Please help me (Heather) welcome Rainbow Rowell. She’s the author of the fabulous new release, Attachments (my review here).
“I’m worried that he’s too nerdy,” my editor said.
“But I like that he’s nerdy,” I said.
“Me, too …” she said. “But will people want him to get the girl?”
“I want him to get the girl,” I said.
She sighed. “Me, too.”
When I started writing my first novel, Attachments, I knew it would be a love story.
I live for love stories. Not romances, usually. But definitely romance …
When I was a kid, I was always looking for signs that Maria and David were going to get together on Sesame Street. I’d hold my breath during those Taster’s Choice soap-opera commercials. And as far as I’m concerned, the climax of the Star Wars saga is the moment Han says, “I know.”
So. A love story.
I tried to make my female lead the kind of girl who wouldn’t make me want to puke if I was watching her in a romantic comedy. And I tried to make the guy the kind of guy I could fall for myself.
I didn’t set out to make him a giant nerd, but I guess I should have seen that coming.
I always fall for nerds.
I noticed my high school boyfriend because he was so much better than me at differential equations. My college boyfriend was into the Avengers and the Animaniacs. And my husband, the finest nerd of them all, wooed me by sending me Star Trek: The Next Generation VHS tapes in the mail. (Trust me, a man who idolizes Jean-Luc Picard is both a gentleman and a poet.)
I made Lincoln, my main character, in their image. He’s the kind of guy I’d wish on a girl. Smart, gentle … totally unaware of how cute he is.
Lincoln loves Isaac Asimov (because he’s a thinker). And he loves Dungeons & Dragons (because he’s a dreamer). And I never mention his six-pack abs (because it didn’t occur to me).
He’s shy. He’s careful. He’s never sure that he’s going to get the girl.
And that’s why I wanted him to get the girl.
Halfway into Attachments, I stopped thinking of Lincoln as my creation, and started thinking of him as his own man. I was rooting for him more than I was writing him. I wanted the book to rise up to meet him at the end.
When Attachments sold to Dutton, my editor and I immediately bonded over our love for Lincoln. (She’s married to a nerd, too. She got it.) But we also immediately started worrying that maybe other people wouldn’t get it.
Was Lincoln too nerdy to be the handsome, romantic hero? Could people root for an IT guy? Especially one who plays D&D on the weekends?
Would anyone believe that a guy could be both nerdy and irresistible? (And were we, two women won by nerds, capable of judging?)
We tried to rein Lincoln in. To make him act cooler, to make him like sports. But, except for giving him more noticeably attractive hair, nothing really stuck. The character himself seemed to resist it. (I could feel him shaking his head at me. “Are you serious with this?”)
Despite Lincoln’s insecurities, he wasn’t embarrassed by his nerdiness. And I didn’t want him to be.
In the end, we decided to let Lincoln’s geek flag fly.
And I’m still rooting for him.
Thanks for the great post, Rainbow. I thought that Lincoln was just nerdy enough to be under the radar for most girls, but not too nerdy that he would never have a shot. I really fell in love with Lincoln because he is just so honest, nice, and likeable. He really knows how to treat a woman, once he finally catches her attention. I’m not sure where IT nerds fall on the hiearchy of geeks, but being an Analytical Chemist I’ve seen the broad spectrum of science and math nerds throughout my years of school and work. I think the IT guys are cooler than physics and chemistry nerds.
Have you dated a nerd? Married one? Are one? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a copy of Attachments courtesy of Dutton and TLC Book Tours. The giveaway is open to US/Canada residents only and you have until Midnight CST April 11, 2011 to leave us your comment and email address. Good luck!
A big thank you to TLC Book Tours and Dutton for letting Bewitched Bookworms in on this great book and tour!