The other day I was asked about the relationships in my stories. "Why are they complicated?" the reader asked. It made me pause for a moment and think about the relationships I write.
See, my characters live in my head. With a series like Cedar River, you can imagine the noise going on there. Some days I must look like the psychic medium, John Edwards. (The other day, I was explaining a new series to my husband and had one of those, "Hold on" moments while the character told me exactly what I needed to say.) My characters tell me their story and I simply write it down as they tell it to me. I make it as simple or as complicated as they want it to be. (I'm not crazy, I'm a writer :D)
When I wrote Ana's character, I hated her. She was the biggest bitch I had ever met (myself not included). She was so hard on Bowie and I felt she was being unfair to him, but you know what? It all worked out. *shrugs*
Then, along came Adam and Luna. I wanted their story to be simple since they had overcome so much to be where they were, but it wasn't going to happen that way. Instead, they had to work at it and make decisions. They even hurt one another, but, again, it all worked out.
Now, I'm working with two very difficult characters, Brady and Silver. I've stopped and started with them more than any other characters. They are complicated and at different ends of the spectrum. He's quiet, confident, and steadfast. She is brassy, bold, and very insecure. I had to laugh when Brady told me who he had chosen to be his lady. I had an ongoing conversation with him for three days. "Seriously? She's a hot mess, you know that, right?" He'd smile that sexy smile of his and say, "Yep." Now, I am at 71,000 words and I'm still not done. (For a quiet guy, he certainly had a lot to say. LOL)
But it hit me the other day, why do I love this set of characters so much? Because they remind me of my husband and myself. The reflection I see when I look at them simply brings me joy.
So, dear reader, let me answer your question for you:
My characters have complicated relationships because love is messy and complicated. Love is never cut and dried. It's an organic, evolving thing which needs to be nurtured, pruned, and fertilized. My characters want the REAL love. Happily ever after happens in fairy tales. I've been married for almost 20 years and as much as I love my Knight in Tarnished Armor, he's not perfect and neither am I. Our love isn't perfect either. We hurt one another whether we realize it or not, but we don't walk away. We fight and fuss, but we make-up because we're crazy that way.
As Valentine's Day rapidly approaches, this is my Valentine's Day wish for you:
May you find your hot mess and see them for what they really are...someone worth believing in and fighting for. May you find the one who will walk through fire for and with you. May your love be a messy, complicated puddle of passion. XOXO