Love by Numbers
by Sara Donovan
How to Fall in Love with Someone YOU Choose. (Why not, if you have a broken man-picker?)
Choose an available compatible guy-friend who doesn’t turn you off and rewire your brains for a hot and heavy romance.
- Get emotional while watching a sad movie.
- Share a major adrenaline rush.
- Be competent at something cool, but don’t make a big deal out of it.
- Have him provide food from the hunt (a good restaurant will do).
- Eyegaze until it doesn’t feel weird.
- Fulfil each other’s primary fantasies within reason and without judgment.
- Sleep together like stacked spoons.
Repeat the above until love and lust click in. Then send your love brain chemicals into overdrive by not seeing each other. That’s when things really get cooking.
‘Nip it in the bud and run like hell,’ he read from my notepad after I’d had a rant about my suspected limerence problem. ‘Hard to nip something in the bud when it’s already a forty-metre gum tree.’
‘It’s not a forty-metre gum tree. It’s slightly less than that. And anyway, what about you and Holly? You’re almost as bad as me.’
Holly was my high school classmate, flatmate of two years and soccer team-mate. She was our team’s starting striker and I was sweeper, which pretty well sums up our relationship, despite it being the off season. I was sure Nathan was somewhere on the limerence spectrum when it came to Holly — which was probably the real reason why he’d suggested going back to my place when we were on the phone.
‘Well despite the Ryan-labelled box of condoms in your ensuite cupboard which is a bit obsessive,’ (not fair of him to bring this up. I was half drunk watching The Secret and visualising my goals at the time), ‘I think you’re taking this OCD thing too seriously. If we’re obsessive, then half the people in this bar are as well.’
‘Really?’ I had a quick look around. ‘They don’t look obsessive to me.’
‘No one does from this distance.’
I sighed and looked out the window.
‘So, how would you get over Brian?’ Nathan asked gently.
‘Well, according to the experts,’ I said, putting down my New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and taking the textbook I’d borrowed from the uni library out of my bag, ‘all I have to do is have an intimate relationship with him so I can find his flaws and kick him off the pedestal.’
‘That could be problematic,’ Nathan said. ‘What are your other options?’
‘No contact or total rejection, which isn’t so easy to get unless you try to get it, so the book says.’ I threw the book back in my handbag.
‘I’d go for no contact,’ Nathan said.
‘I can’t. We work for the same company.’
‘That only leaves rejection.’ Nathan’s eyebrows knit together. ‘You’re not going to try to get Brian to reject you, are you?’
‘Of course not! I just have to find a way to stop thinking about him.’
Only I was thinking about him again already.
‘So your only real option is to make a list of his fatal flaws and kick him off the pedestal without being his girlfriend. You have put him on a pedestal, you know.’
I gave Nathan a resigned smile, then tried to list Ryan’s shortcomings in my head. Within seconds, I was back at the wine bar with him, having our third imaginary drink.
‘Tell me your deepest, darkest faults,’ I said as I leant towards him.
‘Only if you tell me yours first’, Ryan replied, making me laugh.
What was I doing? How could I be having another Ryan fantasy already?
‘So you have to do an assignment, right?’ Nathan said, picking up the handout that was in my notepad.
‘So you do it on curing love addiction and write twenty pages on Brian’s flaws.’
‘Or maybe you’ll get a lucky break and he’ll be retrenched tomorrow.’
The thought of never seeing Ryan again suddenly sent a chill down my spine, despite it being the one sure way I could get over him.
‘Odyssey won’t retrench him. He makes them too much money,’ I said. ‘But if I survive the restructure, I’ll use my obsessiveness to get over him, not into him. I have to. Otherwise it won’t just be Gran’s ring I’ll be accidently throwing away — it’ll be another year of my life!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sara Donovan is a corporate facilitator and instructional designer who delivers training programs in neuroscience and communication skills. She draws inspiration for her writing from psychology, science and her accidental romcom life.
