Steam Scenes

Show Notes

Nan Reinhardt pivoted her career from copy editing and proofreading computer manuals (sexy, right?) to writing romance. Nan and I swoon over the beta hero, discuss how an industry pro told her romances with older MCs weren’t saleable, and we talk about steamy moments vs sensual moments and what’s harder to write. Plus I read an intimate scene from her book The Valentine Wager (Book 1 in her Lange Brothers series), which was released in early February.
 
Grab The Valentine Wager on Amazon.
 
Connect with Nan online: 
http://nanreinhardt.com/ 
https://www.facebook.com/authornanreinhardt 
https://twitter.com/nanreinhardt 
http://instagram.com/nanreinhardt 
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nan-reinhardt 
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58524645-the-valentine-wager

What is Steam Scenes?

Contemporary romance author Elle Greco is joined by her fellow romance authors to talk about writing all the naughty bits.

Elle 0:01
Nan Reinhardt is a USA Today best selling author, sweet and sexy romance novels featuring women in their prime. She's also a wife, a mom, a mother in law and grandmother to an active little boy and two rambunctious dog. She's been an antiques dealer, a bank teller, a stay at home mom, a secretary and for the last 25 years she's earned her living as a freelance copy editor and proofreader. But writing is her first and most enduring passion. Nan can't remember a time in her life when she wasn't writing. She wrote her first romance novel at the age of 10. It involved a love story between the most sophisticated person she knew at the time, her older sister who was in high school and a member of Herman's Hermits, if you know who they are at your Nan's audience. She's still writing romance but this time from the viewpoint of a wiser, slightly rumpled older woman instead of a starry eyed preteen, she's completed 12 novels. Rule number one was her first published novel and it's still available in print and digital at all ebook retailers. The women of Willow base series includes once more from the top sex in the widow miles the summer of second chances and saving Sarah, which are also available in ebook and print all at all book retailers. Her for Irish brothers winery series from tool publishing includes a small town Christmas meant to be Christmas with you and the baby contract, which are all currently available in ebook and print from all ebook retailers. She has just completed a new three book series The Langes of river's edge also for tool publishing the first book, The Valentine Wager releases on February 1 of 2022. Welcome to Steam Scenes. Nan, I'm so happy you're here.

Nan 1:38
Thanks for having me. Oh, I'm excited to be here and to talk to you today. Cool.

Elle 1:42
Okay, so you've already answered my first question with like, when you knew you wanted to be a writer, and I guess it was the Herman's Hermits story?

Nan 1:53
Well, actually, I've I had been writing even before that, I started keeping a journal when I could hold a pencil practically. Because I have these people in my head, and they've been in my head for a very long time. And if I don't let them out, then I'm crazy. So I've been writing a really long time. And however, I wasn't published until 2012. So, you know, a lot of life happened between Herman's Hermits And rule number one.

Elle 2:20
Yeah, I I'd say so. And you've had sort of a pretty eclectic career in terms of what you've done.

Nan 2:27
Pretty much. Yeah, I'm, I always tell people, it's because I have no marketable skill. I've always, I mean, you know, I was a bank teller. And I was an antiques dealer for a little while, which was a lot of fun, but hard to do. You had a baby. Yeah. And so that's when we sort of let the antique shop go. And then I was a stay at home mom, which was the best job ever. Oh, man, I loved that I had so much fun with my son and and then I just I started working for the Christian church Disciples of Christ, actually, as a secretary. And when I got laid off from there, I had, I had learned how to do proofreading, and I was practicing being an editor. And so I just started applying for freelance work and past tests and got work and wow. So

Elle 3:24
Wow. So what are you in terms of your copy editing and your proofreading? Are you doing novels? Are you doing more like white papers for business? Like what is theirs? Are you doing whatever lands on your desk?

Nan 3:35
Well, for a long time, it was whatever landed on my desk. But since I've been doing it now, since 1996, and I've got a lot under my belt. I started with the for Dummies, books, you know what those are the black and yellow. I started with those. And I probably did. I don't know four or 500 of those, oh, my God. And then

Elle 3:55
you're most having, like a vast range of knowledge.

Nan 3:59
When people when I tell people that I did those books, and plus, I also did a lot of computer application books and textbooks and things like that. It's that if I held everything in my head that I read, my head would explode. Right? I have little bits and pieces of stuff. And I'll hear a word and go Oh, I heard that once. So no, I don't have a lot of knowledge in my head sadly. But then I started I thought that maybe I'd like to try fiction. And so I I went to Avon books and applied to be a freelancer and they gave me a test and I passed it and I started doing Regency romance tests Adair, and Eloisa, James and people. And I also work with Kensington and see who else St. Martin's Press and truly the company that I write for. I

Elle 4:51
was truly, truly, truly I called it tool.

Nan 4:55
Okay. It looks like tool, but it's truly And so I do mostly romantic fiction now. Except SNP, similar interest, I do a variety of things for them. But

Elle 5:09
this okay, this is really cool. So with this is your sort of background now in terms of the proofreading, how do you feel that that's helped you in terms of your own writing?

Nan 5:22
Oh, I think it's been amazing for my own writing. Mostly, because I've, I've just read so many different authors because of, because of my work. And so you know, you always, you're always telling the well, not to, you know, not to write just like someone else, but to know different styles of writing and to, and to, you know, appreciate that. And, as a writer and an editor, I think being a writer, it's worked both ways. It's made me a better editor, because I have much more respect for author voice than I think a lot of editors do. I'm really not hardcore. If if you can show me that it's your voice to not use, you know, to not use contractions, for instance, I don't know why that would happen. But whatever. Some I'm trying to think of some inane grammar rule, and I can't think of one right now. But, you know, if you can show me that your voice doesn't actually apply to the grammar rule, then fine. Well, we'll keep it. And so, you know, I feel like respect for author voice is the most important thing I bring to the table as an editor. And I love that my editors feel the same way about my writing. So it kind of mutual, that's really cool.

Elle 6:35
Okay, so were you writing romance before you got the proofreading gigs? And the the editorial gigs? Or, or did you edit them and then say, okay, now I think I, in the process of doing this work, you're like, Okay, now I think I'm ready to write my own.

