On romance

I've been asked quite a bit what this latest book is about. And I say, 'ohh, it's about convicts and fairytales and giant white bears'. Which perhaps is not a great way to describe it. What it really is, is a romance (that happens to involve convicts and fairytales and giant white bears'.

Romance is really, really hard. How do you say all those things that everyone in the world feels, without sounding cliched?

(it's even harder, because the Love Interest in my book is absent for pretty much everything apart from the first and last 20 pages)

So how do I do it? How do I make someone fall in love in a new and original way.

on a not entirely unrelated note, a song is currently playing on my iTunes that I think is deeply romantic in an unexpected way:
It’s the crack of noon
And I sit here watching you sleeping
I only wish that I could remember your name

I'm trying to put together a list of things that make someone love someone. Things from songs and books and films and (of course) from my own life. I won't use them all, many of them won't even belong to Thomas. But it's one of those "write 15 things down and maybe there'll be 2 good ones" things.

-his spectacles sit crooked
-he bites his nails
-he always pauses before he speaks, really thinking it through
-his arms are too long for his shirt sleeves

Any suggestions?