Real-life “Meet Cutes” would never pass in fiction
I sorta met my wife many, many times before our first date.
For years, we had lunch in the same office building food court, but didn’t meet there.
Another place we didn’t meet was my first-ever writing conference: Romance Writers of America National. I was one of seven men among eighteen hundred women. My un-met wife was advised to attend a session highlighting my first press, at which I read a sex scene from my yet unreleased first novel to a room full of women. (Gack!) She missed the session, but bought the tape recording and thought, “Wow! There’s a brave guy,” and tossed it in a drawer. I also bought a copy of my first-ever talk as an author, but never had the nerve to listen to it.
This led her to take a class back in our mutual home state. I guest lectured at her class (I was TA in another section of it). Nope, though I certainly noticed her—for me, since the first moment, she was always the standout in any crowd. Then the classes had a combined graduation party, but I was too shy to speak to her. Still nope. Then I was an assistant at a weekend workshop she did, but she was told I had a girlfriend (by someone who was interested in me, but it wasn’t mutual) and she was a mom (so I thought “off limits” because I didn’t get she was a single mom). After that miss, she went to a lot of trouble to get to my book launch, but I “knew” she was “taken” so I only sighed quietly to myself.
Still neither of us “got it.”
The light bulb finally went on when, in total disgust with dating in general, I placed an
ad in a local personals column as a declaration to the universe at large that I was giving up on having any control of what was happening. In turn, her friends forced her to go on one more date before settling into single mom-hood. She picked up the paper and there was my ad. And she thought “I know this guy” and answered. I got the letter and was beyond ecstatic. We met for cocoa a few days later and have been together nearly two decades since. That mug of cocoa is still where we count from. (We still have both copies of the tape—neither of us has ever listened to it again.)
And no way could I make that work in a romance novel as the “Meet Cute.” Nope.
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M. L. Buchman has over 30 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 Romance of the Year” and Booklist “Top 10 Romance of the Year.” He has been nominated for the Reviewer’s Choice Award for “Top 10 Romantic Suspense of 2014” by RT Book Reviews. In addition to romance, he also writes thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction.
In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world. He is now making his living as a full-time writer on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing by subscribing to his newsletter at www.mlbuchman.com.