Sunday, 10 February 2013

Peek into the love lives of your favourite chick lit writers

© Chrisharvey
Ever wondered whether writers actually live the romantic lives that they write about? Here’s your chance to play voyeur, all during Valentine’s Week, when 13 of your favourite writers confess their worst dating stories and most horrendous crushes (with a little bit of romance mixed in, of course).

We’ll answer a question a day starting on February 11th and would love to swap war stories with readers! And if you'd like a personalised inscription for your eBook, just click on the Authorgraph button beneath the books.

So tell us, purveyers of romance: What was your worst-ever date?
Michele Gorman, author of Bella Summer Takes a Chance says: I once met a man who was perfectly pleasant. And then we went to dinner where he asked me, before the starters had been cleared, how many men I’d slept with. I don’t know why I answered (I don’t know why I didn’t take a swing at him), but I did. He said, “All women say that number. Most are lying.” At that point I realised that while I’d never dine with him again, I’d dine out on the horror story (even then I had a writer’s instinct), so I stayed to the bitter end. He lectured me on AIDS, women’s rights, and abortion, and I still wonder if the man I first met had a twin who took me out to dinner.  
(Michele's books are also available here on Amazon.com)
Nicola May, author of The School Gates says:An internet date where the guy had put up a picture that wasn’t even him. In the flesh he was twenty years older, three stone heavier & was wearing just a tank top & jeans with fleshy arms and tattoos on show. It was all made worse that we were at a top London restaurant in a 5 star hotel. 
(Nicola's books are also available here on Amazon.co.uk

Julia Williams, author of The Summer Seasonsays: Not quite a date, but... I was 15 and had just been dumped by first boyfriend. Needless to say my self esteem was not high. I ended up snogging a boy at a disco, and we met the following week for a walk. He suddenly pulled me under a tree to kiss me. I was so overcome with terror at the prospect my knees literally started wobbling. To a point which it was impossible for him not to notice, and he rather ungallantly told me to stop shaking. He then disappeared on holiday for the summer, and when he came back had a new girlfriend.
(Julia's books are also available here on Amazon.com)

Belinda Jones, author of Winter Wonderland says: An early brush with internet dating: I go to meet this super-posh chap - so ra-ra I could barely understand him on the phone - and find him looking decidedly sullen and grizzly. 'Anything wrong?' I asked. 'Oh, I just got turned down for a gun license.' My eyebrow raises. 'Turns out the police don't allow it if you're on anti-psychotic medication.' I can't believe my ears. Or his. There was a reason why all his pictures were in profile. Still in a daze I follow him to the restaurant where he proceeds to loudly display his increasingly odd ways, to the point at which fellow diners start mouthing, 'Are you okay?' to me. And here's the kicker - the next day I get an email from him saying he doesn't want to see me again because he felt we had a 'lack of chemistry'. 
(Belinda's books are also available here on Amazon.com

Dina Silver, author of Kat Fightsays: I really haven’t had a ton of stinkers, but I do remember one date taking me out to dinner and telling me that I had to order from the left (and less expensive) side of the menu unless I was going to ‘put out’ afterwards. Many years later I went on to use said story in Kat Fight. :-)
(Dina's books are also available here on Amazon.com

Talli Roland, author of The Pollyanna Plansays:When I first moved to London, I did a whole round of internet dating. I figured it was a great way to meet people and get to know the city – and it also enabled me to meet some interesting characters! One of the worst dates was when I met a man who looked nothing like his photo (he was about ten years older and a hundred pounds heavier), was still married, and freely admitted to wanting ‘some action on the side’. Um, no thank you! I made my excuses and promptly departed.

(Talli's books are also available here on Amazon.co.uk

Ellie Campbell, author of When Good Friends Go Badsays: We’d just finished a romantic meal, when he glanced at his watch, horrified.  10.30 – almost pub closing time. I drove like fury to get him there before “last orders”. I was smoking and in my haste dropped ash onto the seat.  “Hurry!” my date shouted, terrified of missing his pint of real ale.  I rubbed at the ash and quickly went after him.
Short while later, I was looking into his eyes, but he was glancing over my shoulder. He turned to me, ashen.  “Your car’s alight.” I raced outside. He followed. Next thing, fire engines arrived, water was hosed into the car, locals outside cheering. Surprisingly the car still worked. We drove home wet, smelly and in silence.
(Ellie's books are also available here on Amazon.com)  

Lindsey Kelk, author of The Single Girl's To-Do Listsays: There have been so many. SO. MANY. I think the best was with Jason from Boston who opened the date with 'Just so you know, I googled you and I really don't respect what you do but I figured I shouldn't just stand you up'. What a gent. He also told me not to bother talking about TV shows because he 'doesn't believe in television' and then took me to a bar where we were harassed by a homeless man who wanted to show us his wedding album. He did not have positive feelings towards his ex-wife. At the end of the date, he tried to kiss me. Jason, not the homeless man. The homeless man would have had a better shot.
(Lindsey's books are also available here on Amazon.com

Rowan Coleman, author of Dearest Rosesays: My worst date ever was with a boy from Basingstoke, I don't say that all boys from Basingstoke are terrible, just that he wasn't a good ambassador for his people. He was pleasant looking enough, and sweet but he had a very odd idea about being romantic, he kept telling me all the way through our date (in a pub in Euston station of all places) why going out with him would be so good, because he was so great. Oddly enough, I decided not to see him again, and a few days later I got a letter from him detailing exactly what I was missing out on and at the end there was a drawing of a bunch of flowers, done in biro, with the message 'These are the flowers you would have got if you hadn't chucked me.' I was so tempted to call him, but managed to resist. 
(Rowan's books are also available here on Amazon.com)

