Posts Tagged: Romance

Monday, August 06, 2018

The Romance Podcast You Have Been Waiting For: One True Pairing

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Pop culture, juicy romance and hilarious conversations come together in the recently Cosmopolitan featured One True Pairing podcast! Join Erica Martirano and Marissa Sangiacomo as they talk romance and revisit their favorite couples from across TV, movies, books, and pop culture. From Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to Ross and Rachel, this roller coaster of bad boys, break-ups, and HEAs (Happily Ever Afters) combines love, feminism, sex, and relationships with the gossip you love.

Romance Awareness Month Q&A With the Hosts

Can you introduce yourselves and tell me how you got into romance?

Marissa: I’m Marissa Sangiacomo and I’m a marketing manager at St. Martin’s Press where I work on romance and commercial women’s fiction. I’ve loved romance novels ever since I was young and would share books with my mom. The ironic thing is that she would flag the sex scenes with post its and tell me to skip them, which just highlighted them for me. I was really drawn to the romances because I loved fairy tales and it was a natural progression from fairy tales to romance for me.

Erica: I’m Erica Martiano. I’m a senior associate director of marketing for St. Martin’s Press where I work on a variety of women’s fiction, health and wellness, and celebrity nonfiction. But I miss working on romance desperately! I started reading romance as a young girl stealing my mom’s historicals when she wasn’t looking. Where Marissa, you told your mom you were taking her books, I just took them. Sometimes while she was reading them, which would really tick her off. I was also the type of kid that would dog-ear pages, so not only was I taking her romance novels, she would know I took them. But similarly my mom loved her romance books and reading in general. I started with historicals. Dirty historicals, which is probably why I still love dirty romances.

So what is the show about?

Erica: One True Pairing is a podcast about love, romance, and couples. Every other week, we chat about either an individual couple, like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, or about a series or universe, like the Marvel Universe. We also have romance writers, like Laurelin Paige, Kayti McGee and of course, Alexis Daria, on to talk about our favorite romance couples.

Marissa: And we really try to dig deep into these couples–we do a lot of research in the couples and we try to pull out themes. Why do people love this couple? What does our love of them say about society as a whole? We really want to look critically at the couples, with a little bit of gossip thrown in for good measure.

That’s great to hear about! So, I’m interested to hear more about what you are doing for Romance Awareness Month on the show and why?

Marissa: We’ve always been big fans of romance and August is Romance Awareness Month. As a podcast that covers couples of all kinds, what better couples to cover than the ones that started our obsession with love? We want to help our listeners explore the genre if they never have. Our listeners tend to skew more pop culture but we think there’s such an overlap between what we talk about and what they can find in romance.

Erica: And if they have tried reading romance before, we want to help them dig a little deeper and find something they haven’t read before. Step out of their comfort zone and celebrate the variety of stories you can read.

Marissa: So every week in August we are talking with people in every part of the romance community. We have editors and a writer and a publisher and reviewers all coming on the show. We’re asking them questions about their work and they will all be telling us their favorite couple from a romance novel. So definitely stay tuned!

Just listening to the show, you’re clearly both obsessed with couples. What do you think it is about couples (both fiction and non-fiction) that get people talking & shipping like you both do on the show?

Erica: I think it’s really a fantasy thing. You look at these couples and they seem so perfect. You just want to be in their world. You want to love them and lift them up. You want to make them even more perfect in your brain than they ever could be in real life. That’s the fun of it!

Marissa: And I think with more fiction and romance, it’s because we like seeing ourselves in the couples a lot of times. So it’s getting to imagine yourself with this partner and what your life would be like.

Shifting a little bit, I think an interesting thing the internet has done for romance writing is create these shipping “subcultures” and there’s a lot of the same negative opinions about these communities as there are about romance readers. What are your thoughts here? Do you think these communities are normalizing romance reading/writing or no?

Marissa: I think it’s cool to be a nerd now. I think it’s cool to follow fandoms, be obsessed with them and know everything about them. We see that with movie and TV shows like Harry Potter and Game of Thrones. And to be honest, I think it’s always been there for romance, it’s just now we can be even more open about it because everyone else is doing it.

On the flip side of that, there have obviously been romance book communities longer than there have been online shipping communities. So do you think these online communities (including podcasts like yours) have changed the overall romance industry?

