Guest blogger: Victoria Dahl
I was never one of those women who had a ton of girlfriends. I always had two or three close friends when I was in school and that was it. We had fun together. We went out. Mostly we were trying to meet boys.
After college, once I’d gotten married and moved to the suburbs and had children, I knew a few women, but those friendships were about proximity. They lived on my street and had kids the same age, so we spent time together. It wasn’t about connection.
Then my older son started Kindergarten and my youngest was in preschool, and I finally came up for air and looked around. One of the first people I spotted was Burden (not her real name. A GNO appellation.) She was, like me, always a tiny bit late for parent craft days and never lingered longingly during school drop off time. She didn’t look perfect and she laughed a lot. I liked her.
I believe the first time I ever spoke to her was on our way into the school for an assembly. ‘Are my boobs straight?’ I asked. ‘My bra feels funny.’ I figured it was best to find out right off the bat if we were going to get along.
She didn’t flinch away. She didn’t run. She stepped back, took a look at my chest, and said I looked fine. We’ve been friends ever since.
Girls’ Night Out didn’t happen right away. But then I started going to romance conferences.
One of the things that I absolutely adore about romance conferences is that the whole thing feels like a girls’ night out to me. Hundreds—sometimes thousands—of women, and all of us looking to have fun! At the bar! No boys allowed!
At my very first romance luncheon, I sat with people I’d never met. I started a conversation with the woman next to me and the talk somehow turned to sex scenes. Within a few minutes we were talking, in detail, about the dirtiest scenes we’d ever read. There were no men there. We didn’t have to worry that it’d be taken the wrong way. We could say anything we wanted.
For me, that’s the best thing about girls’ night. The honesty. The lack of a filter. The laughing so hard that your cheeks hurt. The chance to dress up in heels and a sexy dress just because it feels fun. Or the chance to curl up in yoga pants and drink sangria until you fall off the couch. Girls’ night in is just as fun.
Luckily, I made some girlfriends in my hometown that year, too, because the RWA conference had given me a taste for GNO. And following that same timeline, female friendships have become more important to me in my writing. Yes, the romance is the focus, but I want the heroine to have more in her life than a man. I want to know about her past and her job and I want to know who she surrounds herself with. Who will be there for her during that black moment.
I hope readers want to know that, too. I got so much positive response about the female friendships in my first Jackson series that I decided to make female friendship the theme of my second Jackson series Girls’ Night Out. That’s the thread that runs through all the books and the novella: the love these women have for each other.
Now I can’t wait to get to Australia and find out what girls’ night out is like there. I have a feeling you’re all really good at it. I guess we’ll find out soon! I’ll see you at the bar at ARRC!
There’s no hiding from sizzling chemistry…
Artist Isabelle West has good reasons for preferring a solitary life. Tucked away in a cabin in the woods, she has everything she needs…except a red-hot love life. That is, until a hard-bodied US marshal threatens to unearth secrets she’s spent years protecting. But giving in to the sparks flying between them can only lead to one thing…disaster.
Tom Duncan lives by the letter of the law. But no one has tempted him—or confused him—more than free-spirited Isabelle, who arouses his suspicion and his desire. As their connection grows, and their nights get hotter, they find their wild attraction might shake everything he stands for—and expose everything she has to hide.