I think about the complexities and textures of love. A lot. Maybe it’s because that’s ultimately what I’m writing about. I think that love is love. You can totally love someone and yet move on because it’s just not working. But you still carry that person with you in your heart and think of them often. Maybe still even chat with them.
I’m a romantic. I believe in love at first sight. But I also believe you can love more than one person at a time. Things in real life are often gray—not black or white or completely right or wrong. Some situations love can not overcome. But that doesn’t mean you stop loving the person, completely.
So I tend to write like this in my books. It’s one thing a few reviewers have pointed out about LIKE HONEY, as something they didn’t really like about my characters. Hmmm. Jennifer is a young widow. I definitely think her husband would be on her mind A lot. Part of her arc is trying to move past his death. She has sweet memories, maddening memories, and sexy ones, too.
Then there’s Gray, who is a man who’s only been in love once. The woman who he loved is his current boss. So, of course he thinks about her. Whether he wants to or not. The other women he thinks about are past lovers with wild sex experiences. And I know guys (and some women, frankly) enough to know they think about these things. They think about other lovers while they are involved with someone else. They do. Even if they are quite happy in another relationship.
I think our current selves owe a lot to our past. Our past experiences with love and lust serve to show us what we want, what we don’t want, and it becomes a part of us and a part of the way we function in other relationships. So why would this not show up in romance writing?
So I’m wondering if this another one of those “romance writing” rules that I never caught onto?
What do you think? Leave the past alone in our characters? Or, embrace the murkiness of having past loves swimming around in their memories?