How do bestselling novelists court Cupid on Valentine’s Day?

February 14, 2013

Heart-shaped candies made in Heidenau, Germany. (ARNO BURGI/EPA)

I asked a bouquet of bestselling novelists what they’ll be doing as Cupid flies around today:

Eloisa James: Years ago, when my husband, Alessandro, was a young man growing up in Florence, he got a great gig: two weeks escorting one of the heirs to a greeting card company and her entourage around Italy. By all accounts, he had a wonderful time. But I gather there was a certain amount of frank and rather cynical conversation about the origins of American holidays and their usefulness to the greeting card industry, from which Alessandro never recovered. Nevertheless, on Valentine’s Day, I shall demand dark chocolate marshmallows from Mondel’s, which sells the best hand-made chocolates in New York City. My husband will comply, with the pained air of a man who has never been able to convince himself that ceremonies of dubious origin can still give joy.

Jodi Picoult: I’m excited about Valentine’s Day because my husband has a Huge Surprise planned. All I know is that I have to stop work at 4:30 so that we can get there in time. There is an envelope with information taped to the inside of our monthly calendar, but I have been instructed not to open it. Even more amazing, I have actually managed to not peek. As for me, I bought him a telescope. My son Jake said, “Oh, that’s cute, so you two can gaze at the stars?” and I said, “Um.  No.  Because he asked for one.”

Janet Evanovich: I’m having Valentine’s Day dinner at my house with my family and hoping my husband didn’t get me anything because I didn’t have time to go shopping and get him a present!

Anne Rice: I’m having a special dinner at home to avoid the Valentine crowds in local restaurants. Filet roast with potatoes and carrots. Just me and my little family. We do feel the holiday. And like all holidays, it causes me to reflect on my life and how much I love it, and how thankful I am for the great love affair I had with my husband for 41 years. He died in 2002. We’ll be toasting Stan Rice.

Philippa Stockley: On Valentine’s day it’s work as usual for me; but I love seeing the glowing pyres of fat, deep red-red roses in full cry, displays of pink Champagne and boxes of chocolates that spring up all over London, and hope that a glorious bunch might find its way to me. Yet, if I was giving roses to a man on this particular day (and why not, for all sensual men love them), I’d buy flame orange, rich yellow or creamy, pink-tinged white; and pretend — because I’m old fashioned — that it was merely joie de vivre, or exuberance, or entirely accidental….

Debbie Macomber: On Valentine’s Day, I’ll be having a glass of medicinal wine with my husband, Wayne, who is in the hospital after knee replacement surgery. The wine was prescribed and comes from the hospital pharmacy . . . in a cough syrup bottle! We’ll also sample the chocolate tucked into a knit heart made by my assistant, Renate. Chocolate. Wine. Some TLC. My sweetheart will be on his feet soon!

Diana Gabaldon: We’re having the saltillo tile floors resealed. This means having to move all the furniture, send the dogs to my son’s house for a sleepover, and walk around in our socks for two days. Our bed is disassembled and hidden in the closet, so I’m sleeping in a daughter’s room, and my husband is nesting somewhere in the living room (where all the furniture is). On the other hand, romance is not dead; he gave me a bathrobe and a card with a singing bug, and I gave him a jar of white anchovy filets and a tube of wasabi paste.

Barbara Taylor Bradford: My husband, Bob, and I are preparing to leave for London to promote my new book. Because we are both very romantic, we are taking time off to have a quiet dinner together in a restaurant yet to be chosen, where we will toast each other with pink champagne. But being married to Bob is like Valentine’s Day all year round!

Lisa Scottoline: I’m famously dateless, but I still celebrate Valentine’s Day. I believe in love, whether I’m loving a puppy, a book or chocolate cake. This Valentine’s Day, I’ll be loving all three, probably at the same time. Try it yourself, if you’re on your own. Your heart won’t know you don’t have a date. If it were that smart, it would be your brain.

On Twitter @RonCharles

 

Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post's Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he'd go crazy.
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Ron Charles | February 13, 2013