Monday, February 08, 2010

Smart Man: William Simon, cyber crimes investigator

IMHO continues our series of pre-Valentine’s day posts with the theme of “Why Smart Women (and Men) Read Romance.” Please welcome William Simon, professional cyber crimes investigator, as he gives his perspective on this topic. He knows whereof he speaks, as the manly Will is the former president of one of the local Houston-area Romance Writers of America chapters.

Just to remind you, I’ll be giving prizes away each day during the event from February 7 - 13, so be sure to leave a comment to be eligible. Please see my contest page for eligibility rules. If your name is chosen, you must claim your prize by e-mailing me at tjb @ tjbennett . com (no spaces) by February 14, 2010, or I will award it to someone else.

Today's I'm donating the  prize of a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, so be sure to leave a comment for Will and tell him what you think about smart men who read (and watch) romance. Oh, and let's have another fun fact about romantic fiction, shall we?

Your naysayer sneers: "Hardly anyone reads romance. Most people read real books, like literary fiction."

Your response (statistics from Romance Writers of America pressroom): "Oh yeah? Well, romance fiction held the largest share of the consumer market in 2008 at 13.5 percent. And, dollar for dollar, romance fiction's $1.37 billion in estimated revenue for 2008 outdid all the following categories:

Religion/inspirational: $800 million
Mystery: $668 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $551 million
Classic literary fiction: $446 million

So, no matter how big the press is for literary fiction, more people enjoy a good romance (or a Bible). So there."

Now, on with the show.

William Simon: Do men read or watch romance?

You bet they do.

Some of the most romantic couples ever seen or heard of are in the so-called “male” orientated movies or books of the past few decades.

Don’t believe it? Think about it.

DIE HARD and DIE HARD 2: a lone policeman battles incredible odds and does what he has to do… all to rescue his wife. Blowing up a skyscraper or an airport means nothing. John McLane is not trying to save the world or stop Bad Guys; he really could care less. McLane is trying to save the woman he loves.

Nick and Nora Charles. Originally a one-shot novel, the first movie generated such interest an entire series of original stories was created. Married people can have fun, too, and while they’re at it, well, if they catch a killer or two along the way, what the heck. (TV detective couples Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, along with Remington Steele and Laura Holt, carried this genre several decades after. It will be interesting to see what happens now that we’re in 2010.)

Simon Templar, THE SAINT, as played by Roger Moore. Why did a character such as this, wealthy, no commitments, traveling the world, involve himself in matters dealing with murderers, psychotic blackmailers, stranglers, frauds? Without exception, it was to rescue a Damsel in Distress.

LAURA, both the novel by Vera Caspary and the film with Dana Andrews and the incomparable Gene Tierney. A woman is brutally murdered for no apparent reason; the detective investigating her death falls in love with her from her photos and diaries and letters. When it’s revealed she is still alive, they work together to find who wanted her dead. (The plot’s a little clich├ęd now, but when it first appeared it knocked people out of their chairs.)

REBECCA. Daphne DuMaurier’s novel was spellbinding; the film by Alfred Hitchcock was mesmerizing. The same people brought us THE BIRDS, which scared everyone. Hard to imagine both coming from the same minds.

One of the all time great romantic novels came and went without an eye-blink. BID TIME RETURN, by Richard Matheson. Matheson wrote other novels, such as I AM LEGEND, THE SHRINKING MAN, etc. This was a change of genre for him. A playwright dying of a brain tumor has an incredibly real hallucination of traveling almost one hundred years back in time to meet the woman of his dreams... Or was it a hallucination? Sound familiar? It was made into a small movie titled SOMEWHERE IN TIME. The disease was left out, the rest an incredibly faithful adaptation of the book; it stands today as one of the all time classics.

The list goes on and on. I’m sure anyone and everyone reading this has their own favorites.

Romance is everywhere. It’s not what we do that defines it; it’s how we do it….

Bio: William Simon is a licensed professional investigator dealing exclusively with computer forensics and electronic evidence, and is also a Past President of the North West Houston RWA chapter. He owns all the above named movies on DVD, plus a lot more.


Melissa said...

Wonderful examples, Will!! A man who reads or watches romance...a true gem indeed! Emotions are what a relationship is all about in my opinion. What better way to show a woman you love her than to open up and not be afraid to share yours. :)

Carol L. said...

Hi William,
Great examples. I loved Somewhere in Time.Nick and Nora were a wonderful example of marriage (even if it was t.v.) :)
A man who can read romance is a rarity but of course a good one.
I enjoyed your post. Thank you
Carol L.

M.J. Hawk said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thanks, everyone, but especially Thank You to TJ for inviting me this morning!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, yes, of can you have a real story about real people--when there's not some elment of romance? Even the knights in shining armor were valiantly protecting their ladies...and Odysseus just wanted to get home to Penelope.

