I’ve never met anyone who does what Jon Fixx does for a living; in fact, I made it up. Jon is a writer-for-hire who writes the love stories of recently engaged couples, which he then produces into a bound novella that is handed out at the couple’s wedding as a gift to the guests. He also, on occasion, is hired to write the love stories for couples with important anniversaries coming up: 40th, 50th, 60th. Sounds rather straightforward, right? But how did Jon find such a career?
In the novel, Jon serendipitously stumbles upon the career through the suggestion of Nicollete, a co-worker, who won’t take no for an answer. Nicollete is engaged to Zachary whom she met while traveling overseas, so her family and friends barely know him. She thinks Jon’s a great writer, thus sparking the origins of Jon’s future profession with a suggestion and a request.
I made an offhanded comment that their story would make a great movie romance. Nicollete turned to me and asked, “Will you write it?”
“Our love story. Will you write it?…”
Jon could interview her fiancé and then he would know how they met, who he is, why she loves him, and put it all down on paper for her family and friends. With the love story on paper, Nicollete’s family and friends would have a better idea of who she’s marrying, while also giving the married couple something romantic they keep for the rest of their lives. What a great idea, she told him. Jon should jump at the chance. Why not? Jon, of course, can think of numerous reasons why he should not write a romantic anything for her. Initially, he refuses. He can’t see it. But Nicollete is very persuasive, and when her father offers Jon a significant payout, Jon realizes he may have stumbled onto something both lucrative and fulfilling.
For me, as a writer, Jon Fixx and his career as a love story auteur go hand in hand. I discovered Jon’s career before I actually met Jon Fixx. In the late 90s, I was writing plays, both screen and stage, and I was trying my hand at acting and doing a very poor job of it, especially if I measured my job by the number of paychecks I received, which were non-existent. But one night my car was stolen while I was gallivanting around Santa Monica, and I quickly discovered that (1) it is impossible to live in Los Angeles without a car (by the way, for those of you who have read JON FIXX, the stolen car was an ’82 Buick Regal), and (2) I couldn’t afford to get another car if I didn’t get a job. So I took the first paying job I could find: selling women’s shoes at Nordstrom’s. I thought I was depressed when I had no money. Now, I was depressed during the day and my nights were filled with nightmares of being attacked by Ferragamos. I quickly began thinking of how I could change my job situation and began brainstorming on how I could make a living as a writer.
On a drive home one day in my rather boring new-used (new to me, used when I bought it) Toyota Corolla, I thought about interviewing couples and writing their love story, putting it all down on paper, sprucing it up, and then arranging it in a custom-bound book. Excited about the prospect, I called friends whose story I thought would be interesting, and I spent the next couple of weeks interviewing them and writing their story. However, once I completed the initial stages, I took a step back and didn’t believe I could make a living as a wedding novella writer. The real-life career prospect as a love story writer was shoved in a drawer along with much of my other writing.
Fast forward a year or so and I was working on a play. The first hints of Jon Fixx showed up in one of the lead characters. He roamed around in my mind for most of that year, but I didn’t know what to do with him. Then, at some point, I sat down and knocked out the first 30 pages of the novel and discovered, while I was writing, that Jon was the Love Story Writer. The profession matched him perfectly! At the time, I had not completely flushed out the scope of his job, but I had the broad strokes. Those first 30 pages were shoved in a drawer also. I came back to it every so often, adding elements to his career as a Love Story Writer, and also considering the many facets of people’s lives that would need attention.
Since publishing the novel, I have been told there are professionals who do what Jon does for a living, but I have yet to meet one. Hopefully, when JON FIXX hits the New York Times Best Seller List and then gets made into a movie, the attention will shine more light on their careers and get them the attention they deserve.