Thank you for listening to me whine a few days ago! It’s an indulgence I promise not to engage in it too frequently.
When I pick up a love story, I expect a few things. Most certainly a happily-ever-after or happily-ever-now. After all, that’s what makes a romance a romance. But I also look for characters that have some depth, issues they need to overcome in order to get to that ending. Some obstacles are more severe than others.
A number of people have commented that there’s some life lessons to be learned in my books, and I really appreciate that comment. It’s hard-won reality. Life hasn’t always been pretty, but it’s always been interesting–particularly if I finally got the lesson.
Underlying many of the stories is a theme of unity. We are all in this together–like it or not. Trust me, there are times I want to ostrich my head in the sand. But division will not ultimately help us–it will destroy us.
The second stanza of Saint Francis of Assisi’s prayer reads:
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
It’s not a bad place to start.
I’m not immune to the chaos of our political system at the moment. I’ve been in a number of organizations which were microcosms of the storm. As someone once said, “Democracy is messy.”
But that doesn’t require it to be mean and spiteful.
When you read a book, I bet you don’t root for the mean girl. In fact, more and more editors are requesting we avoid the stereotype. Not that there aren’t mean girls, but they need to be mean girls with depth, with reasons why they are mean.
Mean-spiritedness often comes from assumptions and prejudices (known and unknown) people have about others. Another comment that really excites me is the people who said they never looked at the Hispanics caught in our broken immigration system that way before. Turn a point of view even slightly and you have a new perspective.
Hopefully, this perspective can bring someone closer to the bigger idea–unity. Yes, we are different, and sometimes the differences seem insurmountable, but blood runs through all our veins. That doesn’t mean not to protect yourself–their are not nice people out there–but it means when you can safely do so, seek first to understand.
Many writings, including me, develop extensive backstories for their characters. We figure out the good parts and the bad, what’s part of a hero’s character and what is a changeable belief system that can provide growth during the course of the book. It’s only when the hero and heroine get beyond the surface, understand what makes the other tick, and love them anyway that a romance has a satisfactory ending in my mind.
It takes unity between two people to provide the love stories need to warm our hearts.
How about you? What makes a romance satisfying to your heart and soul?