Nan 6:51
I actually had started writing my own before I began editing them. I was still editing nonfiction and general reference and that sort of thing. When I first started writing, when I when I first started trying to get published, okay, and writing forever. But when I first started to try to get published, I, I was still working on nonfiction. Okay. Eventually, I just realized, gosh, I could be having so much more fun with this job. No computer application books. Hmm. But not all that interesting.

Elle 7:24
Yeah, it sounds that sounds kind of painful. Actually. It is a little bit. So did you always know that you were going to write romance? Or had you tried out other genres?

Nan 7:36
I have never tried out other genres, although I thought about it, because I think cozy mysteries are a lot of fun. I know, right? Yeah, I really do think they are. And I have a friend who writes them. And he writes them so well. And I just, I really envy him that ability. I don't know that I'm creative. I don't know if I can. I don't know that I could make a mystery. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, I do. And one of my, one of my women of well obey books, we have a little bit of romantic suspense, a little bit of a mystery. And you wouldn't believe how hard that was to write. I wrote the whole thing. And then I had had, like, you know, 600,000 words, because I kept trying to put new stuff in and make it more interesting. And I didn't realize that the key to cozy mystery is there's one little thing, one little thing, and that makes the whole story. And you build up to that. I didn't understand that. So, but as far as romance is concerned, I need that happily ever after. Yeah, so yeah, you know, that's just, that's just who I've always been my whole life. And so I need that.

Elle 8:36
Um, it's, it's funny, I've had a bunch of authors on I've talked to a bunch of authors recently, who straddle like they're writing romance, but they're also writing cozy. So there seems to be a sort of, I don't know, fluid, you know, ebb and flow between the genres with with cozy writers and Romance Writers. So,

Nan 8:58
I think there is, um, I've, I've edited a lot of cozies for Kensington and for Tule, and I've done a couple for us and pay I think they're fun. They're, they're a blast to edit. And the big thing for me is, am I going to figure it out before I get to the end of the book on the first pass, and sometimes I don't and man that really rocks me. I love it.

Elle 9:25
That's so great. So when you okay, sorry, I got a backtrack here. I had another question for you in my head and it just kind of disappeared into the ether for a minute. What was your first romance that you read? Do you remember what it was?

Nan 9:45
Um, I would say, if you don't count the teen romances that we all read when we were in, you know, when we were 11 to 14, maybe the teenage type romances for me It was Rosa Mundi, Jordan and Mary Stoltz and Betty Cavanna. All those authors from the 50s and 60s because that's what the era that I grew up in. But my very first where I realized, Oh man, this guy is a romantic hero was when my mother read aloud to all four of us. There were four kids in my family, the harvester by Jean Stratton Porter. She's an Indiana author, and she's a she was a naturalist. But she was also a romance author. And her hero, David Langston in the harvester, which, if you haven't read it, you must It's actually free on Kindle. Oh, it was written in 1910 or 12 or so. Wow. Okay. But anyway, it is he was the most romantic work man in the world. And, and I just thought I was maybe that might have been 10 or 11. When mother read that to us. And I just swooned. I mean, literally, I thought this is, this is the perfect man. And it just made such an impression on me to the point that all my heroes are betas. David was a beta hero. He wasn't an out. But he was amazing that he was strong, and he was kind and he was gentle. And I don't know, I just I fell in love with him. And I still am. I reread the harvester every couple years just because I missed eight.

Elle 11:20
Oh, well, I'm a huge fan of the beta hero. I adore the beta hero. So I'm definitely going to give this a look. I mean, apart from him being the beta hero, like what else made him the most romantic man in the world.

Nan 11:33
He just was so he was so gentle about everything. He loved women. And he took care of the women in his life. A neighbor who was an older woman, he took care of her. He, he loves his mother, he took care of his mother, the woman that he waited for his whole life. And every year he would he would throw out to the universe. You know, if this is the year, I'm going to find her then show me a sign. And the first, the beginning of the book is that he gets the sign. And then he sees her in the train station. Oh, man. I mean, he sees her in a vision. And then he sees her in a train station. And he was her so sweetly. It's just, it's just makes you shiver.

Elle 12:23
I can feel like the big sigh coming right? Like Yeah. And so you are basically modeling your heroes after him?

Nan 12:33
A lot of them. Yes. Him and my husband who was also Oh, a beta hero. Oh, I love it. I love it.

Elle 12:40
Um, so what was it like to write your first romance novel?

Nan 12:46
Oh, man. It was, it was a little cathartic, and exciting, and scary, and fun, so much fun. Because all the stuff that had been in my head was suddenly coming out the end of my fingers, you know, and it was really fun. And man, it was awful.

Elle 13:08
Well, now, rule number one was your first published book, but that doesn't mean it was your first bow.

Nan 13:13
No, not by a longshot. I have, I have boxes of manuals manuscripts up in my closet that no one will ever see ever. But Rule Number One actually came as a result of my having written Once More From the Top and send it to an agent and the agent. She was a lovely woman, but she just could not sell it because of the ages of the characters in in once more from the top, they The heroine is 40 The heroes 45. And there's a secret baby, except the secret baby is 15 years old. And so she has kept this child from him for 15 years. And it's I think it's a great story personally. And it's sold well. So apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that. But my agent said to me try writing something more with younger people and you know, and hotter. So I I wrote Rule Number One, and it got published before the book of my heart got published.

Elle 14:19
Okay, we'll figure we're so talking about the age thing and romance because this is a whole big conversation that I think we're gonna spend a lot of time on. But before we get to that, I want to know about Rule number One when she said make it hotter. Now, do you write any door open scenes or are you door close the whole way?

Nan 14:45
In Rule Number One, the doors open and all four of the women of all buy books, the doors open, okay. But when Tule invited me to write a series for them, they said to me, you can do anything you want. It can The door open, it can be door closed, the only thing we ask is that it's consistent from book to book. So if you start in the first book, with the door open, then the doors gonna have to be open in all four books, or all three books or however many you have in your series. And I really had used up most of my hotness, I guess. And so when I sat down to write the first book in, in the for Irish brothers winery series, I thought, I think I'll play and see if I can do it with making it sensual and sexy. And the attraction is there. And man, you know, they're going to do this, but not actually write the sex. And man, it was great. I loved it. It was it really was freeing for lack of a better term, because it is hard for me to write it. It's, there's just so many ways you can do things, you know what I mean?

Elle 15:55
Right, right. Okay, so what makes it hard do you think for you to write the door open?

