Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Kiss

This is a SPOILER! Do NOT read it if you have not read Aurelia.

There is no kiss on p. 241 of Aurelia.

This is not because yours truly felt like torturing her readers. Or because it didn’t occur to her that her readers might expect a kiss. Or because the people at Penguin did not want one.

They did.

Aurelia refused to discuss it. She said quite clearly that kissing was Robert’s job, and if I wanted to have this discussion, I could have it with him. Normally, this would be good news because Robert is much more cooperative than Aurelia, by which I mean, more polite, more willing to listen, and more willing to bend for the good of a story.

He and I discussed the issue. In the car. At 5:30 a.m. one morning.

“Robert,” I said, “you know I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t have to. I already sent in a more romantic version of this scene, and the people at Penguin still think the readers won’t be satisfied. And I am a brand new author, who has never had anything published in her life, not even in a school newspaper. So . . . is there any way we could compromise here?”

He pointed out all the things I already knew. That at this point in the book, both he and Aurelia have suffered great trauma. That he is, in fact, horrified at what he has done. And that this story is not over yet. Not even close. “I’ve been gone for four years,” he said, “and only back a week. I don’t think this relationship is ready for the kind of commitment Penguin is talking about.”

“But you want to kiss Aurelia,” I said. “I mean, you wanted to kiss her all the way through the book.”

“I did kiss her,” he said. “And she didn’t kiss me back.”

“Yes, well she was surprised. You can’t blame her for that. And you can’t deny that you still want to kiss her.”

“No. But I can’t kiss her on p. 241.”

“Are you sure? You know she’s going to be royally ticked off with you right at the beginning of Exile. This could help head things off.”

“Nothing is going to head that off.”

“What happened to the gambler? I mean, Robert, you showed up here knowing perfectly well she was a princess, and you were prepared to take that risk.”

“To save her.”

“Yes. But more than that. I mean you walked right across that ballroom on your first night here, in front of everyone, and asked her to dance. That wasn’t exactly necessary in order to save her life.”

“I’m not that person anymore,” he said. “I’m not the person who walks across a ballroom without taking into account the consequences. I gambled. And I lost. And I won’t do that again.”

So . . . there is no kiss on p. 241.

But there is a sequel.


  1. Hehehe. Men are funny that way. I had to go back and reread that page (I know, shameful I am!) but GOOD LORD! This boy is crazy. You're totally right, we readers wanted a kiss! It's such a shame that Robert and Aurelia can be so flipping stubborn. Or perhaps it isn't about being stubborn. Eh. Whatever.

    Hehe. Great conversation. Kudos to Robert.

    :) -Amelia

  2. I respect Robert's decision. It will make the kiss, when it comes, hopefully in the sequel, that much more meaningful to Aurelia and the readers.
    And maybe it bothers Robert, just a little, to know that so many people will "see" the kiss when it comes.

  3. Having conversations with your fictional characters again, Anne? And at 5:30 in the morning in the car? Tsk tsk