The Fiction Fact on Writing About Love
by Khaled Talib
I queried a UK book blogger a while back about the possibility of reviewing my newly released thriller, Gun Kiss. She agreed to read it, but it didn’t turn out well for me. The blogger was abusive in her review of my book, highlighting nothing positive about it. In fact, she even went to the extent of saying that it was not a book she would recommend to anyone. Yet she cared enough to publish the review on her blog, book cover and all. Why bother if you hate it that much?
Of course, I didn’t agree with the reviewer’s unsubstantiated comments even though the blogger was just one of the many reviewers that I had contacted. So, it’s not the end of the world. I am accustomed to receiving criticisms. And just like other authors, I have enjoyed my fair share of positive reviews. Gun Kiss was no exception as it also received praise from some renowned critics.
I could have responded to all her nitpicking, but I didn’t see the need because other reviewers and readers didn’t have problems with them. However, the blogger highlighted something that I felt compelled to write in this article in a counter-attempt to defend my writing. She complained that my protagonist fell in love with the co-protagonist “like instantly” after seeing her once. She added: “Had seen her once, when he rescued her and now he [sic] in love.”
If the reviewer had paid more attention to my words, she would have noticed the depth of the story. I had explained the protagonist’s reaction when he first sees the co-protagonist, who happens to be a famous Hollywood movie star despite the circumstances they were both embroiled in. I explained the excitement and infatuation amidst chaos, then later some reflection of thoughts when the protagonist was in a better situation.
But really, what’s the problem with someone falling in love instantly? It’s not unnatural. Must the setting be languid and calm as opposed to a tense backdrop? I knew someone who fell in love with his wife instantly at university, then proposed to her after two weeks. I also know cases of men who got married within a day’s notice. Hell, I also read a newspaper article where a couple fell in love when they met at a funeral! Some people might fall in love slowly, but it can be lightning speed for others. What has time got to do with falling in love?
The one thing authors learn about the craft of novel writing is that the story must sound believable. It must sound real. To do that, all writers know that they must control their imagination while injecting information or facts that sound realistic albeit in the realm of fiction. While writing Gun Kiss, I didn’t stray from the lessons I’ve learned. I did no wrong in creating scenes where the protagonist expressed his love for the co-protagonist. In fact, I wrote those scenes reinforced by fact.
It was reported in the media that scientists claimed it takes only 8.2 seconds for a man to fall in love at first sight. Imagine that! Based on a study, they discovered that the longer a man’s gaze rests on a woman when they meet for the first time, the more interested he becomes. The report highlighted that if it lasts just four seconds, the person may not be all that impressed. But if it breaks the 8.2 second barrier, he could already be in love. There you go… I didn’t embellish my story. I was not even lazy in my description and I certainly did not go out of my way to produce the unbelievable. I wrote the novel based on possibilities by simply translating fact into fiction, according to acceptable standards. Now had I written a supernatural work of fiction, that would be an entirely different story. You could fall in love in two seconds by taking a pill or some injection in the world of science fiction.
I am not an expert in behavioral science, but I am aware that nobody on this planet, not even book bloggers, have answers about what causes men and women to relate to each other. Rumi can talk about love, but he for sure knows Jack shit how it works. So, who is to tell me why my protagonist can’t fall in love the first time he sees the movie star?
I am not about to delve into this crazy topic of love; it has been written a gazillion times. I cannot add any new theories to it. But I don’t think I was wrong in describing my male protagonist’s reaction. The story was intended to be that way. As a storyteller, I am entitled to write however I want the story to be so long as it doesn’t appear unfocused.
Stories with love themes have been written before I was even born. So many different angles, plots and themes have been taken. Some have been rehashed and recycled. All I did was to put a fresh spin as they were intended to be.
You might agree with me or you might not, depending on your own personal experiences and observations of other people. All I know is this: when it comes to love, 1+1 doesn’t always equal 2. And that, my friend, is a fact…
Wow! Thank you, Khaled, for giving us a peek into your writing world and showing us a different spin on relationships. You are so right. Love is quite complicated, its intricacies oftentimes inexplicable. My fiancé claims he fell in love with me right away, but was hesitant to admit it for a while until he was sure we were a perfect fit. For myself, being both a romance reader and author, I have no doubt that people can fall in love quickly. After all, this is the I LOVE ROMANCE BLOG, right? 😉
Well, readers, shall we take a peek at this romantic thriller? Sounds like a plan! 😀
Great cover! 🙂
This is the blurb for Gun Kiss:
A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and international intrigue…
When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.
After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.
What are people saying about this book?
“From Washington, D.C. to Hollywood and Veracruz, Gun Kiss by Khaled Talib is a terrific adventure involving the FBI, drug lords, movie stars, and Russian generals. Grab your copy, drop into your favorite reading chair, and prepare yourself for breathless suspense.” — Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins
“Gun Kiss is a whip-smart thriller that brings to mind Don Winslow’s masterful work that includes, most recently, The Force. Khaled Talib rockets to the top of the pop culture pack with a tale in which every page is chock full of angst-riddled action and searing suspense. Gun Kiss manages to be hot and cool at the same time, a genre bender that breaks a host of rules while crafting new ones in their place. Featuring both a classic man-of-mystery hero and an equally classic femme fatale, this is reading entertainment of the highest order.” — Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of The Rising
“Take a deep breath, because Gun Kiss‘s special brand of high-octane action is on its way to market, and it’s a hell of a ride especially recommended for thriller readers who like their action not only nonstop, but tempered with a bit of romance and a lot of world-hopping political confrontations…with a range of subplots designed to keep Gun Kiss unpredictable, unexpected, and sometimes unsettling as events keep on creating new connections and surprises…Readers experience a supercharged plot that grabs interest tightly and does not let go. The mark of a superior thriller lies in its ability to seamlessly transcend borders, boundaries, and special interests to provide a series of interwoven subplots that all come together in a satisfying crescendo of intrigue designed to keep readers on edge right up to the end. Take a deep breath before reading Gun Kiss. Its special brand of activity and complex personal and criminal interactions makes it hard to put down, and highly recommended for thriller and crime readers alike.” — Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“Talib’s wisecracking hero in Gun Kiss propels readers on an unforgettable ride across several continents. This blockbuster thriller offers the perfect mix of elements to satisfy any reader, including the quest for historic artifacts, a fierce battle against drug lords, and a memorable romance with a Hollywood starlet. Add it to your must-read list.” —K.J. Howe, author of The Freedom Broker
Universal Amazon link: https://bookgoodies.com/a/B077GF1Z67
♥♥♥ Nice! This looks like quite a riveting romantic read!
Thanks for stopping by with your fascinating guest post, Khaled! Awesome to have you here! ♥
Khaled Talib is the author of Gun Kiss, a thriller published in December 2017 by Imajin Books in Canada. He is a former magazine journalist and public relations practitioner. His articles have been published and syndicated to newspapers worldwide, and his short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines. The author’s debut thriller, Smokescreen, was listed by Indie Reader as one of the six “boundary breaking” indie novels while his second novel, Incognito, won the 2017 AuthorsDB Silver Award for its cover. Khaled is a member of the International Thriller Writers.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Khaled-Talib/e/B00DYPSB72/
Thanks again, Khaled! We hope to see you back on ILRB sometime.
Happy reading, everyone!🙂