Nan 16:01
I think the language I can't, I'm not good about using the graphic language that a lot of and now I you know, I have no problem with reading it or, you know, I edit it all the time. It's not anything that's but I just I have a problem using the words do you know what I mean? It Well, it's

Elle 16:21
not in your personal lexicon, right. Like it's just not Yeah, it's not what you feel comfortable saying like I totally get it. Yeah. Yeah.

Nan 16:29
And I'm you know, I'm pretty I'm pretty ordinary to come up with this stuff is not I really worked hard. That was the hardest part of writing the

Elle 16:44
women of elevate. It was writing this steamy most writing the

Nan 16:47
steamy moments. Yes. Not that not the sensual moments, not the Wow. Moments when you're first when you first see that or your first kiss. I love writing those those are wonderful. But but to write the the really graphic sex is hard for me. How long and I really don't I actually I don't really ride any graphics sex so but even the even the sex scenes that are open door in illimitable obey aren't terribly graphic. So like, how would you approach

Elle 17:19
it with knowing that you have your own sort of like discomfort with it? Like, I'm just curious how you were able to kind of get over that hump and actually write up

Nan 17:29
you know, I just, you just like plow through it. That's it. You know, I just I just kind of, you know, close my eyes and said, Okay, what is this gonna look like? Yeah, and then I described it. And apparently, it worked. Because the scenes the scenes do work, I won't deny that at all. They do work. And if somebody said to me, I need you right now to write me a really open door sex scene. I can do it. But it it makes me you know, more me. I don't know any other way to describe it. You know, it's, it's funny, because people when I say that I'm a romance novelist. You know, the first thing you get is that little quirky eyebrow. Yeah, nudge and the wink wink, you know, and immediately they bring up famous books that are, you know, hot, hot, hot. And then they always give my husband a look like, wow, you lucky dude. Yeah.

Elle 18:29
I swear, I think that's my favorite. I mean, like

Nan 18:35
you know, we're just two people.

Elle 18:39
And they never think of the flip side of that, which is if we're spending our days getting our characters into bed, sometimes it's the last thing we want to think about when we're actually going to our own beds. Like this is a very real thing.

Nan 18:53
Yeah, there's that too. Yeah. So you know, you just got to, and I'm, I am more romantic than sexy, I guess.

Elle 19:01
Yeah. Okay, I can, okay. Okay. But I can

Nan 19:05
do it. I can do it if I need to do it. So. And it didn't get

Elle 19:08
easier with each book that because you have a few books here that are door open.

Nan 19:12
No, it did not get easier. I thought it would. L I really thought that it never did get easier. And when I first when I wrote that first book that didn't have it in it. It was like this huge sigh of relief like this giant weight had been lifted off me. Wow. So Well, now

Elle 19:32
that you were the publisher, like I mean, I know never say never but like now that you're the publisher that's like, door open door close. Doesn't matter. Do what you want. Do you feel like you'll ever go back to door open? Are you kind of like Yeah, I'm good with that. I just want to write sweet now.

Nan 19:48
I wouldn't be surprised if I did. But I will say this if if my publisher whom I just had the greatest respect for Jane Porter and my and my editor Sinclair Sanae and I mean, these women are brilliant. They're brilliant writers, they're brilliant marketers, they know this business inside out. And if they tell me, you know, you got to stand on your head tomorrow, I'd say how long? Right? Because they're so smart. They're just so incredibly smart. And if they said to me, you know, maybe you need to bump it up a little bit, I would probably do it. Which sounds like I don't have my own mind about things. But I do. Because I know and trust these people. And you know, what they I know, they also that they would never say that to me, because part of what sells my Tooley books is the fact that they are sweet, small town romance, right. And they all happen in the same small town and people, you know, at the end of the forage brothers series, people were like, We want more, we want more. And so you know, and none of the people who said that said, we want more sex, they said.

Elle 20:57
Nobody said, We want more sacks. Well, I am kind of okay. This is, this is such a fascinating conversation like I'm so I'm so like, kind of awed by this. I think one of the things that I think it's worth noting is that, even when you're writing door open, you said, you don't really write graphics. So you have your own way of writing door open to and your own voice. So I think that that's something that should not be confused with your writing something you don't want to write necessarily, or, you know, because you are writing kind of what the market demands, but in your own way.

Nan 21:37
I think that's a good way to put it. Yeah.

Elle 21:39
Yeah. Yeah. Because that that's, that's kind of where like, My head went when you were sort of talking about it. Because I think that it is this like weird balance that we we have we're genre writers. And genre is basically kind of mass market, I guess, for lack of a better word, you know, we are reaching a lot of readers, and we have to write what they want to read. And my understanding is right now, the pendulum has swung back to sweet. Really, yeah, that's been that's been my understanding. That's what I've been hearing is that, you know, we've done that sort of 50 shades. Uber graphic sex. Yeah. And now that pendulum is moving to small town sweet, and that's what people want to read.

Nan 22:25
Well, and I think that for me, especially, it would be very false if I tried to do it. I mean, I think that if somebody if I wrote a really graphic sexing, that had lots and lots of, you know, gynecology and language in it, I think people would recognize immediately that I was faking it, you know? Yeah. Yeah, you can't tell, but I think you can. And I think I would, I don't think I could be true to myself, or true to my readers, if I tried to pull that off. Right? Or true to the characters are? Absolutely, yeah. Yeah.

Elle 22:59
I'm actually a little battle, like right now with somebody who's an anthology, and that a friend of mine has put together and it's not romance. And I started an urban fantasy, and this kind of straddles urban fantasy and romance. And I'm not sure what way I want to go with this series. But it's just kind of like, a novella that I'm sort of trying out. And he wants me to get sexier. And I'm like, Ah, not feeling it for this character.

Nan 23:30
Yeah, it's got to be it's got to be true to the character or it's not going to work.

Elle 23:34
Yeah. Yeah. Like, he's really like, Oh, you didn't put that thing in? I was really hoping you'd put that thing in. And I was like, Yeah, I tried. And it just wasn't working. And he's like, Well, could you try again, maybe? And I'm like, Yeah,

Nan 23:46
I guess like,

Elle 23:47
I'll give it another shot. But I just don't know that that's her, you know, I don't know that she's, I don't know that she's gonna feel all slinky and sexy. And, you know, after what just transpired. And so yeah, I don't know. You know, it's just, it was like, it's not really feeling within the character, you know, the character

Nan 24:04
and my, you know, my, my sweet romances, these characters are, are hungry for each other. And there's no question about that in the book. So, you know, it's just that we're not going to watch it happen.

