My Guest, Mr. DeHart!
Mr. DeHart: I’m Paul DeHart (a.k.a, “The Professor”), and I’m married to the exceptionally talented Robyn DeHart. She writes historical romances set in the Victorian period. The series she just finished had an Indiana Jones, action adventure cast to it (or Lara Croft Tomb Raider set in the late 1800’s, if you prefer). The first hero, in particular, was based on my e-true Hollywood story as an action adventure political philosopher.
Mr. DeHart: All of the above . . . Well, I’d probably make a lousy businessman. I’m a scholar both by trade and disposition (but one who definitely has the Indy Jones vibe going for him). I’m a college professor. I work at the overlap of moral, legal, and political philosophy. Sounds, riveting, I know. It’s the same area of study in which Bill Watterson, creator of the magisterial Calvin and Hobbes, got his degree. My back up career was classical vocal performance. I figured that if I couldn’t get a job in one long-odds field, I’d take a shot at an even longer-odds field. I suppose I better start working on my Puccini in case my current job falls through . . .
Mr. DeHart: We met online, on a dating site. Apparently my profile had perfect sentences with immaculate grammar. So she sent me a snarky email. Which caused me to reply right off—apparently I like snarky. We sent a few messages, spoke on the phone a few times, and then had our a first date—at a bookstore and then a restaurant after that. We dated for just over 6 months before we got engaged. And I proposed when I realized she was the sweetest, most beautiful person I’d ever met . . . and also my best friend. I was struck (or moonstruck) by the epiphany that I wouldn’t get enough of her if I spent the rest of my life trying. Of course, she might tell you she married me for my last name . . .
Mr. DeHart: We were still dating (not yet married) when she got the call from the editor at the first house with which she published. As it happens, I was in the Austin airport, returning home from a conference in Michigan. I was getting in a day late, because of scheduling snafu that caused my connection not to leave Chicago O’Hare. As I was about to drive home from the airport and collapse into my bed, my very excited then girlfriend called. It was right after she had spoken with the editor in New York. I was thrilled, of course, but not surprised—I had a sneaking suspicion that she was very talented. And it turns out she’s even more talented than I suspected. I know because I read her books; and not just because we’re married. I’m a fan. Back to the story. After dropping my luggage off at my apartment in northwest Austin, I drove the just-under-an-hour trip down to San Marcos to take her out for a night of fine dining at Red Lobster (I’m sure we had a pricey bottle of wine or champagne brought up from the Restaurant’s wine cellar reserves—Red Lobsters have those, right?). I confess that I still get excited and find myself simply impressed every time I see one of her books in the store and every time I see a review of her work in RT, The Chicago Tribune, or Publishers Weekly.
Both a) and d). But seriously . . . My wife says all of her heroes have something of me in them. And I can see why—they’re all ruggedly handsome alpha males. Of course, my wife also says that beta males make for better husbands in real life. I’m not sure what she means by that. After all, I’m as alpha male as they come—alpha male means “of scholarly disposition,” right? Okay, now where did I put my copy of Plato’s Laws. I mean . . . Now where are my fireman’s hat and suspenders; I’m off to a photo shoot.
Mr. DeHart: Definitely a) and b). I was also very, very smooth. That story about me stumbling and nearly falling on the way into the restaurant is a complete fabrication by those seeking to discredit my reputation as the Indiana Jones of political science. As for the bad boy part . . . well, she figured out how to write authentic bad boys somewhere . . .
Mr. DeHart: I definitely think of the lengthy queues of uncontrollably weeping fans first. After that, baseball and the heart wrenching condition of being a Cleveland Indians fan. Next, a gathering of lords and ladies that, when rendered in written form, always requires very careful coordination. After that—the stupidity of putting King James (the basketball player and not the monarch who used to lecture Parliament on the absolute power of the sovereign) on par with MJ. Sometimes, but only sometimes, cricket (the sport, not the insect) come to mind and that only when I’m contemplating the superiority of baseball to cricket. The reason “a gathering of lords and ladies” doesn’t rank higher is because my wife’s books, historical romances though they are, tend to feature the hero and heroine traipsing through some cave or getting chased in a carriage or on a train by the bad guys.
Mr. DiPasqua: How long have you been a RH? (Romance Husband). What advice would you give new RH’s about what you’ve learned being married to a romance author? What should a new RH do or not do when his wife is under deadline?
Mr. DeHart: I’ve been an RH for 6 years, 4 months, and 6 days. First, there’s no such thing as a calm, easy going deadline. All deadlines—however much the project was ahead of a schedule, however many times she’s revised or even rewritten the story already—are frenzied, whirlwind, “Am I in the middle of a hurricane?” deadlines. No exceptions. Second, if she asks for help brainstorming, most of the ideas you come up with will be things that won’t work—but at least she’ll know what not to do. And every now and then you might even have an idea that makes it all the way into the final version of the book. I’ve had two. Sure, her critique partner (I think they share a brain) has had considerably more suggestions get into the final version. I’m not jealous about that . . . not at all. Third, chocolate always helps during the hurricane (or, if you live near Austin, Texas, Kerbey Lane). Also, sometimes you need to drag her out of the house to a movie or a concert or something. Fourth, the current book she’s working on is ALWAYS the worst book she’s ever written. It’s not true, of course. But that’s what she’ll say. When you reply that she said that about the last book, she’ll tell you that she really means it this time. When you say that she said that about the last book too . . . Well, it’s probably not wise to remind someone on deadline about everything they said or thought while on deadline with the previous book (or with every previous book, as the case may be). As it happens, a lack of satisfaction with the story at all the various stages of revision probably results in a better book anyway. So it’s best to come to terms with the “This is the worst book ever” mentality associated with the book presently in process. Fifth, having a wife who writes loves scenes can make for steamy romance. And, let’s be honest, what husband doesn’t want steamy romance. Sixth, it’s the best thing in the world—especially if you’re a bit of a romantic yourself (okay, so maybe I’m more than a bit). It also makes life very interesting. In what other scenarios are husbands talking with their wives about the best way to kill someone off . . . Okay, in what other legally legitimate scenarios are husbands talking with their wives about . . .
I usually just say that our steamy love life is of course the inspiration for all such scenes—and that I model for most of the covers. That usually gets a laugh—at which point I say that I was, of course, joking . . . about the second thing.
Mr. DeHart: My wife says I’m most like Max, the hero of Desire Me, the second book in The Legend Hunters Series. I think it’s because Max is brooding, intense, and is amazingly strong. But she says it’s because Max is really smart—like, prodigy smart—and something of a smart ass. Apparently she thinks I’m a smart ass. I can’t imagine why.
Mr. DeHart: I would name the love story Sonnet 116, since I think Shakespeare’s words capture the essence of it:
Either that or Socrates and Jane Austin Walk into a Bar . . .
Mr. DeHart: Treasure Me, the last book of my wife’s brilliant Legend Hunters trilogy released this past March. You don’t have to take my word for how amazing the series is. Just ask John Charles, whose reviewed Robyn’s stuff in Booklist and the Chicago Tribune. Or ask Kathe Robin of RT Book Reviews, who gave Treasure Me a 4 ½ star, Top Pick and a KISS Award. The first book of the series, Seduce Me, won an RT Reviewers Choice award and a Readers’ Crown award from RomCon. Last week she also released, in e-format Her Gentleman Thief, which is on Kindle and Nook for 99 cents (and who wouldn’t buy it at least twice for that price).
Mr. DiPasqua: I’m still laughing out loud at your wit, Mr. DeHart. Thanks for coming out! Okay, folks, check out the giveaway that’s being generously offered!
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