We’ve all been there…smack in the middle of a situation where we have no control and feel as if we’re adrift on a huge sea in a rudderless boat. We might experience this sensation when we attend a different school or start a new job. From the minute we walk into the classroom or office people stare. They might whisper to each other and increase our discomfort. After all, they know exactly what they’re doing and are familiar with the routine, while we’re floundering and trying to get to grips with the local routine.
You know what I’m talking about, right? I see you all nodding.
Because everyone understands the emotions and feelings these uncomfortable situations create, the fish out of water plotline is a classic one when it comes to romances.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the tale of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which is a typical fish-out-of-water story. When Alice goes down the rabbit hole, she ends up in a world that’s very confusing and full of strange rules. She needs to think on her feet in order to survive.
A few years ago, I wrote a fish-out-of-water story called Fancy Free. Since I adore the Alice in Wonderland story, I appropriated the character name and wrote my own modern version. The heroine, Alice Beasley unexpectedly receives an inheritance from her godmother. To her shock, and her boyfriend’s consternation, it turns out she’s inherited a company that manufactures condoms. There are strings to the inheritance. She must participate in the day-to-day business of the company or she’ll forfeit the inheritance.
Alice is relatively innocent and inexperienced in sexual matters. It’s a huge shock when she’s thrust into the world of condoms. Here’s a small taste of her embarrassment, doubt and her confusion regarding the sexy manager of Fancy Free:
Alice nodded vigorously and reached for a glass of water. The tremor of her right hand brought a self-conscious frown. “I’m fine. Please continue.” What on earth was she doing here? She pushed a lock of hair off her face and wished she could fan the fiery heat from her face. And she still didn’t understand why her godmother had left her the condom company at all. When she’d attempted to ask her parents, they’d brushed her off with excuses about church and religion. Even the lawyer Mr. Bellbooth had said he wasn’t sure of her godmother’s reasons, but did it really matter? An unladylike snort emerged.
“Is something wrong?” James asked in a husky voice.
“I’m fine. No problem.” She barely halted the telltale shiver of bliss at the sound of his voice. As one, everyone turned to stare at her and that heightened her awareness of the wretched man. This was ridiculous. How could an almost virgin run a condom company? She had no experience to draw on. She could hardly count her one time at university as experience. The heat in her cheeks intensified even farther when she sneaked a look at the photo on top of the folder. Half expecting a voice to shout, “Off with her head,” she swallowed and wondered if they’d notice if she ran from the room. Oh dear. Her gaze wandered to the photo again without waiting for her brain to give permission.
The condom was a delicate violet color and had tiny raised dots all over the surface. It looked like an alien creature with chicken pox. There were certainly alien appendages attached. Hard to say what that round bit did…
A story of this nature is a great vehicle for humor too. My heroine Alice Beasley is way out of her depth and makes a few mistakes along the way before she starts to feel at home as the owner of a condom company.
And finally, I’m delighted to announce that Fancy Free is now out in print as well as an ebook – officially on 20th April from Ellora’s Cave, but it looks as if Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Book Depository all have it in stock now.
Do you enjoy the fish-out-of-water type plot in romances? What is your favorite classic plot when it comes to romances?