I realized it would probably behoove me to explain the reason Wildfire isn’t ALL fun and lighthearted like A Christmas in Montana. (Spoiler alert!) There’s more suspense and mystery in book two, and here’s the reason:
“Soldiers don’t break.” They’re supposed to be a symbol of perfection that never makes a mistake or gets emotional. So where does the struggle go? Nowhere. It gets locked inside. For Matt and Orion to understand one another and be open enough with each other (like a couple that has a chance to make it), I had to find a way to break through Matt’s mental walls. He feared for Orion’s life in book 1: A Christmas in Montana. Now he has to fear for her safety and security. Sure, that stresses him out, but that is normal worry to a soldier – watching out for their buddies. I had to take this up another notch.
Matt had to feel like his life was falling apart. Everything Matt has worked for, building his companies etc, had to be worth throwing away. The emotion inside needed to be strong enough to climb his walls and get out, or he had to be weak enough to drop them altogether. He had to fear losing the control he had over his life, i.e. Orion would walk away, or she would be taken from him because of something he did/said/was etc. It had to be Matt’s fault.
Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking I could’ve just made him be a jerk about his nightmares, be stubborn and unwilling to see a therapist, or something to that effect. But that defies the concept of Orion I built. She can make anyone comfortable enough to talk about anything. She is designed to be the epitome of love, even if that means tossing around a little fire to make characters realize they’re being unreasonable in keeping their pain to themselves. Some, like Matt, don’t want help. So I had to force him to get it.
As much as I respect sweet romance writers, I can’t mimic them. I don’t want to. My stories are always complex, filled with subplots and risk. There will be cursing and struggle because that feels much more real than perfect, dreamy stories to me. Are my works always realistic and possible? No. But I don’t want my readers skipping chunks of (uneventful) story just to find out if the main characters get married or not. I want you to be sucked into the journey, because the ending is that much more rewarding.
I apologize if this upsets some of my readers. I am a romance suspense writer (among other genres), not a sweet Christian writer, though I’m sure I’d get more pats on the back if I was. It’s hard to surf against the waves of expectation. I just take a breath and dive deep underneath, let it pass overhead. I will always do what I think is best for the story and stay true to the art of it. That may make it take unexpected turns. I’m okay with that.
I do write the stories for my readers, but there can be such a mix of expectations that I can’t please everyone. I have to use my best judgement. Since I also write science fiction and fantasy and many of those readers also read my romance, I want it to have an intensity to it that everyone can enjoy.
For those of you who are upset by this, you are welcome to leave comments. I value all feedback, good and bad.
Hibiscus Christmas will feature suspense but much less violence than Wildfire. And, you guessed it, part of it will take place in Hawaii. The series will end with a Happily Ever After (HEA), so don’t worry.
I hope you’ll hang around for the third book. If you like romance and want to snag my books for free before they publish, make sure you sign up for my newsletters.
Book 1: A Christmas in Montana on Amazon $1.99
Book 2: Wildfire Preorder (Publishing July 18th) $0.99
Book 3: Hibiscus Christmas Preorder (Publishing May 1, 2021) $0.99