Writers write about the places and emotions they know best.
For me, the storyline in Then Comes Love came largely from my observations and interactions at my grandfather’s apartment complex.
My grandfather moved to my hometown a few years ago. He’d spent his entire adult life in a house in Scottsdale. It was where he lived with my grandmother for their fifty plus years of marriage. He raised his children there, worked there, retired there.
Now he lives close to our family in an apartment complex for those 55 and older. It’s a wonderful community of people in this unique stage of life, battling with holding onto the past while also trying to figure out what the future might hold. In many ways, these living centers have their own unique social systems that don’t just involve those living there; the families and loved ones of the residents often are pulled into an interesting social climate as well.
Thus, the idea to set this book around the setting of an assisted living center came to me. I thought about the struggles residents face, giving up their homes and everything they’ve ever known to start a new life. I thought about the identity crisis I’ve heard many talk about at this stage in their lives.
And I thought about love.
I’ve seen romances blossom in the halls of my grandfather’s apartment complex. Women and men who’ve lost their spouses often find their hearts opened again thanks to relationships with those around them. Love doesn’t just shut off at a certain age. I’ve heard some residents talk about how they know more about love now than in their younger years.
I also wanted to capture the difficulties faced by the families of the residents in these places. It isn’t easy being a caregiver…I’ve seen how my mom struggles to balance her own life with the needs of my grandfather on a weekly basis. Annie’s struggles are the struggles of so many with aging parents, and it isn’t an easy situation to be in, physically or emotionally.
Finally, I wanted to capture the humor that is often a part of homes for the aging. I can tell you there aren’t any Catherines in my grandfather’s apartment building, at least to my knowledge. But there are Catherine-like comments over trivial matters. There are interesting situations and hilarious observations. There are friendships and frenemies, new romances and interesting events. If you’ve ever been to an assisted living center, a retirement complex, or a nursing home, you know that things are truly never dull. I wanted this energy to be a driving force in the setting of my novel.
Then Comes Love is a novel that exposes feelings and struggles I think many will be able to relate to. Aging, whether it is happening to us or a loved one, is something that forces change for us all, change that can sometimes be difficult to accept. Charlotte, Annie, and Amelia, however, show us that sometimes humor, friendship, and family love can make the change at least bearable if not welcome.
Then Comes Love releases March 18th with Hot Tree Publishing.