Every autumn, shades of amber, copper and cranberry bathe me in electric desire to create. Fall has always signified a chance to invigorate my goals. My commitment to nutrition and exercise increases, my inspiration to write is off the charts and I am giddy with anticipation for the wonderful things fall brings: Thanksgiving, Halloween and the countdown to Christmas – all of which are celebrated very well in my home with my family.
This year, these feelings have been more touch-and-go…I feel more ambivalence about starting things or committing to things. My energy has been so focused on cancer treatment and recovery, that I feel like I have none left for the things I’ve always loved. Cancer has changed everything – except when my kids are in the midst of their everyday needs, cancer has changed nothing. (insert smirk here)
I stepped up for Thanksgiving and Halloween (in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving in October) – a pandemic would not stop our little family from celebrating and being deeply grateful for my health. Yet, there was still a void deep inside. Something yearning or perhaps waiting for my attention.
I watch as the gorgeous colours of fall fall away, leaving branches bare. The days are darker and shorter and colder. I dig deep and struggle with the shadows threatening me. I get messy and let my husband see my fears, my mess, my loss of self. I reach for the love I have for my children and offer myself the same unconditional love. I reach for my faith and universal guidance. I reach for the archangels whom have been supporting my entire journey. This is what it takes to finally feel like I can overcome the shadows. And, I actually smile, because it is still fall and I can still gather the energy that I’ve always found in this wonderful season to regroup and keep moving forward. I can look cancer in the face and tell it, it will not run my life.
I am regrowing my hair, relearning my body, reconnecting to the things I truly love. I do not have the energy of autumns past – but I am learning a new way of being. Less frenetic. Less hectic. More genuine. My rhythm has changed this fall – from the relentless energy to DO, to the more calming energy to BE. Peppered with the learning of setting up boundaries for my kids – but that’s a post for another day 🙂
Fall 2020 has certainly been different for all of us. Have you noticed a difference in how you react to the seasons and holidays? Has it changed for you this year, and how have you managed?
When I started to write Charlotte’s story, I was certain she would be the peeress and the man she would find happily ever after with had to be someone for whom a title held little appeal. It was also known to me from the very beginning, that in order for her to trust, she would have to know the man for a long time – hence, the best friends to lovers trope. I have a few scenes from Charlotte and Matthew’s childhood adventures which didn’t make the book, but they really helped to give me a sense of how deep their friendship runs.
When I found this quote on-line and was taken to Seventeen magazine’s website for romantic Valentine’s Day sayings, I knew it described Charlotte and Matthew completely. What I love about the protagonists of Capturing a Countess’ Heartis that they can truly be themselves without any reservations or angst. Their primary goal isn’t love, it’s besting or beating each other, or simply being together. When the spark hits them, it gets confusing, but the knowledge that at the bottom of every flurry of emotion is true friendship gives them the edge and confidence they need to move forward. So much fun to write.
Whether Charlotte and Matthew are racing through their lands, helping Matthew navigate PTSD at a party, or dealing with a revenge-thirsty duke, they are happiest and most themselves when they are together. They are also stronger together.
How do you feel about the friends to lovers trope?
During my publishing journey, I discovered a divide between readers who like minor characters to have a more active role in the plot and those who don’t. Many times editors advised to decrease the page space given to said characters in favour of the protagonists; whereas readers expressed delight in the minor characters and their relationship to the protagonists.
Sometimes when reading a great romance, minor characters seem to get in the way. As a reader, we want to solely follow the hero and heroine because the story is so juicy! However, I notice that I tend to gravitate towards books that establish a world for the characters which includes other important people in their lives.
I thoroughly enjoy the relationships the main characters have with others. Siblings, parents, best friends all help me to perceive the main characters deeper – they don’t seem so one-dimensional. After all, no one exists in a vacuum. We all have people we interact with at different levels of intimacy and, in my opinion, showing a protagonist in the same light makes them more real.
Also, I find it difficult not to indulge particularly fun characters. Or, to set up their own stories for future books. It’s as if the protagonists of future stories reveal themselves slowly and it’s too much fun not to listen.
What side of the argument are you on as a reader of romance? Do you enjoy the development of minor characters and their use in adding context and texture to the story, or do you find them annoying and wish to solely focus on the hero and heroine when you’re reading?
While I would want to spend more time marketing and on social media, Covid-19, in addition to my own health odyssey have inspired me to take action NOW.
I want my family and friends to feel happier during these unprecedented times. I want to give them some kind of sense of love and joy – and the best way I can think of doing that is by releasing my new book earlier.
I’m happiest when I’m creating. The after part…editing, polishing, perfecting…that’s fun too because I’m making my story come alive for future readers.
But, the business side? The blurb…oh goodness the blurb…the social media campaign…the learning of each and every platform… It has taken the wind from my sails and made the publishing of my first novel come to a halt.
I am a writer at heart. A lover of stories. A whimsical romantic whom loves happy endings…or at least, neat endings. This whole other side is slowing me down and making me doubt my intentions…my goals…
Then, I remember why I started. I come back to the absolute certainty that my work will be read and enjoyed (of course! …hopefully?) by readers. I wanted to read about a strong heroine who was emotionally broken…yet, still managed to find her happily ever after. I wrote her story and I’m excited to bring her to the world.
I will continue this journey with my heart leading the way. I will stay true to the love I have for this project and my desire to have others engage with it. Perhaps, I should express gratitude to the procrastination and fear because in recognizing these feelings, I have been able to ascertain that I absolutely want for this to happen.
Are you an indie-author? A person with a side-hustle or passion-project you have difficulty finding time for? How do you keep on track and say yes to your goals?