My husband is one of the reasons I write romances. He is the absolute love of my life.
When I first met my husband we were both poets enjoying a vibrant and inviting spoken word scene in the city we live in. I was a naïve, very green, little woman. He was a self-assured, smart, and inviting man. I enjoyed his gregarious nature, and his ability to work seamlessly within whatever crowd there was to be navigated. He could shift into whomever the moment called for and it would still be his authentic self. It still amazes me. It would take years for our very casual friendship to turn into anything more.
We were and still are, polar opposites of each other. His wild, extroverted, Gemini heart is downright terrifying to my sedated, introverted, Virgo spirit. Yet, we exist. We thrive together because he makes my soul happy. We push toward lives that neither of us could have predicted out of an unrelenting need to hold on to what we have in each other.
He is quiet strength and a complex, brilliant mind. He is a loving father, the kind who stands back patiently until needed/wanted. He is full of stories. Some of them are quite extravagant, but mostly true, versions of lives he’s lived. Most days, I feel like a bystander watching his brilliance unfold.
That isn’t to say we are without failures, and utter disappointments. We’ve been married for ten years plus. For all the days that I felt awestruck by his human complexity, there are numerous days that I have felt foolishly in love. There is plenty of heartbreak between those years, but we continue. We always find our way back to each other.
“Having him here reminds me of who I am.”
Isn’t that what romance is? Sweeping, inspiring ways to tumble into another flawed person, and layered methods of navigating their flaws? For me it is. For me, my marriage to my husband is one of the best ways to explore romance on a realistic level. When I think of us, there is always a wrinkle in our relationship. Yet, when he isn’t here with me I am lovesick. It doesn’t matter if it is errands, work, or any circumstances. Having him with me reminds me of who I am.
As I think of my characters, I think of he and I. I think of how we’ve learned each other over the years. I think of the layers we pull back to show ourselves to each other. I think of the ways we’ve healed each other and the new scars we’ve created. I think of how even at the worst of our lives together, we’ve always managed to come out together. I think of the gratitude we feel for each other.
I work to transfer those things into my characters. I want them to know the struggle of having the one you love. It doesn’t mean constant chaos or even perpetual bliss. It means uncovering, delving into who they are so that they are prepared for love in its various forms. I want them to know that finding “the one” doesn’t mean there won’t still be work to do. Every love, needs room to grow. Every partner needs the willingness to make room. There is always more to learn and outlive about the person you love.
Shifter romances lend themselves easily to this premise. The shifter is often keeping a bit of a secret, something of himself from his lover. It isn’t meant to be deceptive in my writing. It is a tool, a type of self preservation. Being a shifter comes with numerous intricacies and a woman who is looking to share her life with one most be adaptable. She must know when to give and when to take. She must be brave and as strong, and fearless of her lover. their place in the pack is critical to it’s survival. So, I work hard so that these qualities are shown. Let them be resilient. Let them fight for what they love, brave the wild of their own fears. when it is all said in done, let them do it for love.
I don’t know if this is a great method for writing just as I don’t know what will happen with my marriage to my husband. I know that right now, all that we are goes into my work. I have his support. I have characters I love. Both of these things are shaping my life into one that I love. My heart spills open with joy because of it. Shifters mate for life. It is no different for me.
When you read my work, I hope you are able to see a little of you and your lover in its pages too. I hope your happily ever after is just as vibrant and real as these. I hope it lasts your lifetime.
Comment below on some of the things the shifter in your love moves you to feel.