Sara agreed to let me grill her about her writing process 🙂
What do you write?
I like writing stories that explore meaningful issues in a way that is light and fun. I also like creating characters and plot points that are a bit sideways to what’s expected.
What genre do you favor?
My favourite genre is romantic comedy.
Being in love with someone, then trying to find out who they really are and create long term intimacy with them is complicated, difficult, funny and utterly compelling in my experience. There’s so much room for drama and comedy in that – not to mention the opportunity to learn something.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Whenever I watched a TV show or saw a movie I really loved when I was a kid, I wasn’t envious of the glamorous movie stars who acted out the story, I wanted to be the person who made up the story.
It even kind of confused me watching the Oscars why it was that there was so much focus on the actors, when they’d be nowhere without the writer who’d created their character.
My love of other people’s stories led to a love of creating my own stories and by the time I was half way through high school I realized I wanted to be a writer
My struggle to understand the “rules” of getting consistently good marks, coupled with my feelings of vulnerability about being evaluated, meant I chose to avoid anything subjective for a career. I spent years studying the most objective subject I could – science. I worked in medical research and then in business, the whole time feeling that there was a book in me that needed to get out.
I nonetheless managed to actively avoid writing for years, until eventually it was more painful not to write, than it was to write. It’s been a long process….
What do you think is the best way to publish these days?
I think that the best way to publish is to follow the path of least resistance. For me, the path of least resistance was via the fantastic team at Harper Impulse. For friends of mine, it’s been via the self-publishing route.
I’m sure this isn’t new information, but you do need to be prepared to have your own marketing strategy and to be your own publicist whichever path you take. There’s significant overlap even if the paths might be different.
What are your favorite genres to read? Why?
I love a story that makes me care about the characters, feel emotion, not be too violent and teaches me something. That can span several genres really. Drama, romance, historical, sci-fi, biographies….
Do your characters talk to you?
My characters don’t talk to me right away. In fact, it’s not until I’ve written about a third of my first draft that my characters show up and little by little start telling me what happens in the story.
By the end of my first draft, my characters are well and truly running the show. It’s so great when that happens and so hard to start a new project because it isn’t happening.
Without your characters taking over, the possibilities of what could happen are endless, which is kind of daunting!
As they say in the movie Field of Dreams – ‘Build it and they will come’. And just like in the movie, it takes faith to get in and start building a story before your characters move in.
How do you approach starting a new book?
I think about whatever makes me feel deeply embarrassed, or fully alive or is fascinating to me. Then I think of how I could further deepen and explore and resolve the feeling via a story.
The creative leap is going from the feeling to the story.
What is your writing process?
- Come up with an entertaining hypothesis I want to test about whatever embarrasses me, makes me feel alive or fascinates me
- Work out what kinds of personalities would best allow the premise to be explored in its extreme
- Plot the entire story and even every scene
- Apply bum glue, sit down and write
- Let the characters run amok and create their own story (despite my plotting)
What are the best writing books or blogs you’ve ever read?
Stephen Kings “On Writing” is my writing bible. I dip into it when I need encouragement and it never disappoints.
What are your non-writing hobbies, or what do you do to relax?
Reading, hiking, playing music and doing hot yoga.
What was your best date ever?
Going on a hike, followed by a picnic, followed by a wonderful romantic, sexy foreign movie (Like Water for Chocolate), followed by dinner. Neither of us wanted the date to end.
Navy SEAL or cowboy?
A cowboy who used to be a Navy SEAL.
Chocolate or chips?
Dark chocolate with sea salt flakes.
If you could have a superpower what would it be? Why?
I’d like to be able to utilise 100% of my brain power – like Bradly Cooper in the movie Limitless.
That would give me enormous capacity to solve big problems – my own and maybe even some of the world’s big problems as well.
Fancy restaurant or picnic?
Beer or wine?
Wonderful Australian Shiraz.
Smooth or hairy?
Smooth – but not too smooth.
Sara will be awarding an eCopy of Love by Numbers to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.