Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Advice for Lovers: Author Interview with Dalma Heyn and Richard Marek

Ah, sweet love. The wisp of tender passion is in the air, as Valentine's Day creeps ever closer. With its imminent approach, many people dwell on love and how to attract and/or keep it, I myself within that poignant crowd. What gentle fools we are...

As much as it would be nice to think it's as easy as an arrow into the heart from Cupid's deft bow, don't fool yourself. Love isn't quite as easy as that. Even Cupid has a harder time these days, despite us living in a time of avid "social" media. Ironic that in many ways, our social media use has actually left us even lonelier than we were before.

It doesn't have to be that way though and I am lucky enough to have a few love experts willing to share some tips on how to fall in love. I recently reviewed How to Fall in Love, and authors Dalma Heyn and Richard Marek have a few tips and advice for the singletons amongst us. Help me welcome Dalma and Richard to A New Day!

Fall in Love with Richard and Dalma

Richard Marek and Dalma Heyn
Being single in the digital age is hard work. There are dating apps to fill out, finding the perfect pics to show off your fun and quirky side, and then all those profiles to swipe through. And that’s just to hopefully get a date or two! How is anyone expected to find and nourish true love via 1” pixelated photos and brief blurbs that leave you feeling flat? Do you have any tips for the lovelorn in 2019? 

Being single IS hard work—much like an audition for a part you don’t even know you want but nevertheless have to keep returning to for call-backs. The “perfect pics” to show off your “fun and quirky side”—plus all other attempts to present the “you” you want a potential date to “get” at first glance—it’s exhausting.

In all the years I’ve written dating columns, I’ve just one serious piece of advice—and it’s mostly for women. (A man seems able simply to be ambulatory and under age 80, and not a serial killer to be considered a good date.)  But women are caught in the age-old “I’m the perfect woman” trap. Here’s how to get out of it: YOU are looking for someone, and that fact is more important than presenting yourself to be looked at. Think of it as looking out of your eyes, not looking at yourself through the culture’s. By that I mean, do not try to please this mysterious group of dates out there—instead be clear about what pleases YOU. This little switch sounds easier than it is. I’ve spoken with some women who aren’t sure what they want and so naturally fall back on ways to be wanted. But focusing on YOUR desires will go far to make filling out these dating apps more of a pleasure than a drag.

Excellent Advice! Knowing yourself is half the challenge when looking for a new mate. What do you really want in a partner? Do some soul-searching first before expecting someone to fit a role which you don't even know the parameters.

Okay, so say we’ve been out on a date or two. Fantastic, but how do we take it to the next level? 
Going from a first or second date to “the next level,” as you put it, is more a matter of intuition. If you’re both feeling good about seeing each other, and are both shy, it just takes a nudge—in words and In person. Before you leave your last date, you say, “This is fun. I hope we can do it again.”  Responsive but not too eager, and hardly requiring much of an attention span.  Your date’s response will either be, “Yeah, let’s go for pizza at that new place on Saturday, okay?” Or it won’t elicit more than a grunt. Either way, you’re ahead. It’s either moving forward or you’re moving on.  

PS: It may take a lot of these deadly attempts at connection, but, as my mother used to say, it only takes two minutes to meet someone and know it’s right. So you have to plow through.

It makes sense that it takes work to find someone you truly connect with. Not everyone is a perfect match to you, but there is someone out there for everyone. Keep looking! And once you find them, keeping working to grow that love every day. 

One of those ways is with a simple note sharing your heart's desires—a love letter. Are love letters still valid and valued today? Do you have tips Dalma and Richard on how readers can create the perfect love letter for their beloved? Or even win your 2019 Love Letter contest!
Love letters are more valid, and more valued, than ever. Attention spans may have hit rock bottom, but that doesn’t mean a quick “Love ya! ” is going to catch anyone’s attention, short as it may be, unless you’re speaking to your dog-walker. Just as desire needs space, time, and room to breathe in order to expand into love, so do words between lovers need space, time, room and thought in order to express love. Part of the joy of sending AND receiving a love letter is that it does take time. Precious time devoted to revealing a precious emotion—one that no little heart-faced emoji can possibly express. 

All letters are valid and valued—when was the last time your received a thank-you note via snail-mail? An apology, written out with care and heartfelt concern for reparation? A letter can say, and mean, everything. And a love letter, of course, means more than anything.

You seem to know a lot about love letters and what should go into them. Is there anything that star-crossed lovers should steer clear of when expressing their undying love to their sweetheart? What are some love letter don’ts?
We could give you a list of don’ts for business letters, personal letters, apology letters….but we have no such list for love letters. Unlike the former, which require certain formats and sign-offs; proper margins and good grammar and correct placement of addresses and dates, the love letter is totally without rules.  It’s as free an expression of an overwhelming feeling that you’ll ever have, an emotion that simply must be expressed.  Your way. It’s YOUR expression, in YOUR voice, with YOUR wit and soulfulness and charm.  You love this person and can’t bear holding in your feelings one more moment., grammar, punctuation, be damned. All that’s required is that it be pure; it mustn’t have any other agenda than to express your love. Our sense of how we’ll judge the letters is simply that we feel what the writer feels!

