Reader, I Married Him: Author Spouses Tell All: Heidi Cullinan & Lynda Aicher

Valentine’s Day is our holiday, when everyone’s thinking fragrant bouquets, intimate dinners, sexytimes … you know, romance. Which got us to wondering, what’s it like to be married to a romance author? Is it all lingerie and drama? Or more … take out and Netflix marathons? This week we’ve be meeting some romance author spouses who are telling it like it is. Readers, get ready to swoon. 

***

Today we also have author Heidi Cullinan‘s husband Dan, who is his wife’s No. 1 beta reader.

What’s the biggest misconception about having a romance author for a spouse?
The one that I get the most and have ever since Heidi was an aspiring romance author is “Ooh, is she writing about you guys in the bedroom?” as if she has no imagination. Since she writes gay romance primarily, I can honestly say that she’s not writing about what goes on behind closed doors. It’s really stupid to say when you think about it — no one asks Stephen King if he’s writing about his real-life experiences. To ask a romance writer that question is equally ridiculous.

What’s the silliest thing anyone’s ever said to you about having a romance author for a spouse?
“Well, you must be on your way to being a kept man!”  While I wouldn’t say no to being Mr. Heidi Cullinan professionally, I do have to show up for my job everyday and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

What’s the biggest perk that comes from having a romance author for a spouse?
As someone who really loves to read, I enjoy getting the first peek at her new stories. I love seeing things in their beta form, before the general reading public gets to see them. I always kid Heidi that I’m going to leak the drafts to the Internet after the book is out, kind of like a “spouse’s cut” but I’m pretty sure I’d be in the doghouse if I did that. So those parts remain for my eyes only.

Has your spouse ever put you in a book?
I’ve never been explicitly written into a book, but I can see my influences are all over her work. Probably the biggest one is [in] Special Delivery: Sam’s affection for Kylie Minogue. While Heidi has always liked Kylie, it was me who brought the obsession.

Brag about your spouse, what are you most proud of them accomplishing in this difficult industry?
The thing that amazes me most about Heidi is her perseverance. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s always wanted to tell stories. When she started getting serious about being published, she had some setbacks. It wasn’t until she followed her heart and decided to write gay romance that she finally broke into the publishing industry. And that she has managed to build a successful career in her dream field while battling chronic pain of unknown origin and various other health issues amazes me on a daily basis. The stuff she has gone through would cause most of us to just give up. Not only did she refuse to give up, she succeeded in spite of the obstacles.

Does everyone in your life know what your spouse does for a living?
For the most part, yes. I’m not shy about it anymore. At first, I was nervous about how people would take it, especially the gay romance part, but I am so proud of her that if people disapprove or raise their eyebrows, I don’t really care at all.

If you ever had to write a book, what kind of book would it be?
I’m not sure that I have the imagination that Heidi does to write fiction. If I wrote a book, it’ll probably be a memoir about how much I’ve learned from the female singers that I have loved my whole life. But now that I think about it, that’s pretty much the entire contents of my blog.

What’s your coping mechanism when your spouse is on deadline?
When Heidi is on a deadline, or as is more common, multiple deadlines, it’s like the two adults in the house are working three full-time jobs. We do the best we can — the house frequently falls into disarray because we’re all busy, but I always try to make sure that the dishes are clean, the cat litter is scooped and her coffee cup is full.

Anything you’d like to add?
Thanks for having me – this was fun!  I’ve never been interviewed before, though, as a general rule, I’m happy to let Heidi handle the promo.

***

We also heard from Lynda Aicher’s husband, who swears Aicher’s Wicked Play series was not modeled after their bedroom. And no, he isn’t a cover model.

What’s the biggest misconception about having a romance author for a spouse?
The biggest misconception I think is that many people believe she writes from personal experience. Our bedroom does not look like a room from The Den and I/we do not own or use many of the “implements” used in some of the stories. Unless she’s leading a second life I know nothing about…

What’s the silliest thing anyone’s ever said to you about having a romance author for a spouse?
Is that you on the cover? No, no it’s not. Me on the cover would not help much for sales, I’m afraid.

What’s the biggest perk that comes from having a romance author for a spouse?
Her happiness. I’m very happy that she gets to do what she enjoys. Not many people get to say that. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. Her insatiable appetite for a good story has gone beyond being strictly a reader, she’s crossed over to the author side.

Has your spouse ever put you in a book?
To be honest, I don’t know. Sadly, I have not read them; it generally is not a genre I read. After being together for so long perhaps subliminally certain characteristics of me get incorporated into the characters, but it would make for a pretty dull story if I was something other than the crazy uncle or the guy they sat next to in the restaurant.

Brag about your spouse, what are you most proud of them accomplishing in this difficult industry?
I am very proud of her resolve. She set a goal and she accomplished it even with me and two kids as roadblocks along the way. I recall back when she first started thinking about this path and how we, well she mostly, would brainstorm stories, plots and characters in long rides in the car or the email stories we would send back and forth adding the next paragraph and returning. “I’m going to write a book,” she said. It may have taken her a bit longer than planned, but she did it.

Does everyone in your life know what your spouse does for a living?
They do. Being a romance author comes with a certain stigma. It’s nothing to hide and/or be ashamed of and she doesn’t and she isn’t. It is pretty amazing what she does. It’s funny when the topic comes up in conversation. Males immediately become uncomfortable and the topic changes pretty quickly to football, cars or something masculine. Females on the other hand, are almost always interested and want to know more.

If you ever had to write a book, what kind of book would it be?
I know I couldn’t do what she does. I like fantasy books, but I’m an engineer and my brain isn’t wired that way, so it would probably be some sort of dry technical manual about something people would have no interest in.

What’s your coping mechanism when your spouse is on deadline?
Stay clear and avoid eye contact. No, things do get stressful when a deadline is looming. I try to give her the space and time she needs and intercept the numerous “Hey Mom’s” that always seem to come more frequently when the office door is closed. Blowing things up on Xbox always helps as well.

Sigh, right? We told you you’d swoon. We hope you enjoyed celebrating those bravest of souls — the romance author spouse — with us all week. You can see all of our spousal interviews here. And for more love stories, be sure to visit our Everything Romance page! Happiest of Valentine’s Days, dear readers!

Tags: , , , ,