What is it about Spring that brings out the romantic in all of us? Is it the increase of daylight—after all scientists have proven that increased daylight affects our hormones and mood, even our fertility? Is it the emergence of color after a long gray winter? The feeling of lightness and freedom as we shed bulky sweaters and wool socks? The proliferation of adorable baby animals? Whatever the cause it seems to be true, the arrival of spring melts not only the ice and snow of winter, but our hearts as well. Even the most jaded of us weaken to the idea of romance in the spring.
I myself am an old married lady and, while my husband is a romantic at heart, the beauty of that first blush of love now comes to me only vicariously. Normally at this time of year, I’m getting my romantic “fix” by writing a novel that in part devotes itself to true love. I’m busy building the foundation for my characters’ enduring loves, orchestrating hurdles for them to overcome (because we all know that something hard-won is infinitely more dear to us than that which comes easily), giving them the strength to open themselves to the truth that they are better together than either of them are alone. It’s a tremendously satisfying job.
Alas, this year, I’m having to look outside my own work for that always-exciting journey toward true love. I’m reading other writers’ romantic fiction because my current work in progress doesn’t have a shred of romance in it. Shocking, but true. This is a first for me, this creation of a story without romance. Why do it, you ask? Why create a story without the infinite satisfaction of bringing two human beings together in a bond that denies bounds? The answer is, “Because I must.” As writers of fiction, we do a whole lot of “living” inside our own heads. Usually we have some control over the lives we lead there, but occasionally a seed for a story gets embedded that just doesn’t conform to our chosen genre. Such is the case with my current heroine, Starla Claudelle, a nine year old girl whose romantic life is somewhere off in the distant future. But Starla demands her story be told, romantic or not.
I always refrain from reading the genre in which I am writing during the concentrated writing process. And usually that means I’m not reading stories with strong romantic elements. But this spring, when my desire for a delicious love story arises, I will be reading romantic stories on which I can simply ride along and enjoy, I can anticipate the unknown on the next page and in the next chapter in a way that isn’t possible when I’m the one creating the story. It’s a very different pleasure for me. One I’m taking every advantage of this spring as I indulge in one of life’s greatest pleasures, a romantic novel. I urge all of you to do the same!
Susan grew up in a small Indiana town, married a guy from that town, and then moved to Chicago for a while. She is pleased to say that she has been back in her hometown for many years and plans to stay. She and her husband have two grown children. “They make me proud every day,” Susan glows. “My son, who has the heart of a poet, is also a writer. My daughter, who is both beautiful and brilliant, is about to take her first steps into the working world of science.”
Susan has deliciously offered to give away one out of print copy of On Blue Falls Pond and one paperback copy of Sleep No More. Two fabulous books! Leave a comment on why you love Spring and you are entered to win one of these great books.