Sunday, August 20, 2017

Forbidden Love

I’m going to serial blog on various themes so popular in romance and fiction. The themes that tug at our hearts and keep the pages turning are what good books are made of.

When you hear forbidden love, do you think of Father Ralph and Meggie from Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds? Or two lovers separated by family, faith, social status, or ethnicity? Romeo and Juliet come to mind. Jane Eyre had her fill of an unsuitable suitor pursuing her when he was already married (granted, Mrs. R was insane, but still – Jane’s conscience would not allow her to be with Mr. Rochester until he was free). Even Mr. Darcy had some apprehension about aligning himself with Elizabeth due to her crazy family and lower social status. Anna Karenina was unable to break away from her husband due to his threat of keeping her from her children.

In books we can have shapeshifters fall in love with humans against their group’s rules, or otherworldly characters who must change forever in order to be with the one they love. Think of Ariel in The Little Mermaid, or even the Beast in the timeless classic. Twilight’s angst-ridden vampires and werewolves risked everything for normal teen love. Forbidden love, in all its forms, is exciting, heartbreaking, romantic, and often a key theme in books and movies. Whether the would-be lovers finally reach their happy ending or the reader is dragged to the depths of emotional hell with them is what makes the journey all that more special. The bittersweet separation, the heartfelt goodbyes and ultimate reconciliation are what make this theme so intriguing and timeless.

What are your favorite tales dealing with forbidden love?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Swept Away By Love

Do you ever look at your significant other, child, or dear friend and get swept up in a great feeling of love?  There’s no feeling like it. I get overcome now and then when I least expect it: on a cruise with my husband of 20 years, while talking with my lovely, intelligent daughter and my pre-high school-just-about-to-become-a-man son, or when browsing a quilt shop with my mom. It happens during the most mundane, taken-for-granted times, but the feeling makes me cherish my family all the more.

Romance authors strive to put that "swept away" emotion into every page. We want you, our readers, to laugh and cry along with our characters (in the appropriate places, of course, or we haven’t done our job!) and to close the book at the end with a sigh and a smile as you place it on your keeper shelf. How do we write with that deep emotion? I think of my own situations, past and present. Broken hearts, redeemable love, forgiveness, sorrow, joy and ecstasy are all part of our lives. You’ve experienced them and so have I. Touching upon that common thread is what brings stories to life. You may never dance at a royal ball or feel the hot desert sun of the old west on your face, but your emotions can soar along with the characters as they find their happily ever after.

What books have swept you away?