I’m lucky I got out alive.
The comedy in Petticoat Ranch comes largely from my heroine Sophie thinking like a woman and my hero Clay thinking like a man. They have even less exposure to the opposite sex than is usual.
Well, Sophie’s had exposure, she’s just come away with a very dim view. Clay grew up around men in the Rocky Mountains. He’s completely lost.
All Clay knows about women he’s heard or made up. He expects quiet, polite little women folk to stay clean, stay inside, cook his dinner. He doesn’t quite get it that they’ve been living on their own on a Texas ranch for years.
All Sophie knows about men is from her worthless husband. She had to do most of the work when he was alive and keeping him happy—a hopeless task—was just one chore she didn’t have to do after he was dead. She expects little or nothing from her new husband.
I suppose it’s risky to ever believe you know what a man is thinking but I feel like I had a little better chance than a lot of people because of my husband.
Ivan comes from a family of seven sons. His mother is a saint. That woman can tell stories of blood and destruction and mayhem that would make Stephen King run screaming.
Now Ivan and I have four daughters. Watching the mystified way he reacts to the girls is funny.
If you’ve got sons and daughters both you know how brothers are. They torment their sisters for entertainment.
“Yay! I made her scream!”
“Yay! I made her cry!”
“Yay! I embarrassed her in front of her friends!”
Little brothers learn to not only accept those crying, screaming moments from sisters, they revel in them. But to a man who’s never had a sister to torture, females remain very much a mystery. I’ve decided it’s one of those things you learn as part of your childhood development…or you never learn it at all.
So, once when one of the girls was crying over some trauma…I think she got called out in a softball game…or maybe benched…or scolded by the coach, I can’t remember. I was hugging her and listening to her cry it out and just generally doing this, “Oh, honey, oh sweet baby, you poor thing”…routine until the tears stopped. That’s what they seem to need.
Ivan came in and he saw her crying and he was furious. Injustice! Who made you cry? Why I oughta….
When his growling didn’t make her stop crying—shocker—he pulled out his billfold and offered her twenty dollars.
Well, my daughter is a bright little thing and after all, it’s not like she’d never lost a ball game before. She snatched the twenty and cheered right up.
Later, I had a little talk with him about the wisdom of teaching the girls that crying in front of a boy earns you money.
Hello emotional blackmail!
Hello romantic comedy novel.
Hello ‘Petticoat Ranch’.
What do you think? Are heroes harder for women authors to write? Do we really know what’s going on inside a man’s head? Are our heroes all romanticized? Are they doing what we wish they’d do instead of what a man really does?