I’ve been writing romantic suspense novels, women’s fiction, historical romance and romantic medical thrillers for nearly thirty years. I’ve also made hideous romance choices in my own life and had to live with them for many years. If I’ve learned anything in life, or in writing, romance isn’t for the young and impressionable. It’s for those who have made mistakes, learned the difference between falling in love with a pretty face and seeing the ugliness of the reality that sometimes hides behind that face. Romance is also for those who are willing to listen to those who have taken the hard knocks, learned from those bad experiences, and have a beautiful relationship to show for it.
How I wish I’d been a wise young woman who listened to those who had gone on before me, had learned how to love the right person in the first place, and made the decision to wait until the loyal, loving, true man came along. However, now that mine has, I can assure you that I appreciate him so much more than I would have if he’d been my first love. Thank God for my pastor and church staff who set me up with Mel on a blind date and wouldn’t let me escape.
I wrote for fourteen years before Mel came into my life–all of the manuscripts incorporating a certain kind of romance I knew nothing about. After I met Mel and we began the dance of the shy man’s romance–Mel’s painfully shy–I learned more about an ethical, earnest, God fearing man than I’d ever known before. I was in love after our first real date. That was when I pulled out all my old manuscripts and changed the heroes to reflect the man I was in love with. A year and a half after we first met, Mel and I were married, and we began to work together–with Mel editing and encouraging my work. I never knew passion until this man showed such enthusiastic acceptance of my words, and he didn’t know how much danger he was in–I’d never known love like this before.
The change in hero types worked. Soon after Mel and I were married and my heroes reflected his depth, multiple publishers took notice. They always say write what you know. I couldn’t have gotten published before meeting Mel, because until we met, I didn’t know what romance really was. Now, after 27 novels, I think I’ve got the character settled in my mind. I ask myself if Mel would do what I’m preparing to have my hero do, and if he wouldn’t, I change the scene.
I’m glad God gives second chances. I’m also glad He believes in true romance, strong men, and blessing His children with the true love He has for us. There can be nothing better in this life.