Now, my true confession; I don’t write romance. I do write about love, but my love stories take part in the gritty reality of life. Perhaps that’s because my characters start in dark places—the death of a husband, incarceration in a psychiatric hospital, or just hanging on to the bottom rung of the social ladder. They already know that the fantasy of perfect love is not for them. Instead they can only hope that relationship will work, that twenty or thirty years hence they will still be holding hands and waking up in the same bed.
Some of my characters make it; some don’t. That, too, is part of real love. The art of storytelling makes it difficult for the reader to know who will make it, and whose relationships will end painfully. Will it be the widow and the college professor drawn together by the excitement of ideas? Will it be the young couple—him teaching her to drive, them going for a first horseback ride together? Perhaps it will be the quadriplegic and the aide who has helped him in the painful course of rehabilitation. What about the psychiatric patient who waits outside the door of a catatonic peer, and she pregnant from a late-night, anonymous rape? Or the bar owner and his middle-aged regular? These are the people and the loves that I explore: Struggling people with no great fantasies. But then isn’t that who we all really are?