Elle 24:17
That's all. Right. Right. Well, I think one of the things that I know, that you had wanted to talk about is the idea of writing sexy and versus writing sex. I think this is a good a good way to sort of transition into that conversation. Because they do think that that's what we're talking about. There is a sensuality, like to the scene that you sent me there was no sex happening, but there was definitely a sensuality there between both the hero and the heroine. Um, that you know, that was really palpable and and there but there was no sacks.

Nan 24:51
Yeah, yeah, I, I really, I really have a good time writing those, you know, those steamie for lack of a better term. Because that's not really what I write, but, you know, they, you can feel between them that that this is common. And they're going to, they're going to end up together, obviously. But the attraction is so strong. And that's what I really tried to get across, when I write those scenes. And it I, you know, not that I'm counting, but I tried to include, you know, three or four of those in each book. So that the the attraction, there's no question about what it is in, the one that I sent you is from the first book and in the new series, in the second book in the new series, the woman is ready, you know, let's, let's do this, let's just have sex, she wants to be a one night stand, and he doesn't. And so there's, you know, that's a conflict for them, because he really wants her, but he doesn't want her just for one night. And that's all she's offering at that point. And so, you know, the, the question of sex is very definitely in the books. And I try to write it, I try to write the attraction with as much sensuality as I can, without, you know, just falling over the edge and into bed. Because that's not what the books are. So

Elle 26:15
how do you write sensuality? How, like, what is it for you?

Nan 26:20
I think, for me, it's, it's about the characters owning their emotions. I mean, in the scene that I sent you, she says to him, what you're doing to me isn't fair. That's not fair. You're making yourself more attractive. And, you know, so I think that it's, it's about the characters owning their emotions, it's about and about. Using descriptions for lack of a better, I'm not I'm not doing this very well, using descriptions that show you what they're feeling inside the heat, the the longing, the ache, that you know what I mean. Right? Right. It's using those kinds of descriptors to bring to the reader what's happening inside the characters, mind and body.

Elle 27:12
And as a writer, how do you get how do you get there? I don't know if this this question is going to make any sense, right? Because I know for me, it is so hard for me to sort of put into words like that, that zone I go into when I'm writing these moments, it's begging you to put it into words for me.

Nan 27:32
Well, I think I think that if I've built to that, that that, that the feelings are there for me, if I've built up to that moment, like in the scene that I sent you, we built up to that moment, they've been on the back of that horse together. He's been pressed up against her for, you know, a while. Yeah, and they're on a horse bareback. So there's a lot of heat going on because of that, but also, you know, he they're just right. He's got his arms around her. You know, she's very aware of him. He's very aware of her. And there's also in that particular scene, and in that whole book, actually, there is a little a little. Like, this isn't something they're supposed to be doing, because they've made a bet that they're not going to flirt with each other. Hmm. And so, Valentine wager. And so, you know, here they are alone in this barn. And, you know, what happens? So I think that for me, it's the buildup, if I've built up to that scene, then I'm in the zone. Okay.

Elle 28:41
Okay, that makes total sense, right? Yeah. And it doesn't come as a surprise to anybody. No, yeah.

Nan 28:47
You see it building between the characters. Yeah. You know, something's gonna happen. Right? When you start that scene, the minute he gets on the back of the horse with our, he's never been on a horse before he scared to death. He's in his, he's in, you know, dress clothes. And they pull it put him up on the back of that horse. And he's clinging to her because he's scared. And fear turns into man. She's warm. She's nice.

Elle 29:16
Well, yeah, and I think this is a great way time to sort of segue into the other part that we want to talk about, because I think that, you know, I think that there's a misconception of like, What sweet romance is right? Because there are all they're like, kind of like they're they're all levels of steam. They're all levels of sweet. You know, where you have just sort of the, the one chaste kiss at the end to like you have multiple scenes of you know, something's going to happen after you just don't happen to see

Nan 29:44
it. Yeah.

Elle 29:48
And we're right, you're you're writing adults, and the sad part of an adult relationship and

Nan 29:55
an excellent point out that's an excellent point. Because I'm not writing to people, right out of high school or right out of college, right? People have lived that, you know, she's 33. He's she maybe she's 30? I can't remember. He's 33. She's 33. Two, I think they're, they're, you know, all my characters are older than 30. Okay, and most of them are almost 40. And so these are people who have lived a life. She had an affair with a guy in Ireland before she came to, to Indiana. She's, you know, she's no sweet little virgin. And neither is he, he has a reputation in town for being a real playboy. And so, you know, they're not. If they were not going to end up together before the end of the book. It's, it would surprise you, you know what I mean? The fact that sex rears its head in, in these books, it shouldn't surprise anyone they're older.

Elle 30:54
Right? Right. And like, Yeah, and so there is, I think, now a growing acceptance of having older characters and in romance, and I know I just wrote one, we're, my characters are late 30s, into like, mid 40s. And it was really well received by a number of older readers, who I've also found, surprisingly, seem to make up the majority of romance readers

Nan 31:32
are the demographic Yeah, by we, I mean, me. I'm a boy, we my age group of people between, you know, I'd say 45, to 100. Are Making makeup, the demographic of romance readers, we really are most of the romance readers in the country, we also the people with the money to buy books, and publishers missed that for a long time. Yeah. And they would turn down books like once more from the top. Because it was it was so frustrating to me and my and my agent, both because they would send her back a note and say, Wow, great voice love the writing. The heroines to all the heroes too old, the kid is too old. And I was like, I don't know how to write somebody who's 20 I'm sorry, I haven't been 20 in 45 years. I don't know how to do it. And I'm sure that 20 Now is way different than 20 was when I was 20.

