient Marriage, was published by Hera on 13th November. Jeevani also writes romantic comedy as Rhoda Baxter. She’s chosen to write a post about anticipation in romance and, while I’ve really enjoyed reading this, I must start by taking issue with her comment about The Decoy Bride. Can I just say that I love that film! There, that’s that done. And now that I’ve put that fact out into the world, it’s over to Jeevani.
Anticipation in Romance
I haven’t seen Good Omens yet. Not because I’m ambivalent towards it, goodness no. I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and I’d sit and watch David Tennant in almost anything (I’ve seen The Decoy Bride – he was the only reason I stayed to the end of that one!). But I don’t have Amazon Prime and I have to wait until the show comes on the BBC in November before I can watch it. And you know what, I’m almost enjoying the wait. Because I’m obsessing – imagining just how much fun it’ll be and that’s almost as good as the real thing. Some might say, better.
So what on earth does this have to do with romance? I love a slow burn, that’s what. Instalust is all well and good, but there’s always the little voice sitting in the shadows of my mind, nursing a pint, that says ‘Bah, I give it six months.’
Now, the slow burn, on the other hand. That’s believable. If people meet and are attracted to each other a bit … but there was no need to tear each other’s clothes off with their teeth. Not yet. They have to work together – say … solving crimes (I loved Dempsey and Makepeace) – and they slowly fall towards each other. Love blossoms, rather than exploding in the face.
As a reader, we know it’s coming, but the characters don’t. So we, the observers, we egg them on, cheer for them, hope for them… and the tension is delicious. We keep coming back to watch our favourite shows because we are hard wired to want that satisfying ending. That first kiss.
Of course, every one knows that once they get together, it’s all over. Friends was never the same after Ross and Rachel got together. The thing that was driving the show in the first couple of series just fizzled out once we knew the answer to ‘Will they? Won’t they?’
The waiting is (almost) the best bit. The longer the wait, the bigger the sense of satisfaction at the end.
In A Convenient Marriage, I wrote about two people who get married, as the title says, for the sake of convenience. They aren’t physically attracted to each other for various reasons (he’s gay, for a start), but they are best friends. Their marriage gives them the stability and social acceptability that is the foundation of their success. But then they fall in love with other people, putting everything they’ve built at risk. The book is about their friendship and about the different sorts of love that sustains us. In order to keep the tension going in the story, I had to keep one couple apart for seventeen years. That’s probably long enough, I think.
A Convenient Marriage
It was the perfect marriage… until they fell in love.
Chaya is a young woman torn between her duty to family and her life in the UK. While her traditional Sri Lankan parents want her to settle down into marriage, what they don’t know is that Chaya has turned away the one true love of her life, Noah, terrified of their disapproval.
Gimhana is hiding his sexuality from his family. It’s easy enough to pretend he’s straight when he lives half a world away in the UK. But it’s getting harder and harder to turn down the potential brides his parents keep finding for him.
When Chaya and Gimhana meet, a marriage of convenience seems like the perfect solution to their problems. Together they have everything – friendship, stability and their parents’ approval. But when both Chaya and Gimhana find themselves falling in love outside of their marriage, they’re left with an impossible decision – risk everything they’ve built together, or finally follow their heart?
Buy A Convenient Marriage here.
Jeevani* writes multicultural women’s fiction. She was born in the South of England, but spent much of her childhood in Sri Lanka, with short forays to Nigeria and Micronesia, before returning to settle in Yorkshire. She studied Biochemistry and Microbiology at Oxford and ended up working in university technology transfer. All of this, it turned out, was excellent preparation for becoming a novelist.
She also writes romantic comedies under the name Rhoda Baxter. Her books have been shortlisted for the RoNA awards, the Love Stories awards and the Joan Hessayon award. She is a member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors.
Jeevani loves all things science geeky. She also loves cake, crochet and playing with Lego. You can find out more about her (and get a free book by signing up to her newsletter) on her website.
(*Jeevani is pronounced ‘Jeev-uh-nee’. Or just call her Jeev)