To me the proportions of Will and Leigh were ideal, I felt like it would take a thick, curvy woman to handle Will, who had been a line backer in college. Will and Leigh have also grown up around BBQ all of their lives and even though Leigh is a borderline vegetarian she was still raised in the south on red meat and collard greens so her body is thick.
Imagine my surprise when I recently read a review(call me a masochist) by a reader who gave the book a low rating.The reason for the low rating was not really about content, but more so about the size and weight of the characters! To say I was surprised was an understatement. After laughing, my mind started trying to make sense of why someone would dislike a book about these two people.
When did it become okay to only give thin, fit people a happily ever after (HEA)? Are big women not supposed to be happy, or fall in love? Do people really think over weight people don't deserve love because of their size? That a bunch of BS if you ask me.
I love people! I love that we are so different from each other. I love that some of us are tall or short, or have big teeth or a sloping forehead. I love how our bodies and builds are different, our skin tones vary and so do out hair textures and eye colors. We are all the jackpots of our families genetic slot machines. Each new baby adds a layer to those possibilities.
When I write my characters, I start with a pot; not a real pot, but a mental one, of sorts. In this pot, goes in the composition of my heroine or hero. I always, always, always start with their body size, height and weight. distinguishing marks, like tattoos, scars, moles or piercings Their eye color, the length texture and color of their hair. Then I pour into that brew; their personalities. All of these ingredients make up the characters in my stories.
This reviewer didn't hit a nerve, but he/she did express an opinion which some readers might identify with. I have read other reader comments on blogs and reviews and some of them don't want a hero or heroine who they can see in real life. They read for the escape and what they want is perfection, something they can mentally drool over. I am different in that respect. I follow the saying, "What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve." I don't just want to live through a book, I want my own romance to manifest in my life. I enjoy reading and writing about the characters who seem real or who may be facing real life challenges and situations. There are some things I will not go too deeply into in my own stories and I definitely think there is a fine line where things get too real for my taste. However, I do think physically, seeing a BBW who loves herself and finds her "Mr. Right" is not only refreshing but realistic.
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I found the two pictures above and decided to post them because they are closely resemble what Will and Leigh looked like to me.Will would have a tad more stomach, and Leigh might not be as top heavy however, these are close. Despite their weight and height, Will and Leigh had something which trumps those things, they had common interests. What brings people together and keeps them together is not the physical, which can change on a dime. What keeps people happily together are their common interests, regardless of body size.
So, although I was surprised at the reason for this low rating, I am actually very thankful for it because it gave me an opportunity to voice my opinion. There is nothing wrong with the readers opinion either. I totally respect his/her right to state it and if the size of the characters is their only issue, I'll accept that.
The Romance Arsonist