Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why I Write Wounded Heroes

I love learning about other historical periods, and I find astrology fascinating, but neither interest is what drove me to write Romance. I write Romance because romances let me work through my favorite theme: the process through which a person whose personality has been formed by the experience of betrayal learns to trust and love.

My heroes, as you will see when you read my books, are people who have very good reasons for avoiding close relationships. Lord Lightning's hero, Edward Neville, revels in the role he plays--that of a cold-hearted rake who has never let any woman get close to him. His chosen role keeps him safe from ever again experiencing the devastating betrayals that shaped his personality, and it will not be easy for him to shed the persona he's become so comfortable with.

The hero of my second novel has found a different way to avoid closeness. He's a soldier serving in India whose duties give him a plausible reason to avoid marriageable women with whom he might form a close bond.

Though these two stories are very different--Lord Lightning plays on light, theatrical Leo themes while the second book explores the much darker Scorpio archetype--both stories share one thing in common. Their heroes feel safe getting into the relationships that will transform their lives because they are so certain they have finally found someone they need not fear falling in love with.

I return to this theme over and over--even when I set out to write a different kind of story. The reason is not hard to find. It's the story of my own journey from solitude to committed partnership.

I found true love quite late in life, with a person who, on the surface, appeared so completely unlikely to become a long-term partner, that I let myself be lured out of my comfort zone. What I assumed would be nothing more than a very brief fling is going into its fifteenth year as a committed relationship. In order to make that relationship work, like my heroes, I've had to confront some serious inner demons and heal some devastating emotional wounds.

That said, neither my heroes or my heroines are autobiographical in anything but the nature of their inner journey. Their emotions may be ones with which I am very familiar--which is why I can write them in a way that will stir those who read their stories. But the fun of writing novels is that I can give them personalities far more interesting than mine.

Lord Lightning has the ability I would kill for, of being able deliver a witty riposte in real time. Like most people, my best retorts only occur to me hours after it's too late to deliver them.

Captain Trevelyan, the hero of my Scorpio book is skilled at political intrigue and has mastered the art of keeping his real thoughts and emotions completely hidden. Those who know me will understand at once why I find that fantasy so fulfilling. I'm lucky if I can hide anything that pops into my mind--or heart--for more than three minutes.