By Darlene Donloe
When it comes to enlightening others on how to keep the spark alive in a marriage, Jarrette Fellows Jr. doesn’t profess to be “an expert like Dr. Ruth or Dr. Phil.”
But that didn’t stop the twice-married veteran journalist from writing a 52-page tome, “Kisses Kindling.” His expertise doesn’t come from clinical trials. It comes from years of paying attention to the art of romance within a marriage.
The book, which Fellows is promoting just in time for Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, offers information specifically to married couples interested in keeping the flame burning in their relationship through romance and intimacy.
“Kisses Kindling” explores love and romance in marriage in a nonclinical way as it seeks to encourage healthy marriages in a time when Fellows, ever the romanticist, believes the tragedy of eroding relationships appears to be an ever-increasing malady.
“It’s based on my imagination,” Fellows said. “It worked for me. It can work for other men.”
This loving anthology presents poems intended to rekindle the fire in marriages gone cold, reignite the romance that existed in the beginning, and reaffirm that love can last forever.
Fellows, a widower, has drawn from his life’s experience to present what he’s learned over the years about the art of romance.
At age 22, he was married for six years but later divorced.
“We both were still evolving in our lives,” said Fellows, a father of four and a native of the Watts and San Pedro areas of Los Angeles.
He then married Vivian, his wife of 27 years, who died in April 2021. The book is dedicated to her.
“I got my wife through the poems I wrote her,” said Fellows, who studied paleontology and journalism at Cal State Los Angeles. “She is the one who encouraged me to do something with them. So I put them all in ‘Kisses Kindling.’”
Fellows, 70, draws on a collection of romantic prose he has written over time, his personal experience and his imagination.
His hope is that Kisses Kindling will serve as the tinder that keeps the fiery romance burning for a couple in love.
The book, he said, is “penned with a culinary motif because the best kisses always taste good.”
Some of the 12 gourmet smooches Fellows offers for husbands and wives include Sweet Brownie (stoking the flames), Passion Fruit (rekindling the passion), Plum Delightful (sunset ecstasy), and Strawberry Charm (anytime with sweet platitudes).
I recently spoke to Fellows about why he wrote the book and why he believes his insight will keep the connubial bliss sizzling.
DD: Why did you write this book?
JF: For a couple of reasons. I saw no one in the church was being counseled in this area. Nineteen couples divorced at the church. They said they love God, but there was no counseling. Some work at church more than they work at home. I also wrote it because I had all these poems saved up. I used to get girls with my poems. I was always writing something poetic. It was better than giving them flowers. I told my wife that I would put them all together and put them in a book. The 12 kisses were new. I wanted a different flavor from things I have read before. There are kisses on the way to work, and when you wake up. I have names for all of them.
DD: Some guys just aren’t good at this.
JF: Guys don’t know how to romance their ladies, so I did it for them. People break up over flimsy excuses. You need to work on it. It can’t just flow. There are things that both individuals need to know.
DD: Tell me about the book title.
JF: I wrote the 12 gourmet kisses and the best kisses taste good. The kisses I use as kindling. If you don’t put fresh wood on the fire, it dies. Keep it roaring hot. Keep passion and romance in the home.
If you don’t keep romance in the home, a guy will look elsewhere. Love requires kindling. Tinder the flames just like a fire or it will go out. In my book, tinder is the kisses, along with romantic poetry and passionate poetry. It worked on my wives.
DD: How important is the ability to kiss?
JF: It’s very important. A woman wants to know a man can trigger emotions from a kiss. Don’t kiss her too hard. Slow down. It’s supposed to be gentle. You don’t rush into that. It can be innocent or erotic. Some men just don’t know how.
DD: Who needs this more, married men or married women?
JF: Married men because I charge men with being the head of the household. Take care of the wife and care for all of her needs, physical and emotional needs. When things get cold in the home, it’s up to him. Symbolically, he goes and gets the wood. He’s the king. Make her want you. The way God made women, if a man does his part, a woman will fall in place. My book is not for everyone. It may not work for everyone. But it can recharge a marriage. Give people a reason to try again.
DD: You wrote this for married couples. Why not for couples who are dating?
JF: I didn’t want to come under criticism for encouraging fornication. God honors marriage. The bed is undefiled. I also know that people will buy the book even though they are not married.
DD: Do you really believe that love can last forever?
JF: Yes. If you have the right person, love can last a lifetime. The wife I had for 27 years, we never had an argument. She had a very calm demeanor. Very sweet. I could be a bear. A real man knows how to say he’s sorry.
DD: What is intimacy to you? Is it different for men than it is for women?
JF: It is different. Intimacy can be just sitting with your husband on the couch watching television. For men, it’s getting revved up and having sex. Intimacy has nothing to do with sex. Being gentle with your significant other. Just listen to her. Don’t expect her to be tough like you.
DD: How important is imagination?
JF: Very. The book has a lot of imagination in it. There are romantic flings you can go on. Rent a mountain cabin and build it around one of the kisses like Chocolate Brownie. Use a chocolate candle and chocolate tulips. Build a whole theme around that. Sit at a fireplace drinking a special drink. Sex is for bed but leading up you can be intimate. I am a romantic. I like to do things that romance a woman. There is more to it than rushing a kiss or rushing into sex.
DD: What kind of research went into this book?
JF: My soul. No research. I didn’t read any books. All the interviews I’ve done with people. I just poured my heart into it.
‘Kisses Kindling’ is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google books, and eBay. Hard copy $30.99, paperback $24, Kindle ebook is $3.99.
“The Q&A” is a feature of Wave Newspapers asking provocative or engaging questions of some of L.A.’s most engaging newsmakers or celebrities.
Darlene Donloe is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.