The 2013 Victoria Women’s Show was not only promoting happy and healthy living but also, unbeknownst to them, that of the romance reader persuasion.
I was there to help staff the booth for the Vancouver Island Chapter of Romance Writers of America, promoting not only our chapter but the romance fiction genre and its authors, as well. We gave away over 300 romance novels, the majority of them written by our own local authors. Prizes, candies, bookmarks and information about our chapter were distributed, and many conversations were had with the passing curious – what do we do, how do we do it, and why?
Because we love the romance genre, we love a good story, and we love to write, was our answer.
And in talking with readers, especially those we were trying to tempt with one of our novels, they all said the same thing when it came to discussing what they look for in a book: ‘It has to be a good story.’
And what fuels a good story is imagination.
Setting, along with how characters look, dress and act, all play a part in the world the writer is trying to create and the world the reader is trying to escape to.
And on that day I, along with a fellow writer, would get to pretend - to imagine - we were a character right out of a historical romance novel - by having our hair done into a romantic up-do.
When not chatting with prospective romance readers at our booth, I was planning what to do at the show after my shift. Would I seek-out the local firefighters who were promoting their calendar (yum), or would I stalk soap opera star, Michael....from the Young and the Restless during his guest appearance? Both were perfect inspiration for romance fiction!
Aromatherapy oil scents wafted around me from nearby booths while I plotted who I would stalk first, when around the corner came Jacqui Nelson, historical fiction author, sporting an up-do to end all up-do’s. With her hair pinned up in a swirl of curl, all she would have to do would be to put on a dress reminiscent of the era of her current novella, Adella's Enemy (August 2013) and she might as well have been on the cover of her own book!
I had only just seen her 45 minutes before, her hair down like mine, and suddenly – a changed woman! After my oogling and fawning over her ‘do,’ she, along with Jodie Esch (Little White Lies – April 2013), told me – no URGED me – to go to the booth by the Richard Mar Hair Academy. They were giving away free up-do’s during the show as part of their promotion, and within twenty minutes a prospective client could have her hair flipped up, twirled around and curled to perfection with a sure hand and nimble bobby-pinning fingers.
My writer-friends didn’t just urge me to go get my hair stylishly coiffed, they all but kicked me out of our booth!
So waving farewell to not only my writing colleagues, I made my way to the Richard Mar booth.
I was excited and nervous - yet skeptical. My hair, thicker and straighter than my friend Jacqui’s, could never be twisted and turned into a ‘do’ as elegant as hers.
I perched in the chair and my stylist, Niki, got to work. I was sure she would throw up her hands in despair, “I can’t do a THING with this girl’s hair!”
20 minutes later Niki asked for the camera I held in prayer in my sweaty hands. After a final squirt of hairspray here, and a bobby-pin adjustment there (I would later count 51 bobby-pins), she snapped a photo and handed me my camera.
I looked and the screen and.....
I LOVED IT!
I got myself under control. No sense ruining my ‘look’ with blotchy, blood-shot eyes. With a hug and a few photos with Niki, off I went, carefully making my way through the crowds. I was eager to get back to our booth and show the girls my hair.
Needless to say, the hair survived the short trek to our booth. My writerly friends ‘oohed and aahed’ over my do, and Jacqui and I posed like the starlets we were for photos. And yes, Jacqui DID say she felt like one of her characters from her historical novel.
My hair survived the rest of the day and through to the next morning – I wore a kerchief around my head when I went to bed. My family of men were supportive, doing and saying all the right things – one said I looked like Princess Leia but better, and the other helped stage multiple photo-shoots of my hair so I could forever preserve the moment on film. The show was a success for our chapter and its authors, and for two of us, we looked and felt like the heroines in our stories.
Jacqui Nelson, Jodie Esch, Bonnie Edwards, Lee McKenzie
Susan Lyons, Me, Leanne Ihmels, Jacqui Nelson, Jodie Esch
Special shout out and thanks go to the staff at Richard Mar Advanced School of Hairdressing. Find them at 1675 Douglas Street in Victoria, BC, or visit their website at www.richardmarschool.com
For more information about the Vancouver Island Chapter of Romance Writers of America, visit www.vicrwa.ca