Genuine, Heartfelt Love Stories
Love isn't just about sex.
It's the one thing I learned from my favorite writer, Nicholas Sparks.
From the time I first opened one of his books in junior high, I realized how beautiful, magical, tragic, and complex love truly was. Watching two very diverse people with different struggles, backgrounds, and beliefs find their way to each other was magnetizing. I loved to see how they would meet, how they would overcome their hesitancy, and, most of all, how they would grow and change each other.
The power of the love story wasn't in the physical connection--although the first kiss scenes were always some of my favorites. The true power was in their emotional connection, their ability to overcome odds, and the ability to show that love could triumph even where it was thought to be forever lost.
Perhaps, without even knowing it, my love of Nicholas Sparks' books was preparing me for my own writing journey later on.
When I wrote Voice of Innocence, my first novel, I didn't plan on writing sweet romance--it just came naturally. It was where I thought the depth of the story was. It was where the emotional side of life was resting that I wanted to uncover. It wasn't necessarily an intentional choice to write on the sweeter side of the genre--it was simply what flowed from my pen sitting on my parents' deck that summer when I was twenty-one.
And each story follows the same path. I don't set out with the rigid rule for myself to keep my books clean. I don't set out to keep the focus on the emotional rather than the physical.
It's just what the characters and the stories decide.
In many ways, I think Nicholas Sparks is to blame. He showed me that the true depth of emotion was resting in the connection, in the sweet looks, in the inspiring gestures. Perhaps this is why when I write romance, I focus on the emotional connection, on the love that's experienced in everyday life, and on the love experienced outside of the bedroom walls.
My characters in my eight novels aren't celibate. They love and share and bond. They get into heated situations, and their sexual tension is certainly palpable in many scenes. They give in to lust and primal feelings. They are, after all, human. They are in love. Sex is a part of love.
It's just not the only part.
So although my characters experience their share of intimacy, my books focus on the other areas of intimacy--emotional connection, trust, friendship, laughter, empathy, and strength. They focus on the hardest times in life--loss of loved ones, disappointments, failures, and betrayal--and how love can help us overcome these times. They focus on all of the gritty, raw emotions that are part of the human experience.
My characters are real in their journeys, their words, and their choices. They get angry. They swear. They change their minds and get confused. They fail and make bad decisions. They doubt themselves and each other.
They are also real in their relationships. They aren't perfect, just like in real life. This has always been my goal with my writing.
And, most importantly, just like in real life, their relationships aren't just about sex. Their love stories are complex, weighty journeys filled with all sorts of emotions and connections. Just like in real life, their love stories are not defined by sexuality or physicality. They are defined by multifaceted aspects that contribute to who they are and what they change into.
Love, in the real world, isn't just about sex. Thus, I have always felt like it was my duty to show that romance can be real.... and can be about more than just one thing.
Romance that's real. Romance that's sweet.
That's my mission with my writing.
Feel free to join me on my mission to show that the romance genre can reflect real life... and be beautiful because of it.