Embracing Love, Past and Present


By Liz Everly

UnknownI 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?

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11 Comments

  • C. Margery Kempe
    May 27, 2014 at 5:59 am

    I must have missed that rule too. My current WIP is all about the guy she’ll go back to at the end, but who she’s tossed out on his ear at the start. 🙂

    • Liz Everly
      May 27, 2014 at 8:43 am

      I’m in good company, then. 😉

  • Madeline Iva
    May 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    There’s that whole question of who are you if you don’t have your memories. This one guy lost is memories (bad response to malaria drugs) and his challenge was to discover who he was — including who he was as a boyfriend. For the first time ever he saw himself dispassionately, as someone who takes on a girlfriend when he knows he could do a lot better for himself. Why did he do this? You got the feeling from reading about the book that he did it because she would do anything for him, and be so sweet, and yet he could ultimately dump her and walk away without feeling bad about it. Like that was her day in the sun. Yes, he discovered he was a total shit.

    But is he still a shit now? It sounds like he sorted all that out — even as he gained his memory back. That’s the great thing about the memories that make us cringe–they hold us accountable. They measure the space between who we are and who we’d like to be.

    • Liz Everly
      May 27, 2014 at 8:44 am

      And that is a very interesting space.

  • Barbara Mikula
    May 27, 2014 at 8:50 am

    As an author, you have to address a character’s past. It’s what made them who they are: flawed, happy, unhappy, fearful–just like it does for us flesh and blood people. Most of my heroes have something to overcome as do the heroines, Without tension and conflict you would have a pretty boring story. I enjoyed Like Honey for the growth of the characters as well as the rich background. Good job, Liz. – Skye Michaels

  • Elizabeth Shore
    May 27, 2014 at 9:48 am

    It’s absolutely possible to love two people at a time. People are complex beings. Our emotions, our environment, upbringing, education, culture … they all contribute to who we are, how we think, how we love, and memories are added to the list of ingredients that define us. A deep love for one person doesn’t necessarily disappear with a snap just because you realized you couldn’t live with him or her. You may move on but the love remains.

    • Liz Everly
      May 27, 2014 at 12:21 pm

      Absolutely. Thanks for commenting.

  • Kel
    May 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

    As a reader, I like complicated characters with complicated feelings and relationships. It makes them more interesting and more real to me. If that means that they’re still feeling things for an ex, so be it… people do that. It just has to make sense for the character to be that way… if the character wouldn’t; they shouldn’t. If they would, by all means, have them think about their ex.

  • Liz Everly
    May 27, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Liz Everly and commented:

    Embracing Love, Past and Present

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