Every writer has a central theme that resonates in their writing. For some, it's redemption; for others, it's hope or love conquers all. But it took me a long time to figure out what mine was. After writing six novels, I still didn't know. When I complained about this to a brilliant author friend of mine who is familiar with my work, she didn't hesitate. "It's betrayal," she told me. "All your books deal with betrayal."
She was right. I tend to write about characters overcoming betrayal and learning to trust someone who has become untrustworthy. Sometimes it's my hero who breaks the heroine's heart, and sometimes it's the other way around, but nearly all my books deal with this issue.
Of course, once I figured this out, it led to a lot of self-examination. Why is this subject the one that captures my creative juices? Why do I spend so much energy playing with themes of betrayal and forgiveness?
I decided it was because I have been both the betrayer and the betrayed in my personal life and have discovered that all relationships have times of adversity. But I believe adversity can burn through all the shallow reasons most people get together and reveal the truth about what lies beneath.
In today's society, it's far too easy to walk away from love when the going gets tough. When someone hurts us, it's easier to start again with someone new than to try and rebuild something that's been damaged. But odds are that sometime during that new relationship, you'll be hurt again. Too many people go from one relationship to the next, bailing out whenever things get dicey and never find the depth of love that only comes when you've walked through some fire together.
Up until about fifty years ago, it was much harder to walk away. Divorce was almost unheard of. I'm sure that made for a lot of very unhappy people. Men were controlling and women had no rights. But I also wonder how many people were able to forge long and lasting love affairs because they were forced to deal with their problems.
I've tried to write contemporaries, but I can't seem to do it. Let's face it, when your sister or best friend comes to you and tells you some guy cheated on her or lied to her, what is your first reaction? Leave the son of a bitch! LOL Women today have so many choices and resources that it often doesn't make sense to stay.
But put that same girl in a medieval castle or the old west, and what other choice does she have? She can either forgive the guy and try to rebuild the relationship, or hate him for the rest of her life but still have to deal with him every day.
I have to clarify that the characters in my books are good people put in bad situations. They do everything they can not to hurt the ones they love. But sometimes people make bad decisions and deserve a second chance. I try to give it to them, because someone once gave me a second chance. The same someone I've been happily married to for twenty years. J