Elle 32:34
Right? And do we really want to be 20? Again? I don't really know. Yeah, no,

Nan 32:38
no, no. So I think that they missed, they've just now are beginning to realize, and I'm so fortunate that my my publisher is just so open to whatever, you know, if you can tell a good story. She's there, you know, you tell a good story. She's there. And that's so wonderful. I love that about too early. I love being a truly author, I realized I sound like I'm nobody paid me to do promotion. I just love it so much there because they're so supportive of their authors and, and they respect the fact that love grows. Yeah, love changes love ages. Right. And it's different for, you know, like the one I just finished is about the third Lange brother. And he's a fireman, and he's divorced, and he's almost 40 years old. And he's totally reacting totally different to being in love than his 30 year old brother did. Yeah. And so, you know, we have to recognize that characters and books change and grow just like people. Really.

Elle 33:49
You know, and I do think we're sort of seeing that sort of tide turn and pop culture because I think I don't know that the industry had so many issues with the older heroes. But I think that they really had the issues with the older hair. Parents. I think that they had the issue with the older woman and I'm hoping that pop culture tide is turning with like, Kate Winslet winning the Emmy for her role in America, East town. You know, Jean smart for hacks, which is, by the way to the most wonderful TV series I've seen in a very long time.

Nan 34:19
I haven't seen either of them, but I adore Jean. Jean smart. I loved her. And I don't know if you ever saw Designing Women. Oh, I'm

Elle 34:25
on repeat.

Nan 34:27
Oh, my goodness. She was just amazing. And that I thought that Lauren Graham in in Gilmore Girls. Yeah. And then again, parenthood amazing, amazing stories, and, you know, women in their 40s Yeah, and, you know, and I think there's there's a little thing in this in, especially in American pop culture that says we don't want to know that grandma has sex. Right, you know, yes. Sorry. Grandma has sex. Yeah. And what is interesting about it doesn't seem to bother them the concept of grandpa mites

Elle 34:58
No, no, no, but We, I think sort of like you hit like, you know, I always go back to that sort of like maiden mother Crone, you know, and and that thing, looking at that and you're sort of like the maid and the mother and then once you get through mother and I don't know, at what point you no longer be, I don't know if like when your kid is 12 or when your kid is 18

Nan 35:21
I don't know, my kids 42. And

Elle 35:27
you know, once you sort of hit like, and really I think it's sort of once you hit mother, like you're no longer a, like a sexual being. And I'm not saying that it's sexualized because they do think women are sexualized, I think no matter how old no matter how old, yeah,

Nan 35:42
exactly, yes. They just don't want to think about that.

Elle 35:45
But having agency and find pleasure, and you know, a sensual pleasure. There's, there's a real sort of issue that comes with that.

Nan 35:56
Yeah, there is there is and, and I think that's a terrible shame. My insects in the widow miles, Julie is 52. And she's becoming a grandmother for the first time. And the guy she ends up with is younger than her. Oh, he is he is so drawn to her. And I She's beautiful, of course, because everybody's beautiful. But I think that the reason he was so drawn to her was because she needed him so much. And he recognized that immediately, immediately saw that he was going to be the person who was going to bring her out of the depression she had fallen into over the death of her husband of 30 years. Wow. And, and he did, he did a fabulous job. But she was she had a hard time owning who she was. Because so much of who she was was related to her husband, her previous husband who passed away. It was really hard for her to stop being Mrs. Dr. Charles miles and become Julie. And so, you know, I think that part of that book, that journey was, I think, a journey that every woman my age, I think you're probably a lot younger than me, but every woman my age has to go through, we have to go through that time of thinking, where what is my identity? And not just sexually but in every way.

Elle 37:26
Right? Right. Yeah. And I think particularly with an I mean, I know I am a little younger than you. And so there is a sort of slight divide between, like when my mom like, for example, with my mom, I mean, she really, she really did stick her identity to being a wife and a mom. And that was and that was where she went, you know, I think that my generation was sort of a little bit removed from that. I know, yes, we're few less of a stay at home, more of us ended up with careers. I never took my husband's last name. Much to his chagrin, I was like, I am too lazy to go through this process. I am too busy to go. The kid can have your name, but I'm not changing mine.

Nan 38:15
Yeah. I totally understand. Yeah, we're just

Elle 38:19
gonna, you know, it just was it's, it was it's kind of like a different sensibility. So I can see that sort of like how, how once that's been severed? Like that's, that's kind of an identity crisis. And how do you move through that?

Nan 38:31
It is it is. And I think that because of I think that I think that goes back to the whole sex thing that you know, people don't want to read. They don't. I think that publishers think that readers won't identify with that crisis. And I think for a lot of us who are writing books with older characters? I know, my friend Liz Flaherty, who writes the most amazing books, oh, my God, they're gorgeous, gorgeous. She has the most incredible voice. She writes, women who have, who have had to restart their lives because husbands died or husbands left her or something like that. And they've had to restart their lives and re identify who they are. Not just not. And that includes sexually. Yeah. And so I think that these books are timely, because there are so many readers who are in the, in that position. Maybe they're not divorced or widowed, but they're, they're at a place where their kids have grown, and they're not mom all the time anymore. And you know, maybe their career is coming to a point where they're not going to be working all the time, or they're going to be working less and, and I just think that that, you know, men retire and their life becomes you know, I don't know, golf or whatever. Right? And I think women have a harder time with that. And I think some of these books that are being written about the women are, are not just looking at the sex aspect, or the romance aspect or the second chance aspect, but about them, you know, refining themselves for lack of a better term.

Elle 40:12
Right? Yeah, cuz I think that there is sort of, you know, very real consequences of ageing as a woman in terms of like, almost being forced out of your job, or, you know, and again, I think that you've brought brought a great point up to is we've, you know, spent 18 years being a mom. And then the kid goes, and you're sort of, and there's, there's a bit of a hole there. And you're kind of like my Yes, you know, have to reestablish who you are now as an as somebody with an adult child? And what does that mean? And how does that relationship change? And how does the relationship with yourself change. And I think that we experience and explore so much through romance I know with, you know, romance with younger characters, even, you know, finding themselves figuring out life, even, you know, I had a great conversation with Bethany Bennett about, you know, healing from an abusive marriage, you know, getting out of an abusive marriage through reading romance books, and what that means. And I think that there really is something to say about it being a mirror and a reflection to us, the society at large. And, you know, maybe it's not something that you specifically going through the same thing, but there are echoes there.

