Just What Is Sweet?

December 10th, 2004 · No Comments
by Jill Monroe

I’ve been told to get another author head shot because the picture is a lie.

My whole life, I’ve lamented on having curly hair, dimples and forced to shop for clothes that have the letter “P” after the number. To be honest, long-legged with straight (ultra-straight) blonde hair always seemed to be the ideal. To top it off, I’ve been answering (since nearly birth) to a 4-letter, one syllable perky name – Jill. Now while I’m still not convinced Jill is the name of a grown-up, the year printed on my birth certificate and my mom crying that her “baby” is now past 30 (in fact, a few years past) assures me it is.

So while I’ll never be viewed as a “femme fatale” and buy my own drinks at a bar I have discovered one advantage to the dimple/perky thing. I have been labeled sweet. Sweet people it seems always get the benefit of the doubt – “No, no – she didn’t mean it to sound like that.” (Maybe I did – maybe I didn’t.) When you get really angry, people take it more seriously. “Did you see Jill? Man, she was really mad. Wasn’t that funny?!” This is usually followed by…”Guess we better change it.” (Or at least in my hopeful fantasies.)

Okay, so yes, I am making up the advantages to being thought of as sweet as opposed to being considered a femme fatale. Really, sweet gives license to people not to return your phone call, your e-mail, to buy the drink for the femme fatale sitting next to you (which is why I never go to bars with Gena Showalter anymore).

But I was comfortable with sweet – I owned it. But there is nothing sweet at all about my book. In fact, I’m pretty sure some of the scenes will confirm what most people suspect – sweet people are really hiding something. I may never be considered sweet again. And I simply don’t know
what to do with myself.

If you’ve read my bio on eharlequin.com, you’ll see my interest in romance began with my grandma and great-aunts. They passed around books, discussed their favorite plots and characters – and no one could be prouder that I’m now a published author in romance. But I’m in a bit of dilemma. THEY think I’m sweet, too. And quite frankly, the new Harlequins aren’t my grandma’s Harlequins of 20 years ago! I doubt she’s ever read anything like Big Blue!!

So, when my 80 plus year-old great-aunt asked when she’d been getting a copy, I hesitated. “I dunno. You know, my book is a little risque.” Great-aunt simply looked at me and deadpanned, “You don’t know what I read.”

Whoa. Score one for my great-aunt.

I’ve always thought of her as sweet. And yet, I don’t know what she reads (yes, more confirmation that sweet people are hiding things). This is a total shift in my paradigm. Maybe I can be sweet and write the really sexy books. But this doesn’t give permission to not return my phone calls or e-mails.

File Under: Jill's First Blog