With due apology to all of the writers who have labored over the books I’ve read, I have been known to flip past beautifully written passages about very important things just to find out what happens next in the romantic subplot. Even as a child, before I was reading about romantic love, what I cared about in stories were the relationships—between friends, siblings, parents and children, characters and their pets—anything that made a heart-to-heart connection.
When I wrote my first novel, All the Broken Places, I didn’t set out to write a romance, but I suppose it should come as no surprise that I did. The heart has always been where I live, and it is also where the wellspring of my inspiration lies.
One of the best things about writing romance is that the subject of love is so rich. It includes many of our most compelling human experiences—loyalty, sacrifice, intimacy, generosity, humor, forgiveness, persistence, empathy, and sympathy, among other things. Love is a dazzling kaleidoscope of our existence. Perhaps that is the reason why it has been the driving force behind so much of our behavior, including so many of our creative endeavors.
It’s not the only driving force, however, and I deeply appreciate the fruits of those who are chiefly driven by other things, like a thirst for knowledge, a quest for truth, a fascination with history, or a passion for discovering the unknown. While I read and write romance, I also nourish myself on many other types of writing on a variety of subjects, and I hope that as a result, a broader range of life’s complexity is reflected in my books.
Ultimately, though, it seems that at some point, every other subject circles back and touches the topic of love. I most enjoy writing the love stories of characters with differing motivations, because after all, it is not only emotional creatures like me who fall in love, or whose lives come to revolve around those they care for. Writing the story of how two very different people overcome obstacles in their journey to become one is ultimately an exploration of how love may be the one thing that truly unifies us.
To those dear readers of my books who flip past other passages just find out what happens next in the romantic plot—we’re cut from the same cloth, you and I, and you’ll certainly get no judgment from me. And to those who are not standard-bearers for matters of the heart, I hope that if you read my books, you will still find value and enjoyment there. After all, there is a reason love stories call to so many of us. In the words of Rumi, the incomparable poet, scholar, and mystic: “Love is the bridge between you and everything.”
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Author and plant lover Anise Eden spends most of her time tucked away in her writing nook imagining things that aren’t there. On those rare occasions when she emerges from seclusion, Anise may be spotted in coffee shops, staring at her laptop screen and silently moving her lips as she reviews bits of dialogue. Although Anise claims that she’s the one in charge, the characters in her head do sometimes make her laugh out loud at inappropriate moments.