Thanks for brinigng back the fond memories of Hart to Hart! And don't forget Adam's Rib--prosecutor vs defense attoreny, Tracy vs. Hepburn, sometimes in the courtroom and sometimes in the bedroom.

M.J. Hawk said...

William, you nailed it! You chose some of my favorites, too---Nick and Nora, Laura, Rebecca, and Somewhere in Time.

Throughout history, romance, death, and war have been the driving forces of story. Where would we be without those vital forces? The strongest of these is love. Without love, the rest doesn't matter---there is no story. Whether it's the love of a man for a woman, or a mother for a child, or a friend for a friend or fellow soldier. Love is the one component that must be there.

Romance is about life. And there are so many great ways to explore love and life today in books--romantic suspense, paranormal romance, women's fiction, historical romance, suspense, thrillers, chick lit---there's something for everyone!

Even in the so-called "manly" books.

Nelson DeMille is a writer whose witty, high-concept thrillers go to the highest levels of government intrigue and conspiracy. But what keeps people coming back to his books? His characters. Specifically, his two heroes--a husband and wife. The key to entertaining readers through long, complicated stories is a simple one: The Nick and Nora-like relationship between a female FBI agent and a homicide cop.

Teri Thackston said...

Great interview, and I agree about all of those films and books. But I did not know that SOMEWHERE IN TIME was based on a book...thanks, Will!

Harley said...

Hear, hear!

I love mysteries and thrillers, but if there's not a suggestion of romance in a book, I get irritable. It's still what makes the world go 'round.

P.J. Mellor said...

Great points, Will! I loved all those old movies--can't wait to see what 2010 has in store for us romantics!

TJ Bennett said...

I loved SOMEWHERE IN TIME, Will. It was one of the first romantic movies my husband and I watched together while we were dating. We own it now on DVD. :-) I also never realized it was a book first.


Jane L said...

What a great list! It is so true about how the movies help shape the world of romance in the media.I think we also are fortunate to have all the access to the internet and such now days, it opens our options up to so many more authors we may not hear about otherwise!

Unknown said...

You're so right Will, although I'm fairly sure few people think of the Die Hard movies as romance. At their core, they are.
Fun and interesting post!

Anonymous said...

Good heavens, I don't think I've seen any of these movies or read any of these books. Where have I been?


Anonymous said...

Will - our closet romantic. LOL!
Great blog. Wonderful and powerful examples. Like Harley said, romance IS what makes the world go 'round.

Loretta Wheeler said...

Hello Will:)

Interesting blog! It was great to hear romance spoken of from a man's point of view:)

Loved all the books you mentioned...I just watched Rebecca again never loses me, no matter how many times I see it:)

Loretta Wheeler

Unknown said...

Shhh, Jenn.... people won't believe I'm a romantic...:)

The Scarf Princess said...

Great interview and movies/couples choices. Another man to mention is William Shakespeare who wrote very romantic literature. And in another modern movie, Independence Day, both Jeff Goldblum and Wil Smith put their lives on the line for the women they love.

SiNn said...

Hi William, thats seriously awesome its cool when men read and wtach romance and romantic movies its cool to see that you were once president of North West Houston RWA chapter too cool ty for stoping in

chey said...

Hi William,
Great post. There is romance in most stories, even when the stories aren't labelled romance.

Brandie N said...

I agee. I think even though women express love freely, I believe men love more deeply. Like you said, many action movies have a basic theme; woman in danger, man rescues against all odds :)


Unknown said...

Great post! There is a little romance in everything we read! Yes men read romance but they don't admit to reading it.

Ruth said...

Great list of movies. I think a man who admits to reading and watching romances is one who is very self assured and not embaressed about romance, as well as watching the programs in hopes of getting pointers on how to get the girl.

Maureen said...

My husband insists there is a romance in Braveheart because he thinks about the woman he lost and I think he has a point.

cheryl c said...

I can occasionally get my husband to watch a current "chick flick" or one of the old classic movies starring Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, or Jimmy Stewart. I remember that he really enjoyed the movie SOMEWHERE IN TIME, too. He still won't read a romance novel, though. I feel sure that if he would just read ONE, he would enjoy it.

Sue A. said...

I'm happy to find other people who love the classics like REBECCA and LAURA. Friends my age are just not into them making me feel like I was born in the wrong era.

librarypat said...

REBECCA is an old favorite here. I listen to a lot of audio books and started sharing them with my husband. My husband listens to them also. Many that I bring home are romances and he was initially surprised at the quality of the stories. Again, it is that mind set many have that if it is romance, it isn't a serious or well written book.