Why do I write? Of all the genres in literature, why have I chosen to write love stories? What is it about historical romance that I find so appealing?
From time to time, I sit down and ask myself these questions about my work. It’s important, I think, for me to understand the meaning and purpose behind my writing. In many ways, it’s not simply the act of stringing words upon a page that makes storytelling a satisfying endeavor, but the stories themselves. If my stories don’t hold an element of truth, if they don’t reflect my view of life, and most of all, if my stories aren’t filled with hope and happiness, I haven’t successfully accomplished my objectives.
Yes, writing, for me, is far more than telling a story. Although I don’t write stories of any mythical Utopias, I am always thinking about the world around me and seeking ways in which I can make it a better place. I write because in my heart, I have a vision of a better world. I want to share that vision.
I know I’m not alone. All writers, I believe, are visionaries. We see things that don’t exist. We converse with imaginary people. We freely travel realms of the past and the future, visiting times and places that aren’t real. Through our writing, we make these things real. We bring these people to life. We unite past and future with present reality, giving others a glimpse of the world we’ve envisioned.
I write because I have a vision of a world where people are open to love, a world where, despite hardships and struggles, the essential goodness within the human heart is celebrated. It is an imperfect world, filled with imperfect people, yet through the gift of love those imperfections lose their power to hurt, a world where weaknesses are shed and strengths emerge. It is a world where lessons are learned, truth is revealed, changes occur, and above all, where justice ultimately prevails.
Perhaps I could express these ideas as well in contemporary romance as in historical tales, but my love of history runs deep. It’s in my blood, I think. While growing up and living with my grandfather, I heard stories of his 19th-century childhood and my imagination took me there to the Kansas prairies, to a sod house where he and his brothers worked hard, played hard, and grew to be good men.
The past was a time when the world moved a little slower. In our modern world, we routinely travel hundreds — even thousands — of miles in a day. Recently, I heard a news clip about astronauts zooming through space at the rate of about 18,000 miles an hour. Such numbers absolutely boggle my simple mind!
Sometimes I feel that our lives are moving so quickly, we have little time to think, little opportunity for the valuable personal reflections that are necessary for knowing who we are. Life is an ongoing series of decisions, and without time to ponder, how can we make good choices? If we’re always rushing from one place to another, from one activity to the next, when do we find the time to figure out where we really are?
For me, writing about earlier times and places serves as an antidote to the disease of fast-paced living. When I settle down here and begin to tell my tales, I’m able to slip back to those times when a woman devoted an entire day to doing the wash instead of grabbing a basket of clothes and tossing them into a machine in between doing her make-up and fixing breakfast before rushing out the door. I take a deep breath, look at the work to be done, and set about it. Slowly. Surely. At once, a sense of peace settles over me.
My hope is that readers will also feel this sense of peace as they journey with me to the past. I want readers to sit back, take a deep breath, and enjoy stories of this world I’ve envisioned where men and women work hard, play hard, fall in love, and learn what gives meaning and value to life.
My vision for a better world is one where maybe we can all slow down a bit, enough, at least, to think about our lives, to think about the people we love, and to think about how we treat one another. I want a world in which we respect each other, where we celebrate and learn from diversity, and where we encourage others to live their dreams. This is the world of which I write and this is why I write.
What is your vision for a better world?