Nan 41:27
I think you're right, I think you're right. And, and the people who say that, that romance novels, teach women unrealistic fantasies are full of it. I think romance novels teach people that love happens, and that it can happen at anytime, anywhere, anyplace and it doesn't age and you know, you don't age out of being in love. You don't, you know, or you're not, and truthfully, You're not too young to be in love. You know, love is love is always there. And, and I think that they, you know, to fall into the Hga of a romance novel is a good thing. Good thing for anybody.

Elle 42:09
Yeah, absolutely. Love this conversation. Cool. Okay, I want to dig into your intimate seating. All right. So this is from the Valentine wager, which is book one in the length brothers series, and it is coming out February 1 2022. So we've basically got the first look. Oh. Could you set this up for us?

Nan 42:41
Well, she Kitt has Boynton has moot has come to America. She's getting over a really awful love affair. from Ireland. She's come from Ireland, and she's helping her cousins who own the four Irish brothers winery, she has for four male cousins who have this winery together. And she's come to help them be their marketing person. And they're trying to expand the winery into more of a venue. I mean, a winery, but also, you know, do do events and things there. And so she's there to help them do that. And he, the hero is Riker Lange, and he's a police lieutenant. And he gets a call from somebody on the road that says this woman is driving erratically on the wrong side of the road. And so he goes out and he finds or any any pulls her over. And that's how they meet. And she tries to convince him that the whole country is driving on the wrong side of the road. And she's driving on the right side of the road. But eventually they figure out that she from she's from Ireland, and she was just driving on the wrong side of the road. But they have a just an immediate attraction. And he's just just bowled over by her, which is a new experience for him because normally he's the bowler not the bully. And so they have a few encounters. And in one of them, she says to him, I'm not interested in, in being involved with you, you know, I've done the Playboy thing. I'm not doing it again. And I've got to focus here on my career and focus on getting my green card and focus, you know, I've got too much to do, I can't do this. And I don't want to get my heart broken again. And he's and so they make a bet that you know, he's she's an incorrigible flirt, and so is he. And they make a bet that they won't flirt for three weeks with each other. And if she wins, he has to make amends to someone's heart he broke. And if if he wins, she has to be estate for the Valentine dance at the winery. So Whoa. And what's kind of fun about the bet is that the whole town gets involved in the bet. I'm just gonna leave that there though. Okay, there's a bunch of fun seems with the town and in the bed. Anyway, she's she, she grew up on a horse farm and she meets a woman in town who has a horse farm and the woman invites her out to ride. So she goes out to ride one day. And he's there because the woman's tack room has been broken into, and all our packets can stolen. And so they are together, they're helping this woman, you know, with this little mystery of what happened to attack, and they have to ride out into a field because there's no way to get to the field because it's cold and wet and muddy. It's January and in Indiana, and taking the car back there won't work and taking the truck back there won't work because her truck is not working anyway. So they get on horses and he's never been on a horse before. And so he rides behind her bareback on this real gentle nag that the woman has and so this scene that you're reading happens after they've been out in the field looking for how the fetus got into the barn. Okay, that was really complicated. I'm sorry.

Elle 46:08
No, that was a great setup and I hope I learned a few things which was fantastic. Okay. Kitt road Jasper Up next is stall Thank you can hop off. Suddenly the distance to the ground seemed way further than it had when he'd had his arms around her in the field. When his focus had been divided between the damage that these had done to trees pasture and the sweet citrus scent of kids shampoo. He hadn't noticed how high up he was. Sure, he is down at the rubber matted floor. You want to get down first. She gave him a smile over her shoulder. Nope. Urine back. I ended up kicking in the head. If I dismount first scooching forward on Jasper's neck. She held out one hand here. Scoot back on his butt. grabbed my hand, pull your right leg over and slide down. Don't kick me. He hesitated for a few more seconds screwing up his courage. Look, Lieutenant, the floor is rubber. If you fall on your horse, the worst that can happen is you'll bounce right back up again. She chuckled. But there wasn't a moment of meanness and a warm gaze. And maybe you'll get a bit of horsehair in your nice clean trousers which probably have dirt on the seat by now anyway. Well dust you off I promise you offering to pat down my butt. Miss Boynton with a determined breath right reached for her hand, brought his leg between them over Jaspers wide back and slid off landing gracefully on his feet. However, he didn't release her hand instead he tugged on it gently then caught her in his arms as she hopped off the horse. That's the best offer I've gotten since you sashayed a straight line for me in the post office parking lot. He held her loose, lazy grant giving her plenty of opportunity to slip to the side. She didn't. Rather she stood in the circle of his arms, Jasper's rein, in one hand, the other clutching right shoulder, her teeth worried her lower lip that she gaze into his face. Her expression unreadable, heart pounding, mouth dry, he licked his lips, he was playing with fire, but he couldn't pull his eyes from our face or drop his arms couldn't. No wouldn't let the moment and I love this setup. It was so awkward with her. And then he kind of found his groove and started flirting. And I really love it when the guy gets all twisted and tongue tied, you know, and kind of like, well, I don't know what I'm doing, you know, because that never really seems to happen. You know, so it's actually nice to see it play out.

Nan 48:31
My heroes get tongue tied a lot. You know, it's I don't think that all men always know exactly what to say. Yeah, you know, and we, we have a tendency that the fantasy men that they do, right, and none of mine do, because they're all you know, from my head. And I always I never know what to say.

Elle 48:55
Oh, it's, it's great. Because, like, they're in a very awkward situation. And sort of, he's feeling it very clearly. He's feeling very awkward, you know, and yeah, and she's enjoying this.

Nan 49:07
Oh, she's having a ball. You know, she's written her whole life. And he had never been on the horse. And he had to confess that earlier in the, in the scene, he had to confess that he never been on a horse before. And it just made her feel so empowered. Yeah, you know, Henri, but there you go. And, you know, he while he was out in the field riding with her, he relaxed and he really got it got into being so close to her and then he had to get off the horse and he's like, Oh, no, you know, I don't know how to do this.

Elle 49:39
A whole new moment of panic to somebody who's never ridden a horse before, you know, and he seems a little citified.

Nan 49:44
Yeah, he is pretty satisfied.

Elle 49:48
With his fancy trousers.