Hear that readers? You don't need a Masters degree in Love OR University level English to express what your heart feels. Just let those heartfelt emotions flow!

I recently read ‘How to Fall in Love’, co-authored by you both. Did collaborating on this novel bring you closer together? What inspired you to write a love story orchestrated by Cupid, but bungled through by two unlikely characters – Eve, a former ballet star cum maple sugar bush owner, and Evan, an anthologist and car enthusiast? Are the lessons they learned along the way important for anyone contemplating love?
We were inspired to write the book by just what you so wisely point out in question 1: That everyone is overwhelmed with dating apps, texting, sexting, tagging on Facebook, getting the right makeup highlighter for Instagram…..that we wondered how two people not seriously wired got together.  And since we wanted our question to be presented in a light-hearted way, we thought of the old-fashioned idea of Cupid—how his arrow, when it hit, engendered love in one person.  And the rest just flowed. 

Richard is an editor, so an anthologist was a fun way to present an editor, and I know a bit about dancers. We both know a lot about second chances, and the difficulties of making love happen when two lives are so different from each other’s. It was a great collaboration and we had so much fun!

What about you Dalma and Richard? How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship? Any tips on those struggling to find or keep love vibrant and meaningful in their lives?
We have been blessed with a kind of ease between us; we don’t “work” on our relationship as much as we keep in touch about what we’re feeling.  When trust builds over the years, so does empathy for one’s partner.  Even when we’re furious at each other, we can each feel, somehow, what the other is going through, and find ourselves letting it go faster than we did when we were younger and had to make our points really clear.

Thank you so much for speaking with me Richard and Dalma. I appreciate all your advice and inspiration on love and keeping passion alive and well in today's fickle digital age. We need to slow down and take the time to know ourselves and others better if we are to keep our connections strong. Your enthusiasm for reaching that level of connectedness is heartening.

If you want to connect with Dalma and Richard, you can find them on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and on their website. Don't forget to take a look at their love letter contest. You can win a rose gold Tiffany Paloma Picasso love ring, plus a hand-written, framed copy of your love letter. 

Happy Valentine's week my friends. May love find you and keep you in a special place, even if it's just falling in love with yourself all over again. 



Husband and wife team Dalma Heyn and Richard Marek are the authors of  How to Fall in Love , a provocative love story for the digital age. Heyn is the author of the New York Times best-seller The Erotic Silence of the American Wife, Marriage Shock and Drama Kings. Her books, published in 35 countries, have been best-sellers both here and abroad. Richard Marek is one of the most accomplished book editors and publishers of his generation, working with writers James Baldwin, Thomas Harris, and Robert Ludlum, among many others. He is the author of Works of Genius and has ghostwritten a number of best-sellers.

Monday, February 4, 2019

How to Fall in Love

How to Fall in Love by Dalma Heyn & Richard Marek, © 2018, The Story Plant

Valentine's Day is coming up fast. That leads some to think about love and how to attain it. In today's digital age though, many have become jaded on Cupid's domain. We've all got baggage and sometimes it seems too much to make us viable in today's shallow dating pool. But Dalma Heyn and Richard Marek are betting otherwise with their new novel set to be released this week.

Cupid is in trouble with the big guy. Jove figures the world doesn't need help from Eros, what with the vast majority of people dialing into Tinder hookups, sexting, and love in the dot com age. Nobody looks to Cupid anymore, so it's time for him to go.

Of course Cupid, isn't convinced and gambles that he can prove that real love still exists. He just needs a likely couple to prove it, and a bit of time. Enter Evan Cameron—anthologist and car enthusiast—and Eve Golyakovsky—prima ballerina, cum maple sugar bush owner. An unlikely couple who happen to live on opposite sides of the US. Jove gives Cupid seven months; no magic, potions, nor tricks. Love must be won on its own merit, with only the slightest manipulations from the love god. Heaven help all those who dream of romance in their future!

While Cupid flits in and out of the story, the bulk of the novel is all about Evan and Eve. Like so many of us, they have both been in previous relationships with mixed acclaim. Neither one found overwhelming love. Both thought it was their fault. But Heyn and Marek manipulate us to believe that maybe there is that special someone out there for everyone. A special someone who might not be perfect in all ways, but once you find them, is willing to move heaven and earth to be a part of your life.

How do you fall in love? Sometimes fate intervenes on occasion, but we need to open to it. While the novel follows the ups and downs of Eve and Evan's personal uncertainties and previous preconceived notions, ultimately, it asks us to be honest with ourselves. You don't have to be perfect to fall in love, but you have to be willing to make time and space for someone in your life. And that includes face-time. If we are to learn anything from this simple love story, it's that texts, emails, and even phone calls can be imperfect modes for communication. If you dare to give love a chance, do it one on one and with your whole heart.

So to hopefuls and romantics out there, good luck finding and keeping love. And good luck to Dalma and Richard with their new novel, which you can find on Amazon.


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