Writing a Romance Novel AKA…What is UST anyway?
Writing a contemporary romance novel is a tough gig. In the twenty-first century, couples who have reached the age of consent (and many who haven’t) have few reasons NOT to leap into the sexual arena as soon as they’ve acknowledged their mutual attraction. This poses problems for the writer who wants to explore a developing relationship that doesn’t rely on frequent and graphic descriptions of copulation.
This was the dilemma I faced in the fall of 2009 when I first started to write The Weight of Words. I wanted to write a romance, in one of the truest senses of the word—a story in which the female protagonist is “courted” by her male love interest, a man who, while not immune to the physical attributes of the woman he desires, is forced to first win her heart.
What I set out to do was to write a realistic tale of a contemporary couple who must try to remain apart physically, even while they’re bonding intellectually and emotionally. Since I was eager to revisit my own university days, my alma mater, the University of Toronto was a natural choice for a setting. The site of some of the most architecturally beautiful buildings in the city, U of T provided many perfect locations for the romance between Daniel and Aubrey to bloom. Once I’d decided on an academic setting, Shakespeare’s universal themes seemed a perfect way to pursue the motif of a forbidden romance.
It wasn’t until I’d written the scene in the Hart House reading room, in which my lead characters engage in a heated “texting” session, that I fully comprehended how readers were responding to the story. I kept hearing the term “UST.” Having no clue what the acronym meant, I sought clarification from a friend, only to discover that people were really enjoying the unresolved sexual tension between my romantic leads. I’d set out to write a romance in which characters resort to something other than sex to secure the affection of the one they desire, but in the process, apparently I was creating some kickass UST. Who knew?
Qualities such as wit and intelligence are the weapons of choice for my characters as they try to bring down each other’s defenses. A heated gaze, a slight touch, a knee tap—these small exchanges become of paramount importance in developing the chemistry between them. Once Daniel begins to woo Aubrey in earnest, hauling out the Shakespeare, buying her small tokens of affection and writing her love letters, all bets are off.
I’m a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance. To watch this sort of relationship flourish in a contemporary setting is the icing on the cake.
Author: Georgina Guthrie
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: New Adult
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Omnific Publishing
Cover by: Micha Stone and Amy Brokaw
Event organized by: Literati Author Services, Inc.
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Aubrey Price is in the final months of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Bright, witty and fiercely independent, Aubrey works part-time for the college Dean and has her sights set on graduating with distinction. When she meets Dean Grant’s son, Daniel, the TA in her senior Shakespearean studies course, a shared love of the Bard’s works and an instant mutual attraction draw Aubrey and Daniel together. Unfortunately, a strict anti-fraternizing policy, made more perilous by a black mark on Daniel’s record, keeps them apart.Against this academic backdrop, Aubrey and Daniel navigate their way through a steamy courtship, their forbidden romance aided, abetted and sometimes thwarted by a colorful cast of friends, family and classmates.
About the Author
Georgina Guthrie has been a self-professed book hugger for as long as she can remember. An avid reader and compulsive diarist, she is thrilled to be taking the leap into the world of publishing. GG resides in Toronto, Canada, but she still considers herself a Brit through and through and can often be found roaming the aisles of her favourite British import shop.
A graduate of the University of Toronto where she studied English literature, GG is happy to fill her hours reading and writing, but she’s just as likely to be found enjoying a good film with her husband, dancing around the kitchen with her daughter, or hanging out with friends and family, almost certainly with a glass of red wine in one hand a bag of cheese and onion crisps in the other.
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