I remember hearing, in high school, that kids who read fiction are better able to empathize with others.
That was the first time my mind was blown away by the power of reading.
The second time was during the recent US Presidential election.
I hadn’t considered that Trump would become President, and that “the things we’re reading” would have such a huge influence on people’s perspectives. Mass media has been blamed… but, as consumers, we can’t refuse to accept responsibility for the future of our country, no matter who is President.
Regardless of who you are or what you’re doing in the world, you make an impact on everyone around you. Our conversations that we have with people in every day life matter and they make a difference. If you make a product that pisses people off, you’re adding to the frustrations in the world. Likewise, if you go through life spewing sadness, pain and hurtful things to people, there will be more of THAT in the world.
So I asked myself “What can I do to make more love happen in the world?
I’m a writer.
And what do I know of love anyway?
Wait… I know what love is…
As a matter of fact, that’s the one thing every human knows. We’re drawn to movies and books because they give us a concentrated dose of whatever emotion we’re craving at the time. Feeling nostalgic? Go see Star Wars. Feeling adventurous? Go watch James Bond. Curious about other people? Watch a reality show? Craving new flavors? Watch a cooking show. Wanna be a beauty Queen even if you’re a boy (you can do it)? Watch that runway show (please don’t be mad I’ve never seen it but I’d like to).
Anyway… the media that we consume sort of creates us. There are two ways to deal with this
1- be more conscious about the things you consume
2- consciously create media that tells a story that leaves the consumer better off.
So the one thing I try to do with my stories is take the reader on a journey through someone else’s life and feel their pain and happiness for a minute.
I’m pretty sure that the romance readers I know are some of the kindest, most empathetic and love-filled women I’ve ever known. They’re not perfect, no one is (in which case, I argue that we are ALL perfect). They each have flaws, just like any good character. But they’re choosing love at every opportunity, in all areas of life.
A look at my back history of books might not reflect this revelation. I’m learning a lot with each one I write. I did include some politics-related stuff in my most recent book, but I didn’t consciously think about how I was presenting it. The story was set mostly in 2016 so of course the election was a big deal in the book. I mean, the main characters are a women’s health clinic doctor and a gay male couple.
I hope the readers love these characters as much as I did. Writing this was way more fun than it had any right to be. I could have researched more or made it deeper but these characters seemed like my friends and I wonder sometimes if it told too much like all of our inside jokes. I hope the readers end up feeling some love for these guys too.
I have so many more ideas for the Daddy: Mama cast of characters. I’d love to write about Candace and the Irishman, about Cecelia and her husband, about the other male couples in the book. I’d love to see a parenting-related crisis between two of the families.