How to Nail a Stud
by Katharine Sadler
Publication date: April 16th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Shel is tired of dating men who don’t appreciate her rock and roll wardrobe or her tomboy tendencies. She’s swearing off dating, and she is not going to give another moment’s thought to the hot single dad next door. She is not going to waste a single moment dwelling on his muscles or his eyes or the way he plays with his adorable six-year-old daughter.
Max has made mistakes, he’s been a terrible father, and he has no problem spending the rest of his life atoning by being the best, most devoted parent he can possibly be. A devoted father does not have wicked thoughts about his sexy neighbor, and he most certainly does not consider an actual relationship.
Except, he can’t stop thinking about Shel, and he’s not sure what to do about it.
One of the joys of creating characters is undermining stereotypes. No one wants to read about a character who fits a mold and has no unique traits. Reality doesn’t adhere to stereotypes, why should fiction?
A stereotype about construction workers is that they are uber-masculine and tough. In How to Nail a Stud, Max Mason is absolutely masculine, but he’s also the kind of man who can race around the backyard with his daughter and read her bedtime stories. He’s a single dad and is absolutely a nurturer.
Another stereotype about construction workers is that they aren’t book smart or they don’t have any other career options open to them. In his younger years, Max created a gambling app that brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, the lure of money led Max into illegal hacking and he spent a year and a half in jail when his daughter was a baby. He turned to a career in construction because he liked working with his hands and because he knew there’d be little temptation to break the law with a job that doesn’t involve computers.
There’s a scene in the book where Max’s neighbor Shel gets called out for stereotyping Max. She’s teased him about liking a female pop star whose typical fan base is teenage girls:
Shel’s cheeks heated. “It’s not stereotyping. It’s a game I play, trying to guess what music people love based on their personalities. Not that I know your personality, but you drive a big truck and you’ve got all the trappings of toxic masculinity. I hadn’t pegged you as a fan of pop music, or really anything that’s not filled with rage on some level.” And there she went, sounding weird again.
“Toxic masculinity?” he said, brows high. “Sounds like stereotyping to me.”
She was an asshole. “You’re right. Honestly, you seemed like a jerk, because you never said hello or introduced yourself, so it was easier for me, in my petty rage, to fall back on stereotypes. I really don’t make a habit of putting people in boxes.”
Shel doesn’t mention construction work as part of her stereotyping criteria, but it’s certainly at play. Max proves her stereotyping wrong and reminds us all to be careful about putting labels on anyone.
Katharine Sadler lives with her husband in North Carolina. She’s been writing since she was ten and has wanted to be a writer even longer. When she’s not writing or otherwise gainfully occupied, she reads like it’s an addiction, exercises, skis whenever she gets the chance, and adds more books to her Amazon wish list.
Visit her on the web at www.KatharineSadler.com.
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