I’ve been torn pretty much in two about this blog. On the one hand, I really should be promoting those ebooks right now—my agent has made an investment in them, and frankly, so have I.
On the other hand, it seems awful to be thinking about anything commercial right now. I often post after tragedies about that process, but I just haven’t had it in me. This one has hit so very, very hard, and what I’m feeling hardly goes with the holidays and romance novels and happy endings.
But what the hell. It’s the last day of the world, and I’m up for a challenge. Yes, I’m going to write about my romance novels. Why? Because they saved me.
Stop me if I’ve already told you this… See, it was my husband’s idea that I go back to writing as a way to get my head out of the darkness that had enveloped me in the years after the shootings. The first book, the one I’d started in, like, 1988, stopped around 1990, and finished in 2001, is really bad, but it helped. I felt a little better.
Then I wrote Into His Arms. Life was feeling really out of control. I was watching good people suffer. The politicization of education was just picking up steam. Bush was still governor of Texas, but his good buddy Bill Owens decided to model Colorado’s schools after Texas’s, and we started getting all dolled up for the test-taking orgy that was about to begin. I saw, way back then, the mess we’re in now coming, but teachers who questioned the wisdom of this new system were simply accused of not wanting to be held accountable. I was grieving for the kids we’d lost, the person I’d been, the job I’d loved.
So I wrote a book about a woman who was about to be literally forced into bed with a man whose agenda and smug self-certainty she found appalling—a Puritan minister named Owen Williams. (Scroll back up; who was Colorado’s governor at the time?) She had to leave behind the quiet sureness of her old life, question her foundations, and find solid ground again. I reveled in getting to be the goddess of my world. Everyone got what they deserved: good people lived happily-ever-after, and a certain minister burned down his own house (but sadly, he burned the church, as well).
Then I wrote For Her Love, and I gave a woman with PTSD a happily-ever-after, too. I went into the darkness of slavery and gave people light. I gave them freedom and control over their lives, and I started to get mine back, as well.
By the time I wrote Nobody’s Saint, I was ready to just have a good time, but I wove into it the reminder that no matter how alone we may feel, we are part of something timeless and much grander than we can see from our limited perspective.
So if the days seem too dark, take in the lights on your street, and don’t let anyone tell you that the escapist stuff you read and/or write is trash.