“Your books have changed my life!”
What author WOULDN'T want to hear that? It was the most amazing moment of my life as a writer when a local reader named Violet said those very words. I felt I'd finally accomplished a goal I set out to do with my novels. When I started writing, though, I wasn't sure I could do it. I mean, heck…how do you change someone's life with vampire romance? Kind of a round-about goal, right? A cure for cancer would be more direct. Maybe feeding the homeless? But I was better at writing than those other things, so I stuck with writing.
Though “changing someone's life” was the goal I set to accomplish through my stories, the more specific method to do this…at least with my Bonded By Blood Vampire Chronicles…was to show people the face of true love. Show them the characteristics of a healthy and supportive relationship. Show them genuine love in action! But with vampires?? Just go with me on this one. 😉
At the heart of all stories are the relationships between the characters. I happen to LOVE vampires, so I chose them as my vehicle, but the relationships between my main characters was the focal point. I'm speaking of Broderick and Davina, and more personally for my reader Violet who was touched by James and Cailin in Midnight Captive.
Just to give you a little backstory…
James and Cailin were betrothed very young, their parents business partners. But it wasn't forced on them. At the age of 17, James asks for the union. Cailin was only 12 at the time and the intention was to wed when she grew to womanhood. But James knew deep inside it was their friendship, respect and compatibility with each other that would make them an ideal match. Love is more than just the butterflies in our bellies. Marriage is a partnership that should be open and, more than anything, you should be able to completely be yourself around your partner. No judgment. So many people in the world don't have this…but I did and still do, so I wanted to share this.
James and Cailin have some communications problems throughout the book and most of them revolve around what she thinks James wants in a wife. So, instead of just being herself – a dagger-toting hellion who wants to fight vampires and protect her family – she tries to be the dutiful wife who's mastered the task of embroidery and running a household because she thinks that's what James wants. Nothing could be further from the truth! Through their adventures, James and Cailin learn it's okay to be who you are with no excuses. That's exactly what I have with my husband. We can COMPLETELY be ourselves with each other. It's liberating!
It's Not Them…It's YOU!
So, back to Violet. My husband and I walked into the local restaurant where Violet works and she said with wide eyes, “Oh, m'ija!* I have to to talk to you!” She glanced at my husband, standing beside me. “But not with him around.”
“I'll just be over here,” my thoroughly accommodating and amused husband said, and he picked out a table for us.
After I gave Violet our food order, she pulled me aside. I said,”They're too hot, aren't they? My books are too hot.”
She fanned herself. “Eiye, caliente, but I love that. No, I wanted to tell you…your books have changed my life!”
“The relationship between James and Cailin is just so loving.” She sighed dreamily. “All this time I was in these relationships with men, I always thought there was something wrong with me. But James and Cailin made me realize I was just with the wrong person.”
Of course I was in tears and we hugged.
“For the first time in twelve years,” she continued, “I started dressing up again, feeling better about myself. I started dating. And you know what?” She grinned. “I met someone and he's a really nice guy.”
We hugged again and I told her how happy I was for her and was honored by her compliment. I don't know about you, but I'm tearing up right now as I write this, and as I always do when I tell this story.
Honor and privileges aside, what I want you to notice is what Violet did and what changed. SHE did the changing. SHE shifted her perspective from judging herself to being open to the idea that she just needed to find the person who was more suited to HER. Violet told me she felt free to be Violet and didn't have to make any excuses. She was also free to look for a guy who was more suited to who she was, what she liked and how she wanted to spend her time.
“You have to stop pretending to be the person you think other people want you to be and just be yourself. Trying to be someone else is like putting on a mask. The people who REALLY love the person you REALLY are will miss you…because you're hiding behind that mask.”
It was a profound moment in my life that helped me make the same shift in perspective Violet did. The more I act like myself, the more I attract the people who like the real me. Only then was I open to seeing who was the right guy for me…and that's when I met my husband and romance novel hero.
Part of finding your true mate is also learning more about yourself. What do you like to do? Who are you as a person? The more you know about who you are, the more you realize the type of person you want to have in your life. It frees you up to easily let go of those people who don't match your ideals or have the same interests. Why would you want to hang around people who criticize who you are, what you do and what you like? Wouldn't it be more fun to hang around people who enjoy the same things? And above all, your life-partner should be your best friend.
If such a notion scares you into thinking you'll be spending your life alone, then perhaps the truth is you don't like who you are. Look…no matter where you go, there YOU are. You can't get rid of you, so you might as well learn to love YOU. If there are things about your personality you don't like, strive to change them. Strive to love YOU, though, and change for YOU…not for someone else. And when you do, when you can feel comfortable in your own skin, then you can relax and be yourself…and be okay with being yourself. Once you do that, you'll attract the right person.
I hope this was helpful! Have YOU found your true love? Does any of this ring true with you? I'd love to hear if you have a story to share!
That's my two pence…
*informal Spanish for “friend” or “mate”