I’ve only ever had one boyfriend in my life, and I married him. I was his first girlfriend, too. That may sound romantic, and it is, in a way.
But since we met when I was thirty and he was thirty-four, it also means we both had many, many years of loneliness. I felt like a wallflower. I was invisible to those I found attractive, and only seemed to draw attention from some… let’s say… unusual prospects. Such as the guy who, when asking me for a date, claimed God told him I was struggling with my feelings for him.
I sent that fellow packing, but I still wish I could go back in time and give him the perfect comeback line.
When I told my family and friends about my new relationship with the man who is now my husband, the first question many of them asked was: “Why is he still single?”
I’m currently writing a series of Christian romance stories in which the main characters are all in their late forties and early fifties. One of the interesting aspects of this age range is exploring the reasons why everyone is unmarried—particularly the men.
It’s obvious with widows and widowers, of course. Also a bit of a no-brainer are couples who’ve separated and are getting back together.
Not so easy, though, are those who are single but never married. I’ve found it more straightforward to explain for the women, since single women have outnumbered eligible men in every community of faith I’ve been part of.
It’s been a creative challenge to explore the life circumstances that result in men in a Christian community being unattached at a time when most of their peers are married.
In Into the Flood, the first book in my Seasons of Faith series, I wrote my male protagonist as a reclusive introvert. He doesn’t date because his own space is his comfort zone. He doesn’t realise he needs someone until she disrupts his solitary life.
(Incidentally Into the Flood is on sale for 99 cents until October 22nd. This is a great time to grab it if you haven’t yet read it.)
Within the Storm has a man who has held a torch for the same woman for so long that he’s never considered being with anyone else. He only finds his happily ever after when this woman becomes available.
Amid the Ashes, which releases in one week, has a single man in his late forties who is unmarried because of a disastrous past relationship. His failed romance casts a long shadow that’s blighting his life up to now.
I’ve set him up with a woman who is still single for very different reasons.
When you’re reading romance, do you consider why the main characters haven’t yet found love? What reasons do you find believable?
He’s taking over her cat. She won’t let him invade her heart.
When her boss crosses a line, Johanna Strand quits her job to pursue her dream career as a social media chef.
But if she’s going to turn her hobby into a full-time income, she needs a business coach to steer her toward success. Too bad the only available candidate in her small town is the self-righteous neighbour who’s low key trying to steal her cat.
Gunnar Rikardson has grown fond of the cat from next door who often invites itself over to his house. Its owner, on the other hand, treats him as though he’s a kidnapper. Gunnar would rather steer clear, but a mutual friend begs him to take his neighbour on as a client.
Sparks fly as Gunnar reluctantly agrees to help Johanna, leading to a twist neither of them saw coming.
Gunnar’s last relationship blew up his life like a nuclear bomb, and he’s still dealing with the radioactive fallout. He fights Johanna’s influence on his heart as she gets past his defensive bunker.
And the last thing Johanna needs is to fall for yet another guy who’s not into her.
Both have been wounded in the past. How can they stop fear from sabotaging their chance at true happiness?
Amid the Ashes releases on all online retailers on October 25th.