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The Hopeful Romantic

I’m what you could call a “hopeful” romantic.

I adore a good love story, and, as I’ve mentioned before, I love romance novels, mostly because I know I’ll get a happy end. I’ve written tortured fantasy before, where everyone dies at the end. I got over that after four or five German literature courses. I can’t even tell you the number of stories I read where everyone dies of starvation even though there’s a loaf of bread left uneaten on the counter of the flat next door. Certainly, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s close enough to the truth that when my husband took me to see some German movie and the camera panned in on a loaf of bread, M leaned over and asked loudly, “Oh, there’s the loaf of bread you’re always talking about. Is everyone going to die now?” And the answer to his question was, yes.

I think he was actually pretty relieved when they did. I know I was.

So I don’t write the tortured stuff too often anymore. Oh, I torture my characters, but I’m going to give them a happy ending. And I’m going to do it for one simple reason: Hope.

As a romance writer, that’s what I’m peddling. We all want to believe that these characters are going to have their happily ever after. We want to believe the bad guy will get caught and get his just desserts. We want to believe in love.

Because if we do, we can hold out hope it will happen for us.

I was a romantic long before I ever met my husband, and I’ll be a romantic until the day I die. I got married because I had hope. Hope that we could defy the odds. After all, we married young and against our parents’ wishes (more his than mine). Half of all marriages end in divorce, but I believed in the happily ever after. I believed in love. I believed that we would count ourselves among the lucky few and defy the odds. That we would be the ones who would grow old together. I believed it with the strength of conviction only the young and the insane possess.

I still believe it fourteen years later.

Oh, it’s not all sunshine and roses, because I live a real life with a real man. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have faith that we’ll somehow make it through whatever life throws at us. It won’t be perfect because life isn’t perfect. I’m okay with that because I have hope.

At twenty-two, I found “the one,” and for all of life’s ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade a single minute, because everything we’ve gone through, every fight or rough patch, has led us here. And what got us through those tough times was the hope and the unwavering faith that we still loved one another and things would get better, because they always do.

So when I write a romance novel, it’s not because I’m too weak minded to do anything else. I’m not. It’s because there’s a certain beauty in writing something as hopeful as a romance novel. When we start on our journey, we ask the reader to have faith in us. We ask for them to hold onto the hope that everything will be okay, no matter what we throw at our characters.

So yeah, I’m a hopeful romantic. And proud to be one.