A while back, I was blessed to be able to participate in a multi-author event at my local library. It’s always awe-inspiring to find out there are more than twenty other authors in the area, especially since I had never met most of them. Makes an author feel not quite so alone–a good thing for an extrovert like me.
One of the activities that day was a panel where they asked each author two questions. Since there were about a dozen of us, you can imagine how long that took. After all, authors rarely lack for words. But, one of the questions sent my way was “What sets your stories apart from other stories?”
It’s such a funny thing–writing. In some ways, we’re supposed to model our stories a certain way to make sure they appeal to people who read that genre. But in other ways, we’re supposed to be different enough that people want to read our stories because they’re NOT like all the others. Still, while you’re writing, you don’t necessarily keep all of that in the back of your head. You simply put down the words God gives you and pray it’s enough. So, I had never really contemplated this question before.
Thank goodness they gave it to me ahead of time so I had a few days to chew it over.
Want to know what I came up with?
Well, honestly, I threw that paper away, but I’ll try and sum it up for you. (And I’m sure the other authors of InspyRomance feel the same way).
While a lot of romances focus so much on feelings or attraction, I want my couples to have more. I want them to have a good foundation before they get together so that their relationship isn’t only physical. I want them to have a shot at FOREVER.
Isn’t this what a lot of us want? Sure, it’s fun every now and then to read a lighthearted romance based mostly on appearances and kisses. But after awhile, those seem so shallow. Because we know love needs more than that.
Feelings fade. And, let’s be honest, we’ll never again look like we did back in our teens or twenties, no matter how close we are to them still. Age and life catch up with us.
But something more than those things can stay and even grow stronger. My husband and I started out as friends. And sure, we liked the look of each other too, but because we made sure to get to know each other outside of the physical first, our relationship is much stronger. It has a fighting chance to last maybe as long as our grandparents. One set of my grandparents made it sixty-six years … and then my Grandma sat beside his picture and read his letters until she went to join him. I want a marriage/relationship that strong.
And I want my characters to have that too. (I’m sure a lot of the InspyRomance writers feel the same way.)
Maybe that’s why the mom in Saving Grace gives this advice to Michelle:
“Love means supporting each other through the good times and the bad like Phillip and Darcy are doing. It isn’t butterflies and lightning. It’s something you can count on. It’s trust and support and reliability.”
“But don’t you and dad have butterflies and lightning sometimes too?” If those weren’t important, there wouldn’t be so many novels discussing such things, right? “Isn’t that at least part of it?”
“Sure. I had butterflies all over when I first met your Dad.” Mom squeezed her arm. “But over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the other kind of love more. It’s what keeps those flutters alive.”
What do you think? Do you prefer stories where the characters end up with a real shot at forever?