Nan 49:52
Nice trousers. And it was I'll tell you a little something about writing kit. She's from Ireland. And so I had To make sure that that was clear by how she spoke, and yet I did not want her brogue to overtake her dialogue. Yeah. And so I read some really good articles about writing. People who, for whom English is not their first language. And one of the things they said was, you know, you sneak it in there. She says trousers instead of pants, right? You know, she's but I don't I tried not to let her brogue interfere too much with who, with what she had to say, I guess. Yeah,

Elle 50:35
I ended up writing a lot of Brit characters. And so it is about just kind of word choice RS instead of ass. Yeah, you know, boot for trunk, you know? Because, and sometimes it can be a little bit cadence. Or there can be slightly slightly with the cadence but, but it's really just, it's really just the word choice and maybe sometimes kind of, like, slight rearrangement of words. I guess that maybe we don't necessarily say like American eyes, but it's a little bit more reddish, I guess, you know, like,

Nan 51:09
interestingly, I've done a lot of americanizing as part of my job. Oh, of course, you have. Yeah, I've done that for Harper Collins several times, British books that that were, you know, written in England, sold in England, published in England and sold in England and then brought over here and I had to go through and Americanize and what they told me to do was if you don't recognize the word or if you don't, if even if you know it contextually, but it's not a word that you would use, change it, right. And so And of course, the spelling, you know, like color, right, you know, bigger and cut words that have extra you. And so writing her was not quite as hard as I thought it was going to be simply because I'd have that experience, right of taking that away. So,

Elle 51:56
so then you just let it sort of slide it back. And you just have to kind of remember like, I know that my editor caught caught a few like, Don't you mean ours here? And I'm like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I do. Yeah. I do mean are not asked. Okay, I'm gonna keep going. Okay. Can't close her eyes. Then open them again. Just as quickly. You're flirting. I know his response was raspy. What am I supposed to do when you look at me like that she dropped the reins and put her other hand against his chest. Jasper stood there perfectly still trapping the two of them between his big long, warm body in the stall. Rise shivered when she put one gloved hand on his cheek and he struggled not to turn his face and presses lips to her leather in case POM. He'd never been so enamored of a woman in his life. The attraction was fierce, visceral, longing to know her that swept through him every single time they encountered one another. Back at your IRA she whispered, covering her hand with his she had elegant hands with long fingers. He was hungry to kiss, maybe even draw the tips of them into his mouth. She was so close. You could taste her breath, oranges and coffee and something else sweet. She hadn't moved away from him. But now she was gripping the front of his Parker. Do you think this is why as Lieutenant I mean, the whole town is betting on us. And she let her words trail off as she wet her lips. He wasn't sure which of them was actually trembling. One of them was or maybe both who knew? Probably not. It has catastrophe written all over it. But here's the thing. This time he did turn his head and kiss her palm. I just I can't. Dammit, Kathleen. God, this is so slow and sexy and beautiful.

Nan 53:44
Thank you. It was really slow. I've never heard anybody else read it before so yeah, it's slow.

Elle 53:52
You know, you're just like, oh my god, this girl.

Nan 53:56
That's what you want to do in a sweet romance. Right? Yeah. I mean, I hate to use my own my own writing is perfect example. But that slow build you know?

Elle 54:06
Yeah. And this was it. I mean, it was just like, Oh my God, when are they going to you know, and I and I was like, Oh, now this is an example of writing sexy. Yeah. And you can you can you could actually like through through the language feel that sort of magnetism going on between them where you can like they're getting close or like you like you can almost see it you know they're getting closer and closer and heads are dipping and twisting you know, like they're gonna do this they're gonna do this. Yeah. One last little bit and, and this is now from kids point of view. The Kiss was everything kid had fantasized about Riker land since the first morning when he'd peered into her car window, easy and gentle at first than building an urgent See until she was drowning in his lips his arm around her his gloved hand holding her steady. As you ravaged her mouth, how could she not respond? All in all, it was a remarkable kiss. His lips were soft, their tongues tangled in a thrust and parry that left her breathless. When he finally lifted his mouth the hunger and stormy eyes made her toes crawl inside her riding boots to your garden heaven how I want him. I got me to the rest of his forehead against her as his breathing uneven. It was impossible to tell whether it was his heart or her she thought something through the layers of clothing between them. A flurry of expressions chased across his face before settling on a quiet upturn of his lips, a contradiction of arrogance and vulnerability that disarmed her completely. Oh, God, and you can kiss too. She gasped. When she realized she'd said the words out loud. Fingers play splayed against his Parker, she pushed away from him. Why are you deliberately making yourself more attractive to me? How is that fair? Oh, then you end it. How is that fair? I love that I actually really like the difference in cadence between the two. The two moments like there's a different pacing here. Between the two of them.

Nan 56:16
Yeah, there is. He's he. She is just trying to figure it out. And he's just in he's so in it, you know? Yeah. And she's just she's she's analyzing for lack of a better term.

Elle 56:30
Yes. And I actually put like, yeah, like, his. His head. Yeah. Like, she slowed it down. Like you could feel he was kind of speeding it up. Like he was just like, yes. Like, it was almost like a train with him where you could it was picking up the pace. And she had to stop and think about it and be like, Oh, my God, what are we doing here? And no, I do want to be here right now. Yes, I do. But wait a minute. This. You know, there was there was some doubt going on there too, that I thought was really um, that really came through that sort of like weird like, I want him. Yeah. And what am I doing? And, and oh, God, is this the right thing? I hope this is the right thing. You know, that sort of thing.

Nan 57:10
Yeah, she was. She was very unsure ended. And the cool thing about writing a scene like this is you can stop right there. Because what happens next night and put it in there for you. But what happens next is Trudy comes in the bone. Oh, foiled. And they're, and it's over. And she goes, she goes, kit goes in and starts shoveling poop. And he talks to Trudy for a minute about the robbery and that what he's going to do and then he says to her, what you what you just saw, she goes, she goes, Hey, I didn't see a thing. She goes and I'm gonna keep it that way if you can find my stuff for me.

Elle 57:48
Right, because they put this bet the town isn't on this bat. And yeah.

Nan 57:53
Wow. You know, he liked it. Neither of them have lost it yet. Because they're both in the same position. Okay, so you know, it's kind of funny. And there are several scenes where the town is the town is involved. And there's there's one really fun scene I love riding this scene in the bar where she just gets furious with the town. Because they've now they've got money on it.

Elle 58:20
Oh, my big to the waitress got I got pretty big. Really? Yeah.