Erica: I think it’s interesting–you would think that with the more fantasy and sci-fi communities popping up online, that those kind of romances would become more popular. But, actually, in my experience, it’s the other way around. You had paranormals that were so popular in the early 2000s and now they’re not as popular anymore. Everybody’s writing about rich billionaires with a dirty, tawdry side who want to rescue you from the world.

Marissa: Really, romantic comedy is now the big thing.

Erica: Yeah! And that’s nice because now people really crave escapism. The world is such a dumpster fire right now, why wouldn’t you want to read a romantic comedy?

It’s almost as if people aren’t looking to escape to another place, they’re looking to escape to a different real-life.

Marissa: Yeah, and I think romance is stepping in to the contemporary sphere more because people are getting their fantasy, and somewhat historical stories, on TV more and more. But I think it all just feeds in to each other. Someone who loves The Crown might find that they love historical romance, they just need to find it.

As marketers, do you focus on helping these TV and movie lovers find the crossover?

Marissa: Our job as marketers is to do that. It’s to say, “If you love Game of Thrones, you’ve going to love this fantasy romance series,” or, “If you love The Crown, you’re going to love this historical.” It’s about getting the message out there that this romance novel is similar to that movie or show. And I think the internet helps feed that. You can hashtag something that’s similar to both to connect them. So the internet facilitates that connection for readers.

I love the idea of the internet acting as this connecting factor between not only different types of romances but different types of media. Do you think that all these new spaces and media to find romance in is taking romance lovers away from books? Do you think people are leaving the romance novel community in favor other media?

Marissa: I don’t think other media limit romance audiences because it’s really the same audience. It’s almost as if romance readers are saying, “Duh, we’ve been doing this forever and now you’re catching on.” And maybe some people who have never read romance are just now finding the genre, but I think it’s less existing readers leaving romance novels and more TV and movie lovers discovering romance. Romance readers have always been on top of it.

Erica: Pun intended. But I agree–there have been so many people reading romance for years and now other people are coming to it and us hardcore fans are like, “where the hell have you been?” But we’re happy to have you!

Your show comments on pop culture couples in the same way my blog comments on romance couples. Do you think podcasting has changed the romance commentary?

Erica: I think podcasts have made a safe space for romance readers. Just like how My Favorite Murder created a safe space for people to talk about true crime, podcasts like ours create a safe space for people to talk about romance and couples they love without feeling like people are, for lack of a better term, shitting all over their passions.

Marissa: Yeah, and you have someone in your ear who’s saying things you agree with so it feels more like a friendship where sometimes I think on the internet it can feel aggressive and mean.

What romance are you reading at the moment and why should we ship the couple?

Erica: I ship the book I just finished reading so hard. It’s Silver Bastard by Joanna Wylde. Becca and Puck are awesome! He saves her from a life of biker prostitution. She slams a pot of hot coffee over someone’s head to protect him in a bar fight. They’re wonderful and I definitely ship them. It’s such a great book.

Marissa: I’m going to go with Tara Sivec because I love her and her new book, Kiss the Girl in the Naughty Princess Club series, is coming out soon. It’s about three ladies who start an at-home stripping business. They are all vaguely like princesses–the main character is named Ariel and she’s with a guy named Eric. So, Ariel and Eric, like The Little Mermaid. It’s so fun and adorable. She also has a mouth like a sailor, so I doubly I love her.

What’s coming up for the podcast during Romance Awareness Month? What do we have to look forward to and where can we find you?

Both: We have so much coming up. Like we said earlier, we have an episode dropping every Wednesday in August. You can listen to those on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or whatever podcast platform your prefer. You can follow us on Twitter @OTP_Pod. We love interacting with our listeners so please do tweet at us!

Thank you so much for coming on and I’ll be sure to listen!

Marissa: Thanks for having us!

Erica: This was so fun!

Latest Episode

Episode Brief: Have you ever wondered what a #romance book editor does? @OTP_Pod is joined by @E_Roths, editor extraordinaire, as she talks about working with authors (some even have day jobs as CIA agents!) and the romance books she loves.

Amazing Secondary Characters: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Amazing Secondary Characters: Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

Posted by on 07/09/2018 • 1 Comment

Sarah MacLean is one of my favorite romance authors and after finishing The Day of the Duchess. I was eagerly anticipating the start of a new series and some new characters to fall in love with. I think the best way to state my relationship to this book is that while I wasn’t as invested in the storyline of the two main characters, I was incredibly invested in the overarching plot of the series and the placement of this book within it. I LOVED the secondary characters and I am eagerly awaiting their stories in the future installments. 

