On Romance

Well, here I am in Barcelona (see the attached pic), one of the oldest cities in the world, and naturally, I’m thinking of romance. It’s hard for even the hardest heart, like mine, not to soften, when church bells are ringing on the breeze fluttering in from the Juliette balcony behind me. Love, religion, and art have infused the stones here. Barcelona is an ambling town, I feel. Best done without the tourist buses, and with only a map and a functional Spanish guide in hand. That’s how my hosts have been doing it, and how they travelled when here before. (As an aside, Lisa, Andrew and Wiliam have been magnificent and munificent company.) I’ve seen some of the most astonishing works of art and architecture imaginable. I’ve seen street performers, bazars, towering cathedrals gilded in gold. I’ve seen beggars and pickpockets. I’ve been out to the wee hours of the night, fuelled by sangria and laughter. And I’ve only been here for a single day. Anyway, back to romance, since I seem to have wandered off the path a little.

I considered myself a “fantasy/ fiction” author, long before I ever thought of including elements of romance in my books. But I could never quite get those stories right. They were always missing a certain ingredient. Now, I’m sure you’re all familiar with the saying that: “life mirrors art”. Or vice-versa. And I agree with that from personal experience. Until I was given the gift of being loved—deeply and truly—and until I experienced the tragic and beautiful passing of my mother, I did not have the capacity or wisdom from which to draw a convincing enough narrative. I would say then, that ‘lack of life experience’ was an initial challenge when it came to writing Feast of Fates. All in all, these two experiences, touching true love and knowing death, changed me incomparably as a person and as a writer.

After these events, when I sat down to hammer out the 2nd draft of my manuscript, I ended up throwing the whole thing out. Something wasn’t working. The dialog seemed stilted, there was a clichéd Evil Empire shtick, the characters weren’t working. Everything felt so cardboard and stale to what I now understood. I gave up for a while, and went back to books, reading and light poetry. During this break, I dug up some old work of mine. I’d written a short story many years back, called Aadore and the Wolf. A story about a strong willed, stereotype-spurning maiden, and a lonely, honorable changeling who meet through extraordinary—and dark—circumstances and find love, redemption and family. A great story, when I went back and read it, but a short story. Those always tend to end just as we’re getting into them, and this one was no exception! That’s when I knew that I wanted to tell that story again, to give it proper room to grow and breathe and see where the characters led me. Indeed, Morigan and Caenith (the Wolf) led me to many strange and wonderful places. I think that Morigan and the Wolf share a bond that defines the meaning of sacrifice and commitment. Their love is adult, encompassing and legendary. I adore the way he speaks to her—his poetry and tempered edge—and how strongly she carries herself as his equal and mate. I love the underlying and pure sensuality between them.

I do not express much, or well, in terms of emotion. In the household, we jokingly refer to me by a variety of monikers: Tin Man, android, Borg. All of which are loving, teasing explanations for my apparent aloofness. I only express myself well through writing, which is why I do it. Anyway, much without realizing it, I became a romantic. I don’t find it a challenge to write Morigan and the Wolf’s tale, because it brings me so much joy and heartache. Two beings, who, to paraphrase one very satisfied reader: “made me fall in love with love”. I hope they do the same for you.

I have a lot more that I would like to chat about with you, regarding my adventures and reflections in and on the Old World. But alas, I’m still having those adventures. I’ll do a massive info dump when I get back on Western soil. Suffice it to say, my trip, hosts and experiences have been incredible so far.

All the best,




P.S. Do excuse any editorial errors, this is my first iPad post.