I'm in the "ever after" part of life. There are things I know that I wish I didn't, scars on my heart I wish could have been avoided, and grief that is so pervasive it's as if it's become an organ of its own. I have trouble writing romance because of those things I know. Those things I feel. The grief that swells and takes so much energy with it.
I'm a little bewildered by it all. And overwhelmed. And tired. Oh, yeah, tired...
But I'm sitting here this morning, my favorite time of day, keeping company with the sun as it makes its appearance. And I'm thinking, listening to birdsong and watching the oriole gorging on the sections of an orange on the little table I can see from the office window. Thinking, you know, is a huge part of the actual act of writing.
Dinah, the heroine in Book Three of the Second Chances series, is younger than me by a good many years, but she's at a place where you gather those scars and learn some of those things. So is Zach, the hero. They've been married, divorced, raised kids, known debt, bought houses. They've lost people they loved and picked themselves up when they fell. Again and again.
The conflict is...hmmm...neither of them wants to give up their total independence. Zach has been an employer most of his adult life, while Dinah has waited tables. They don't need each other. I'm not certain when it became important to me that the protagonists in a story come together out of love and want but not need, but it did.
But there's a hiccup, too, another little piece of conflict. Just as she's learning to live in a house without her triplets, he's getting custody of his younger son, and...well, that's as far as I am, but I'm pretty sure I can help them find their way to ever after. Will I reach the part, as I would have as a younger writer, where they need each other? Probably not. Love and want and desire are fine, but not need. They are adults.
The happily part? That's up to them. Just as in our own lives, we have to find happiness ourselves. So when I think about the ever afters the people in my books have, I clutter them with things they don't want to know, scars, and grief. Because that's how they survive. As Jake says in Reinventing Riley, "...that's how we love."
What I have done here is brainstormed and I so appreciate you being part of it. Thank you for any input you may have and for listening if you don't have. Dinah, Zach, and I will muddle through. I'm in the middle now, where it gets saggy...
Coming on May 25, Reinventing Riley, Book Two in Second Chances. It's not up for pre-order, but I'll stick the link in when I have it. I hope you journey back to Fallen Soldier with me.