BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sex & Knitting: A Guest Post by Romance Author Ruthie Knox (and an excerpt!)

Hah! Bet you hadn't thought of those two topics together before, but Ruthie Knox, that clever woman, wove them together without a hitch. I was delighted to be asked to participate in her blog tour and she wrote this fun post for the blog. But first, a little about Ruthie, and at the end of the post, some shameless book promotion.

Ruthie Knox figured out how to walk and read at the same time in the second grade, and she hasn’t looked up since. She spent her formative years hiding romance novels in her bedroom closet to avoid the merciless teasing of her brothers and imagining scenarios in which someone who looked remarkably like Daniel Day Lewis recognized her well-hidden sex appeal and rescued her from middle-class Midwestern obscurity. After graduating from Grinnell College with an English and history double major, she earned a Ph.D. in modern British history that she’s put to remarkably little use.

These days, she writes contemporary romance in which witty, down-to- earth characters find each other irresistible in their pajamas, though she freely admits this has yet to happen to her. Perhaps she needs more exciting pajamas. Her debut novel, Ride with Me, came out with Loveswept (Random House) in February.


On Sex and Knitting

So I wrote this very sexy romance novel, called About Last Night, and it’s just been released with Loveswept. And one of many things about the novel that the (truly wonderful) back cover copy does not mention is that there’s a heck of a lot of knitting in it.

Yes. I did that.

It wasn’t even on purpose, much. It just sort of happened. My heroine, Cath, is an assistant curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is putting on a fictional exhibit on the history of hand-knitting. I am a knitter, and I made Cath a knitter, and the next thing I knew, knitting had up and become a thing in the book. It might not even be a stretch to say it’s a theme.

Here’s Cath with her boss, Judith, talking shop:

With the silent coordination of long practice, she and Judith began refolding the sweaters for storage. “Speaking of withholding approval,” Judith said, “you’re going to have to rewrite that interwar section [of the exhibit catalog] again. Christopher wants it sexier.”

“There’s nothing sexy about knitting in 1930s Britain. It was the Depression. All the books are full of advice about how to darn socks and rip out old sweaters to reuse the same yarn over and over again.”
“You’ll find something. Think knitted underclothes. Fair Isle stockings.”

“Cervical-cap cozies?”

“Now you’re talking.”

Is this strange? Sometimes I have a hard time telling. It feels unusual, at least, for this sort of book. Because while there are any number of hearth-and-home, knit-your-heart-strings-together books that combine romance and knitting, this really isn’t a very hearth-and-homey novel. Cath is a tattooed recovering bad girl who meets the hero after he extricates her from a drunken mishap at the train station. She would never knit him a sweater. She’d be far more likely to knit him a G-string, or some bondage cuffs or something.

But I do think that Cath is representative of what knitting has become in recent years as any other heroine would be. This is an era of yarn-bombing, after all. Knitting has come into itself as a medium for both textile art and performance art. So why shouldn’t my artsy bad-girl heroine be a knitter? And why shouldn’t the relationship between knitting, love, and sex be a theme in the novel?

Well, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t, but it was fun to write! I’ll leave you with a favorite knitting-related passage from late in the book. (Don’t worry — it’s not too spoilery.)

She put one foot in front of the other and shambled gracelessly into the office, where she found Judith sorting through dozens of pairs of knitted socks and stockings on the table.
“I thought you weren’t coming in today.”

“I wasn’t.” Cath dumped her purse on the floor and surveyed the limp, lifeless hosiery. Judith planned to include a feature on socks in the exhibit, but she’d struggled to come up with a way to make them interesting. The subject of hand-knit socks made the eyes of all but the most devoted knitters glaze right over.

“I thought you were in the countryside with Banker Ken.”

“I was.”

In order to avoid thinking about Nev, Cath put on a pair of gloves and picked up one of a pair of kilt hose. Knit in the traditional cream wool, the stocking was absurdly long and nearly as big around as her waist at the top. It must have been made for a very tall, very brawny Highlander. She wondered if the dolt had known that whoever knit him these socks loved his hairy kilted ass. No woman would make dressy kilt hose for a man she didn’t love. There were tens of thousands of stitches in the damn things.

But even love had its variations. Had the artist spent the eternity of rounds counting all the ways she adored him, or had she resented the waste, knowing he’d only sweat in her masterpiece and wear through the heels in no time flat?

God, even kilt hose depressed her.

