I love going to see live theater! How about reading a romance that is set on the stage?
Using the Theater in Fiction
Since my book A Midsummer Night’s Fling is about a pair of actors plying their trade I thought it would be fun to talk about some of my favorite stories that, like my book, use the theater as their setting.
One of my favorite character types in romance novels is the actor hero/heroine. I can never get enough of books that feature working actors, which is probably why I’m writing the Stage Kiss Series–a whole series of nothing but actor heroes/heroines! The first book A Midsummer Night’s Fling came out this summer, and tells the story of two reunited lovers trying to work out their issues amidst all the bedlam backstage at a theater company.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty difficult to find “actor books” set in the theater (most stories feature film actors), but the Jocelyn O’Roarke murder mystery series by Jane Dentinger does theater right. These are mysteries with a dash of romance, and the amateur sleuth is a take charge theater actress. The behind the scenes theater elements on this series are wonderful: putting on makeup, costume fittings, rehearsals, auditions. It’s all there, and it’s all so fun to read about.
Those are about the only fiction I’ve read with a theater actor as the lead that I really loved. But, fortunately, TV has tackled life upon the wicked stage a time or two. A few years ago the TV series Smash was on the air, and it was all about trying to produce a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. One of the things I loved about this show was the wide variety of characters it followed: actors, yes, but also directors, producers, writers. And a lot of the original music for the Marilyn and other fake musicals was really fantastic.
I have to say, though, probably my favorite theater story is Slings & Arrows, a hilarious Canadian TV show about a floundering classical theater festival; Shakespeare references, romance, and hilarity abound. The series is smart and really well done. The writers having been former theater actors themselves this show gets so much right and, again, the show features a wide variety of characters doing various things around the theater. It also has a TON of Shakespeare discussion, performance, and allusions. I, being a former English major, just loved all of that.
So, what about you? Are any of you fans of live theater? Do you wish you could see more backstage stories like the ones described above?
Beth Matthews is a California girl, born and raised. She’s a total geek, a movie buff, and a mediocre swing dancer. She lives in sunny SoCal with her boyfriend and two of the neediest housecats on the planet.
A Midsummer Night’s Fling
by Beth Matthews
(Stage Kiss Series #1)
Publication date: June 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
After dating her childhood sweetheart Max on and off for years, aspiring actress Nicola Charles is finally ready to move on. It’s time for her to focus on her stage career and stay away from Max–before he can break her heart again.
Max regrets hurting Nicola, but he wants another chance. So when his play loses its leading lady, giving Nicola the part seems like the perfect opportunity to win back his old flame.
But the course of true love—and a theater production—never do run smooth. As Max fights to reignite Nicola’s love, the onstage antics can’t rival the bedlam backstage: a neurotic cast, a prickly crew, and an evil diva of a director who’s got designs on Max.
As Nicola and Max battle to keep the drama onstage, Max can’t help wondering if their romance will end with the last performance. Or have the two of them finally captured what they’ve dreamed of all their lives? True Love.
A contemporary romance that should appeal to fans of the wry humor and playful sexiness in the works of Julie James and Victoria Dahl.
As soon as her lips touched his, Nicola knew she’d made a terrible mistake.
But, wow, did she not give a shit.
This kiss was an inevitability, the climax of the sexual tension that had been kindling inside her since they began the scene. Since I opened the door this afternoon and saw him. She sighed into his mouth, her eyes prickling.
Five years. Five years and it might as well have been a second. Or a lifetime. I don’t know him anymore. Didn’t know what he’d done for the last few years, didn’t know how he’d changed, who he was.
Skin remembered skin. And her mouth opened against his with the ease of tender familiarity. She didn’t really know him anymore, but her body remembered every inch of his, every touch, every breath they breathed together, every feeling.
His mouth was soft and warm as his tongue swept into her mouth. Heat pooled between her thighs, a greedy, selfish want for all he could give her.
Don’t start this again. But she wanted to give in, to let go, to lose herself to him. I don’t care. I don’t care. With a small sigh, she deepened the kiss, her tongue clashing with his. Delicious friction. Primal need. Yes.
Max groaned into her mouth and pushed his body close to hers, backing her against the doorframe. Backing her up hard enough her head knocked into the doorframe.
He broke away. “Shit. I’m sorry.”
“Ow?” Nicola rubbed her sore spot and shot him a laughing glance. “Boy, this really is like old times.”
“Ah, intermissions.” He grinned. “The one time I could kiss you as much as I wanted.”
“Until you inevitably knocked me into a wall.”
He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “I never meant to bang you into that wall backstage.”
“Old habits. Ha. Is this a kiss or a concussion?”
“Both?” He leaned toward her, so warm, so familiar.
He’ll never be what you need him to be. The thought seared into her mind, sucking all the sweetness out of her surrender. She drew away, her body tingling in anticipation of the delights which would never come now.
She ducked, dodging his hands when he tried to stop her retreat. “I have to go.”