At long last I am finally able to interview Rick Johnson.
Rick: You still need to update the Goals for 2012 page.
Ruth: Oh yes. I will do that after I finish with this interview.
Rick: I notice my book’s publication date has been moved to May 1 instead of March 1.
Ruth: Well, yes. Dave and Mary are rather persistent, esp. Dave who made a deal with me that he’d finish up Isaac’s Decision to my liking if I put in four bedroom scenes for him and Mary in To Have and To Hold. He’s a tough negotiator.
Rick: Too bad I wasn’t in Isaac’s Decision long enough to give you a hard time. Otherwise, my book would still be in the March time slot.
Ruth: *shrugs* It wasn’t intentional, Rick. It just sort of happened. I’ve worked with Dave and Mary before in Eye of the Beholder. I know them better than I know you.
Rick: Well, you certainly give lots of scenes to Sally. In fact, it seems like she’s popping up in every single book you write for the Nebraska series.
Ruth: That’s not true. She wasn’t in A Bride for Tom, A Husband for Margaret, or His Redeeming Bride. Besides, I don’t see what you’re complaining about. Since you’re married to her, you usually tag along.
Rick: Well, that’s just it, isn’t it? All I ever do it tag along. It’s like I’m only around because I married her. I’m like “the man behind the woman”. I’m an afterthought.
Ruth: That isn’t true. You have your own book.
Rick: Where you make me look like a fool. I mean, seriously? Ethel Mae doesn’t want to be with me, which I’m too dumb to see. So they have Sally make up this stupid plan where she talks me into pretending to like her in order to make Ethel Mae jealous. That is so lame. It’s the weakest plot I’ve ever seen you write. An Inconvenient Marriage might be horrifying because of your glaring historical inaccuracies, but at least you had a good plot, even if it was ridiculous that the hero didn’t know how to ride a horse. *rolls eyes*
Ruth: I didn’t know you read my other books.
Rick: Well, I had my assistant read it and tell me what happened. Romances aren’t my thing. No offense.
Ruth: Is it painful for you to be in a romance book when you don’t like them?
Rick: I’d rather be reading law books.
Ruth: Would you rather be living in a book more in line with what a man would want to read?
Rick: Goodness no. That would put me in some weird thriller where you’d probably mark me as the serial killer out of spite. On top of that, you’d probably get the laws and police procedures wrong. I mean, if you think women wore as many clothes as Mary does from all the sewing she does and that men concerned themselves with women’s feelings all the time when it wasn’t cool to be ‘sensitive’, then I can only imagine how you’d butcher a thriller.
Ruth: Rick, there’s something you don’t understand. Romance is a fantasy. It’s about two people finding each other and falling in love despite the obstacles–
Rick: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever. I have nothing against fantasy, but let a bit of realism slip into the plot from time to time, okay?
Ruth: Well, you are going to botch up your chances of having sex on your wedding night because of a joke you think will be funny, and Sally’s response will be realistic enough when that time comes.
Rick: How is that romantic?
Ruth: It’s not, but you have this crazy notion that you shouldn’t be in tune with her feelings since being ‘sensitive’ is so ‘future’. You’re the one who goofs up, and since you don’t understand the very nature of romance, I think you’ll totally blow your chances.
Rick: We’ll see. If Sally is that much in love with me, she’ll have sex with me on our wedding night.
Ruth: You’re so cute. Keep thinking that, pal. We’ll see whether you can pull it off or not because no matter what the time period, women don’t want to be played for a fool.
Rick: Who’s fooling who? I just found out Ethel Mae, her sister Vivian, and Sally have been lying to me about Samuel Dixon who is supposed to be the man Ethel Mae can’t resist. But he doesn’t even exist.
Rick: Who are you?
Samuel: Allow me to introduce myself. I am Samuel Dixon, and I assure you, Rick, that I do exist.
Ruth: What? For real?
Rick: As if you didn’t know, Ruth!
Ruth: Hey, I’m just as blown away as you are, Rick. I never intended to bring in Samuel when I started the book.
Samuel: I decided to pop in. The plot needed a neat twist, don’t you think?
Rick: No, I don’t think it did. Just what kind of character are you anyway? You’re walking around in sunglasses in a suit without shoes on and… Don’t tell me you’re missing a shirt.
Samuel: I have a shirt. It just isn’t buttoned up like yours. I’m not uptight like you are.
Rick: Uptight? I’m not uptight.
Samuel: As if! It wouldn’t kill you to relax and enjoy the story as it plays out.
Ruth: Samuel, I like you already.
Samuel: Yes, I like myself, too.
Rick: Why am I not surprised?
Samuel: I almost feel sorry for you, Rick. Here you are, stressing out over the small stuff when the world has so much fun to offer. Just let it roll off your back. So what if the ladies lied? We all know you’re going to end up with Sally since you’re married to her in the other Nebraska books. Obviously, Ethel Mae can’t be interested in you.
Rick: And she’s interested in you?
Samuel: She doesn’t even know I exist, so how can she? *grins wickedly* At least, she doesn’t know me yet.
Rick: Figures. I get stuck in a lame book with a conceited jerk who thinks he’s so great in his “relaxed” attire.
Samuel: I’m having fun. For your information, I’m on my way to California. I’m going to start a chain of hotels out there. Watch out, Bill Gates. Here I come!
Rick: Bill Gates wasn’t alive in 1868, and he doesn’t manage hotels.
Samuel: Oh. Well, then watch out Henry Ford!
Rick: Think earlier in history.
Samuel: Did they have movies back then? You know, the ones without sound?
Rick: I am so screwed. I am the hero in a book written by an inept author who thinks she’s clever by creating Samuel who doesn’t even know how to put his shoes on or button his shirt. I’m going to be the laughingstock of all romance heroes everywhere.
Ruth: Oh Rick, the point to this book is for Sally to get her romance. When I think of it, you really are a “in the shadows” kind of character. I mean, you’re there but you play no significant role–
Rick: I’ve had enough. Bring me in again for another interview and I just might have you arrested and brought to court. I’m a judge and can lock you away forever.
Ruth: I think they have computer access in prison so I could still write books.
Rick: Not in my time they don’t! And you better not add that Sally’s going to vote for a president or something because women didn’t vote back then either.
Ruth: Well, Rick. Who knew you had it in you to be so feisty? I love characters with attitude.
Rick: *grumbles and leaves*
Samuel: I think I’ll pay Ethel Mae a visit. Who knows? She might be a looker. *takes off in his Mustang*
Ruth: Hmm… I hope he doesn’t drive up to her house in that thing. I know I told him to walk in the book synopsis.