“I hate romantic fiction – I wouldn’t let my wife read it!” This was how one over-excited male member(!) of a writing group greeted my first pages of INCEPTIO where the heroine meets the hero.
A real gladius point through my neck, but I toughed up like a true Roman and politely pointed out that almost every novel had an emotional relationship in it – what a poor piece it would be without it.
“Rubbish!” he expostulated (Sorry, too tempting, but he did spit in a minor way.) and started to grab books off his shelf of popular thrillers. His face fell as he read the blurbs. Even the grittiest Karin Slaughter or toughest of Ian Rankin’s Rebus betrayed him. He was left chagrined and furious. I smiled in the most condescending way I could muster and was comforted by the faces of the rest of the group members ‘shocked and stunned’ by the attack.
You know by now I write thrillers featuring tough Praetorian special forces heroines; there are fights, chases, conspiracies and harsh decisions all mixed up with Roman values and a strong sense of survival. But INCEPTIO, PERFIDITAS and SUCCESSIO are bound together by the epic love story of Carina and Conrad. Over fifteen years we see attraction, lust, love, betrayal, joy, reconciliation, misunderstanding, broken hearts, envy, jealousy, enduring love, anguish, reconciliation – heart-stopping emotion all the way.
We may like to consider ourselves sentient, logical beings, but who’s kidding whom? Emotion rules us, especially rude men who know stuff all about writing. Our prime reaction when meeting people is emotional; that’s what the famous ‘gut feeling’ is. Then we sit back and allow our logical brain in.
We value friendship, family love, emotional love and enduring love very highly – that’s what makes us people rather than a walking mass of cells containing 47% water. At this time of the year we become soppy and pink, true, but behind the commercial tinsel lies a fundamental human requirement and expression of life.
As in the real world, human relationships are at the heart of the books’ characters’ actions; they drive the plot. Carina and Conrad’s sparky but rocky path in INCEPTIO, her dilemma in PERFIDITAS and Conrad’s in SUCCESSIO wouldn’t be anywhere near as gripping for readers if there was no fundamental emotional connection.
And if they don’t care about each other, why should we care about them?
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