Nan 58:31
They're big enough to make her really furious. She didn't want to be bet on like a horse. You know, of course, of course. So

Elle 58:40
this is so great. Yeah, I've actually I'm working on a small town. And it's my very first and I know that the town itself. And the Crickey people that make up the town are kind of like really important characters. And so it's just trying to sort of figure out that, you know, what are the town's quirk quirks who are the quirky characters? You know, I always think Gilmore Girls is actually a really great example. Oh, it's small town.

Nan 59:03
You know, that is one of my Gilmore Girls was you know, my inspiration for for River's Edge. Actually, there's a town in Indiana. That is the actual inspiration but but the feel of starts Hollow is the feel I wanted for riversedge and the town after four books, and I've got six more coming in the town. After four books, the town becomes a character. Yeah, you know, it's just you just people are like, oh, I want to know what happened to so and so you know. And now I've got this vet that I've got to find a secondary romance for because he he turned up in this. He turned up in the second book, he played a bigger role in the third book and now I'm like, but he's, there's too much of an age difference between him and the next three characters in the next three books. So he can't be a romantic interest for any of the main characters. So I've got to find him a story because he needs one.

Elle 59:57
I love that. It's so funny because as I've read And I get deeper into the series. And I know some people have their series planned out in advance, they know it's going to be however many books and they know who it's going to be about and all that. I am just such a discovery writer that I couldn't even tell you who's going to be my next book. And, you know, so many people are always like, Oh, the series is over. And I'm like, No, it's not. I just couldn't put like a teaser, because I don't know who it's gonna be. Yeah.

Nan 1:00:21
This when I got done with the flourish brothers, I had ideas for other people. And the legs were in the for Irish brothers book. So Lang brothers. And so I said to my editor, you know, I would love to write their stories. And she's like, great, do it. And then the weavers who are is a sister's book, she said, Would you be interested in writing a sister's book? And I'm like, sure, I had two sisters. I couldn't do that. And so the next series that I'm starting, like now is three sisters. And they own the marina in town. And so they've been in the previous books. And so it's, it's kind of fun. When people will write me and say, Hey, are you going to write a story for you know, Eli, the linemen, you know, write a story for, you know, like, Sure. So, you know, I have no idea how many River's Edge books are going to be coming along. Right now. There's six more coming. But who knows? Wow, maybe more. It's fun. I'm having a ball in this town. And, you know, I figure as long as I'm having fun, and they are, why not.

Elle 1:01:29
And I do finally have a much older couple like 50s that I think I'm going to start working with to in my, in my, in my rockstar series, which I think is going to be really fun for readers. And I'm really, I'm actually getting very excited about that. Because I didn't want to write you know, an older, even older than 40. Like, I think that that's there's something I think there's something really great about that. I think there's something also really important.

Nan 1:01:54
I'll tell you I love writing Julie, because she was 52. And she was going through menopause.

Elle 1:02:00
Yes.

Nan 1:02:03
You know, she's trying to decide if what she's feeling for this guy. If it's a hot flash, warm first form.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:11
And also, how has sex changed? Yeah, yeah, cuz it does. Yeah, change. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Oh,

Nan 1:02:19
you'll have fun with that.

Elle 1:02:20
Oh, yeah. I'm really excited about it. I didn't realize how excited but because I know I brought it up, like, a couple books ago with my editor, and she was less enthusiastic. And I was like, What the hell was it? I'm doing it

Nan 1:02:33
anyway. Good. Good. You know, especially she's right, what you want? Yeah.

Elle 1:02:38
Especially looking at the demographics of who's reading my books. They're not. They're not 22. I love it that they want to read about the 22 year olds I write. But you know, I want to be more reflective of them and their experience for sure.

Nan 1:02:51
I think that's important. Yeah. And it's you, the older you get, the less inclined you're gonna be to write really young people. Honestly, honestly, I do not know how to write someone who's 22 It's been too long. I even have to ask my 42 year old son, is this a dorky word? Or oh, he was the one who said don't say, what was I can't remember what the word was. asshat I had used the word asshat. And he said, mom tried to share something else. I'm

Unknown Speaker 1:03:19
like, okay, really ask that. We can't say asshat anymore.

Nan 1:03:23
Not if you're 22. Wow.

Elle 1:03:26
Yeah, don't say that. Really saying that are though.

Nan 1:03:28
Oh, he's a douche. And I had to call my daughter in law and say, okay, she wants to say, Hey, you, idiot, or something like that. So what's the word I use? She goes punk. That's like, okay. Oh, in this book, I just finished she calls him a punk. Like, okay,

Elle 1:03:48
that's excellent. That's, I know, cuz language changes.

Nan 1:03:52
Yeah. And this was 30 year old. I mean, this wasn't really young people. But, you know, she said, she said no, with a 30 year old woman say that that's too old. She was try something else. Like you tell me and she was telling me call them up punk. Like, okay.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:07
Oh my god. That's fascinating. I know. I haven't really thought about that. Now. I'm gonna have to pay a little bit more attention to that.

Nan 1:04:14
You know, words change.

Unknown Speaker 1:04:15
They do. Yeah.

Elle 1:04:19
So you have the three blank books coming out in 2022? Yes. Weaver sisters coming in. 2023

Unknown Speaker 1:04:24
Yep. You are busy.

Nan 1:04:28
I am a writing tool.

Elle 1:04:32
So where can authors find you on the internet? Where do you like to hang out?

Nan 1:04:37
Well, I hang out on Facebook. Okay, um, I have a Facebook pages then Reinhardt. I really make life easy because everything's Nan Reiner. My Twitter is at Nin Reinhardt. My Instagram is Nan Reinhardt. and my website is Nan Reinhardt calm.

Elle 1:04:54
Excellent. And all of this will be in the show notes so people will be able to find you as well as a link To the Valentine wager. Yeah, cuz you can preorder the Valentine wager right now. Excellent. I know I'm so excited, man, thank you so much for being here. It was so great to talk to you.

Nan 1:05:11
Thank you. I really enjoyed it. It was good to talk to you too

Unknown Speaker 1:05:15
good and come back anytime. Thank you I wants to promote so

Nan 1:05:20
I was gonna say I will be back to talk to you about the rest of the length. Probably the weavers.

Elle 1:05:26
Good and we'll have new scenes to read, which I love doing. Oh, fabulous.

Nan 1:05:29
You read it. Great. I love it. Thanks, man. Thank you

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