SO. I didn’t love Wicked and the Wallflower but I am in love with the The Bareknuckle Bastards series?? The question marks at the end because I feel like that is a confusing statement and…

In Conversation With Nick: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

In Conversation With Nick: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Posted by on 06/04/2018 • 1 Comment

Nick (The Infinite Limits of Love) is the one who made me read this book so it’s only right that my review of it is actually just me fangirling over it with her. ENJOY!

Rashika: Nick left me here to write a review while she is showering and I don’t know what to say. IT’S HER FAULT I READ THIS BOOK. WHY ISN’T SHE HERE TO TALK? HMPH.

Nick: BACK FROM THE SHOWER! Let me just preface by saying this: Michael Phan is mine. No one is going to steal my book boyfriend from me.

R: Wow. UM. Michael is mine. I am sorry to break it to you. AND EVEN IF YOU READ THE BOOK BEFORE ME, IT DOESN’T COUNT. WE GET TO FIGHT IT OVER NOW. But speaking,…

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Great Secondary Characters but Unimpressive Hero: Hot Asset by Lauren Layne

Posted by on 05/24/2018 • 0 Comments

Lauren Layne has slowly become one of those romance authors I can count on to deliver a book that will sweep me up by my feet. Her characters tend to have good chemistry, great banter and just generally good personalities. When I read the premise for Hot Asset, I was immediately intrigued but overall, the book wasn’t what I had come to expect from Lauren Layne.

It started off really rough with me wanting to DNF a chapter or two in but I persisted and slowly became more attached to the secondary characters and the general world Layne had built. I finished the book on a much stronger note than I had begun it although I am still not sure if I even really liked it??

My biggest issue with…

When Will Book 7 Be Out: After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

When Will Book 7 Be Out: After the Wedding by Courtney Milan

Posted by on 04/24/2018 • 0 Comments

It is no secret that I have been in a pretty big reading slump this month. I’ve mentioned it in a post or two and if you’re a frequent visitor, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted a review in a while. It isn’t that a bad book or a really good one put me in a slump, it is that I haven’t really wanted to pick up a book and just keep on reading it until I finish. When After the Wedding landed in my inbox, I messaged my pal Lisa asking if she wanted to buddy-read since we had both been waiting for this book for what felt like a millenium. We got off to a rough start but soon, I literally couldn’t stop reading and maybe jumped…

Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Adventurous and Swoony: Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett

Posted by on 03/30/2018 • 1 Comment

I’ve been reading Jenn Bennett for half a decade now and she’s been one of those authors I basically just read anything by. I don’t need a summary or acclaim, I JUST NEED BOOKS BY JENN BENNETT. This book had the added advantage of having an enemies-to-lovers/friends-to-lovers romance trope and an survival-esque story so like… yeah.

Unsurprisingly, I loved this book but I also got to buddy-read it with a close friend which made my experience reading it all the more better. But as anyone knows, loving a book doesn’t make writing a review any easier. It probably makes it a lot harder.

Zorie and Lennon used to be the best of friends and were on their way to becoming something more when something goes wrong. Now they go out…

11 Hate-To-Love Romances We Deserve

11 Hate-To-Love Romances We Deserve

Posted by on 03/29/2018 • 2 Comments

I am self-certified garbage for hate to love romances and any book that promises even a hint of one usually gets a spot high on my enormous TBR. This post compiles some of my favs but is by no means comprehensive because honestly, I’ve read too much to be able to keep track of everything. EVEN THOUGH I TRY.

1. The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson

Retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, a classic love/hate romance but maybe even better? The angst is beautiful. Don’t @ me.

2. Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Read it upon a friend’s recommendation who promised to disown me if I hated it and lucky for her, I didn’t. The hero is a total grump.

3. Married by Morning…

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Cute but Needs Work: How the Cowboy Was Won by Lori Wilde

Posted by on 03/16/2018 • 0 Comments

When one of my mutuals pointed out How the Cowboy Was Won was an Emma retelling, I was all aboard. I adore Jane Austen novels and I especially adore retellings of them. I don’t think I’ve seen many literary Emma retellings so it’s amusing that this year, there are two on my TBR!

So. Anyway. I have a complicated relationship with this book. There are parts of it I really liked but there were a bunch of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I haven’t seen many reviews talking about some of the things that bothered me which makes me more inclined to be critical. I want issues to be talked about. SO. ANYWAY. I am going to start with the good stuff first and break this review down…