I was a newlywed before I realized I didn’t know much about “love.” I only knew about it in the abstract, but I had no idea how to make it last.
I started my first book with the idea that if anyone could teach us about a concept as abstract as love, philosophers—the original “lovers of wisdom”—should be at the top of the list. Slowly, however, a pattern began to emerge: No matter how brilliant their minds, philosophers were just fumbling around in the dark when it came to their own romantic relationships. In other words, they were human. This idea eventually evolved into Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love, a tongue-in-cheek look at the disastrous love lives of history’s greatest minds.
Researching and writing about doomed love affairs took its toll on me. By the time I turned in the final draft, I was ready to write a book about positivelove stories.
Unfortunately, on a long enough timeline, and under close enough inspection, we’ve all “failed” at love to some degree. Breakups, unrequited crushes, cheating—all are normal parts of our lives, at one time or another. Maybe even healthy parts of our lives, depending on how we react to them. Do we grow? Do we learn? Or do we repeat our mistakes?
Romance novels are the one place where love stories are always guaranteed to end on an upbeat note. After finishing Great Philosophers, I started reading them as a sort of palate-cleanser. While I approached romance novels as a curiosity at first, I found they weren’t as poorly written or as stereotypical as the clench covers had led me to believe. To my astonishment, many were good—and a few were great. Just like any literary genre, in my experience.
I never did write that book about positive love stories following my first book. Instead, I began reading and reviewing romance, erotica, and women’s fiction for RT Book Reviews magazine. My own marriage fell apart. And my next book went in a slightly different direction, examining the lives of writers who lived on the edge (Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors, out now from Harper Perennial). Then, improbably, perhaps foolishly, I fell in love again.
I’m still learning about this thing called “love.”
About the Author:
Andrew Shaffer is the author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love and, under the pen name “Fanny Merkin,” Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (a Goodreads Choice 2012 Semifinalist). His next book, Literary Rogues, will be released by Harper Perennial in February 2013.
His writing has appeared in such diverse publications as Mental Floss, Maxim, and The Huffington Post. He reviews romance, erotica, and women’s fiction for RT Book Reviews magazine.
Shaffer attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for a summer semester and studied comedy writing at Chicago’s The Second City. He is also the creative director of Order of St. Nick, the greeting card company whose irreverent cards have been featured on The Colbert Report, NPR, and FOX News.
An Iowa native, Shaffer currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, a magical land of horses, basketball, and bourbon. You can find him most days causing trouble on Twitter at @andrewtshaffer,@evilwylie, and/or @proudzombiemom. He is repped by Brandi Bowles (Foundry Literary + Media).
Bio taken from: http://www.evilreads.com/
G I V E A W A Y !!!!
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