the course of true love never did run smooth
~ A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 1, scene 1, 132–140
I’m not a romantic at heart. I didn’t play ‘wedding dress up’ when I was a child, walking down a pretend aisle with a pillow case over my head. Nor did I daydream about meeting ‘the one’. I was career-minded with a yearning for independence. I wanted to be successful in whatever field I chose, and I had a very strong sense of never wanting to have to rely on a man, for anything.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t anti-boys. Quite the opposite. But even when I had my first serious boyfriend when I was 15/16 years of age, I still knew, deep down, that things would most likely end when we went our separate ways to University – and I was okay with that (until he broke my heart and dumped me, of course).
I don’t know why I’m wired this way, but grand gestures of a romantic nature have always intimidated me (and if I’m being totally honest, embarrassed me a little). There is no better example than when my husband whisked me away to London for my 24th birthday. It was after watching We Will Rock You on the West End, that he proposed on Tower Bridge. But when he got down on one knee and produced a beautiful ring, I replied ‘get up’ and proceeded to drag him up before scrutinising the ring. In all the embarrassment and anxiety, I forgot to say yes and rambled on about how the ring was probably too awkwardly shaped to fit with a wedding band (I mean, who says that during such a special moment?)
I do, apparently.
Romance and I seem to go together as well as chalk and cheese. But despite being romantically awkward, I have always loved reading stories with a strong romantic element. There’s just something about losing yourself in a story of two people who are meant to be together, if only they can overcome the obstacles between them. And I love nothing more than falling in love every time I turn the page and immerse myself in the words a author has created.
My romantic history (or lack thereof) is probably one of the reasons my friends and family were more than a little surprised when I announced I’d written a romance novel. Heck, I was surprised. But like reading, writing is a chance to escape, to take yourself to new pastures, and to experience new things.
A chance to be a different version of yourself.
Now, I’m not saying I wish I was romantic. The very idea freaks me out a little, but I do enjoy writing romance. I love those first moments – first looks, first kisses, the first time a couple says the ‘L’ word. The feels of travelling a journey with my characters and writing them the ending they deserve. It’s something that I’ll continue to write. Something I want to write.
I want to continue to create stories that people fall in love with, and couples that people root for.
And who knows? Maybe one day fiction might inspire my real life.