Alexandra Brown, author of Cupcakes at Carrington'ssays: Valentine's Day several years ago – our kitchen ceiling collapsed and we ended up staying in a hostel with a foam mattress for a bed as all the decent hotels were booked up with special Feb 14th deals.
(Alexandra's books are also available here on Amazon.com)

Juliette Sobanet, author of Kissed in Parissays: My worst date ever happened with a guy I dated in college. A huge singer was coming to campus, and we scored front row seats to the concert. I thought we were having a nice time together (which, if you knew this guy, was rare) when all of a sudden he put his head in his hands and proceeded to look as if he might die. Talk about a drama queen. I dragged him out of the concert hall, and he proceeded to tell me that he’d cheated on me with several girls, one of whom was my friend. I dumped him on the spot. Couldn’t he have at least waited until the concert was over to ruin my night?
(Juliette's books are also available here on Amazon.co.uk

Karen Swan, author of The Perfect Presentsays: It would have to be being walked around a new boyfriend’s pig farm in Lincolnshire as he pointed out the piggeries and drainage ditches. Not only was I a fashion editor at the time and literally dreaming about Bond Street on sale – I was also a vegetarian!
(Karen's books are also available here on Amazon.com)  
Miranda Dickinson, author of When I Fall In Lovesays: I went through a stage of internet dating after my first marriage ended and one of the many awful dates stands out, literally, head and shoulders above the rest. He had lied on his profile about his height (being 6ft 6ins, not 6ft as he'd said), had a voice like a parrot and ended the evening with the immortal line: 'So, Miranda, what're my chances of getting a shag tonight?' Needless to say, that was the end of the date!
(Miranda's books are also available here on Amazon.com)  

Lovely readers, what's your worst-ever date?


  1. Very entertaining although you ladies had to suffer these dates.

    I had a couple. One where a guy was wearing brown shoes, (a no-no for me) and then told me and the whole pub his life story in one sitting. I threatened to become a nun after that one.

    Another where the guy told me he couldn't afford a girlfriend and that I was too young!


    1. Ah Carol, you are welcome amongst the ranks of the disaster dated :-))

  2. These are EXCELLENT, and way out of my league re: dating stories I can recall. Maybe I've just been lucky!

    1. Definitely count yourself lucky Cath. And to think, we all had more than one to choose from ... who knew that such horror stories would come in so handy in our profession?! :-)

  3. When I was in high school, I got set up with this guy. We saw "Sleeping with the Enemy." I would never sleep with him, but he became an enemy after that. Such a jerk! That's all I need to say. I also got pitying looks from other girls who knew him. No wonder I stayed single the rest of high school. I think that just scared me off of dating! :P

    1. Oh no, and it's always worse when you've been set up - adds that much more pressure (especially if he's horrible)!

  4. What a great post! You gals certainly have some impressive war stories. Juliet: your guy sounds like my college boyfriend - burst into tears at my birthday dinner and then dumped me. But it was later that I learned he'd been sleeping with my housemate/friend.

    1. Eesh Libby, it sounds like the double-timing rat snake is a common species!

  5. Is it mean if I say that I cracked up at all of these date descriptions? :) I admire all of you for making it through those dates and living to tell (and write) about them. One of my worst dates barely lasted an hour because the guy "just remembered" that he had to be somewhere else that night. It was like he couldn't wait to get away from me. I couldn't figure out what I did wrong, especially because I really do look like I did in my online profile pictures (unlike a lot of the guys that were described in this post. Seriously, why do they lie about the way they look? The truth will come out eventually.) and I don't think I acted weird. Then he practically sprinted away from me as soon as we said goodbye. Not to mention during dinner he flirted with the waitress, even though I was sitting right there across from him.

    1. Maybe he ran off so fast because he'd secured a date with the flirty waitress :-)) Luckily there are also some good dates sprinkled in amongst the stinkers eh?

  6. Wow, what stories! Glad that you all escaped and moved on. :)

  7. Oh my god. Horrible, horrible!!! But good entertainment. ;)

    I left one of my worst date stories over on Talli Roland's blog, but here's another I'd forgotten about (Read that: BLOCKED OUT!). I was 16 and dating a boy about to graduate high school. I, of course, was his date for grad. I bought a dress, the hole nine yards. Then at the party afterwards he takes me aside and breaks up with me. I then had to endure a ride home with him and his mom where he's trying to hold my hand and be all sweet. Next day my friend tells me in a restaurant full of gossipy old farmers that he'd been seeing my new friend on the side. In other words, he stayed on with me because his new girlfriend already had a date for grad and he didn't want to go alone--thus stringing me along for the past few weeks while EVERYone but me knew. All I could do was laugh. And then kick the hubcaps off his car later that week.

    And yes, he tried to ask me back later. Huh! Fat chance, buddy. I might be nice, but I'm not stupid. :)

    Thanks for the laughs, ladies! Good luck with your books.

    1. Wow, that's a corker, Jean! I'd have kicked off more than his hub caps (unless that's a euphemism) :-)

    2. Not an euphemism. ;) (I learned that lesson in grade 3--had to spend the whole recess inside with my head on my desk.) It was gratifying though to have all our friends solidly on my side. (Small town.)

  8. This should be a book...yikes!

  9. Some real non-winners here!
    Happy Weekend to All :)


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