Judith gave her an inscrutable look. “I got a strange phone call this morning from Christopher.”

“Oh?” She tried to sound as though she cared, but her voice had all the verve of a funeral director’s. She was going to have to get better at faking things if she planned to survive this breakup.

“Richard Chamberlain called him at home last night and said he’d be making a hundred-thousand-pound donation to our exhibit. Any chance you had something to do with that?”

She crushed the stocking in her hand, suddenly nauseated. Richard had called last night? But that was long after she’d left, long after he’d learned who she really was. Why would he do that?

Maybe he’d done it out of duty. He’d felt honor-bound to make the donation despite his disappointment in her, so he’d gotten it over with as quickly as possible. The thought upset her so much, a helpless, mewling cry escaped her throat, and she covered her mouth with her hand, breathing in the smell of musty wool.

“You can’t take the money,” she said through the stocking. “I’m sorry, but it’s all a big mistake.”

Judith gave her a long look, then resumed peering at a red patch of darning on the toe of an undistinguished man’s work sock. Someone had embroidered a tiny, perfect owl onto it. Another I love you rendered in stitches and string.

“The money is a done deal,” Judith said. “I would be congratulating you, only you look like you’re about ten seconds from offing yourself.” She frowned deeper and mumbled, “Maybe you should tell me what happened.”



They played with socks, pretending absorption.
For another excerpt, click here.

Book Blurb:

Sure, opposites attract, but in this sexy, smart eBook original romance from Ruthie Knox, they positively combust! When a buttoned-up banker falls for a bad girl, “about last night” is just the beginning.

Cath Talarico knows a mistake when she makes it, and God knows she’s made her share. So many, in fact, that this Chicago girl knows London is her last, best shot at starting over. But bad habits are hard to break, and soon Cath finds herself back where she has vowed never to go . . . in the bed of a man who is all kinds of wrong: too rich, too classy, too uptight for a free-spirited troublemaker like her.

Nev Chamberlain feels trapped and miserable in his family’s banking empire. But beneath his pinstripes is an artist and bohemian struggling to break free and lose control. Mary Catherine — even her name turns him on — with her tattoos, her secrets, and her gamine, sex-starved body, unleashes all kinds of fantasies.

When blue blood mixes with bad blood, can a couple that is definitely wrong for each other ever be perfectly right? And with a little luck and a lot of love, can they make last night last a lifetime?

By: Ruthie Knox
Publisher: Loveswept (Random House)
ISBN: 9780345535160
Format: EBOOK
Length:  1942 KB, 216 pages
Release Date: JUNE 11, 2012
Buying LinksAmazon   Barnes & Noble   Random House

Now, let me leave you with a question - do you think knitting has any place in a romance novel? Does it give you warm, fuzzy feelings, sexy feelings, or does it just make you think of mothballs?


  1. Knitting does not make me think of mothballs! All my ubercool hipster friends in SF and NY knit, so I definitely think it's having a huge resurgence! And yay for including it in a romance novel!

    1. There's definitely a resurgence in knitting, and I think including it in a romance just adds to the realism of the story.

  2. Oh, knitting can be all kinds of fun. *wicked grin* I love to knit, and I love to make interesting things while knitting....lingerie, edible thongs, ball gags...can't say I've tried a cervical cap cozy though. LOL I think this is a book I need to grab.

    1. Thanks, Laura -- hope you like it! What's the strangest thing you've ever knit?

    2. Hmm...the strangest? Probably the edible thongs. I used to give them as joke gifts to soon-to-be brides. Gave one to my future sister-in-law, and got a bit of TMI from my brother later. Haven't had the heart to make them since. lol

  3. How do you knit an edible thong, use wet noodles?

    1. Oh, Bea. "Edible" is a bridge too far, I think. Though licorice whips might work.

    2. Well, Laura *did* say she has knit edible things before, so what did she use? I don't think of yarn as edible. I'm just askin'. :P

    3. Shoestring licorice/licorice whips...the name depends on where you buy them. I found the pattern on You knit with chopsticks, so no needles get sticky. :D

    4. LOL very cool! I bet you. could sell those

  4. I already enjoyed Ride With Me. So another Ruthie Knox novel, this one with knitting? Sold!

    1. Yay! Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for reading!

  5. ooh i haven't heard of this series. i am a knitter and i love when knitting plays a role as long as it doesn't seem really forced. knitting can be like any other job or hobby in a book. and knitting is super sexy. what is sexier than someone making you something with love from their own two hands?


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