The First Love Story I Wrote

I’ve been writing fiction stories since I was a fourth grader. I wrote stories for a while about heroic girls and women. Most of them involved talking animals. I was a kid. Then, in middle school and high school ALL the ANGST just overtook me. I wrote dark stories about misfits and how they survived in hostile environments where no one understood me…er…HER. Her. Or HIM even. Because I don’t write stories about me. Ever. <cough, cough, cough> Everybody buys that, right? Well, okay. I knew no one really did. My characters aren’t REALLY me, but I write what I know. So I didn’t write a love story until I was an adult. Because I’d really never been in love, or felt what real romantic love was, until I met J. I was married for several years to J when I wrote my first love story. In fact, I was already a parent.

This first love story I attempted turned into a novel pretty much immediately. Building: A Love Story started when a friend of mine insisted I read EL James’ 50 Shades of Grey series in late 2011. She actually used the word ‘life-changing’ to describe them to me. So I read them. I mean…’life-changing.’ I couldn’t let books described with a word like that pass me by.

I don’t want to tear apart someone else’s creative endeavor, because I know it’s hard to write a novel. It’s a huge time, talent, and emotional investment, and it takes more than a touch of courage to put something you created out there for other people to judge. It’s terrifying. I know this first hand now. But I didn’t like the books. My friend was surprised I didn’t like them. (Frankly, I was surprised too, because she’d previously recommended Zadie Smith to me, whom I LOVE, so I expected to like them. I just didn’t.) She asked me why, so I told her I didn’t like how the relationship unfolded. I didn’t find it romantic; I found it frightening on a lot of levels, and my fear had nothing to do with the included kink. I told my friend I didn’t think Christian Grey was a good romantic hero because of his demeanor and behavior, and we got into a friendly-ish debate about it. During this discussion, my friend said two things that just stuck in my head…

“A classically masculine man like that…a dominant man…a leader…kind of *has* to be at least a little bit of an asshole.”
“I suppose you could write a better romance hero?”

I thought to myself in that moment, “Yeah…I think I could.” And I thought I could write a better romantic heroine too. So that’s where Alan Evers and Jessica Fielding came from. In a way, I guess I was inspired by 50 Shades of Grey. So as much as I didn’t enjoy those books, they really were ‘life-changing,’ like my friend said.  I ended up writing a trilogy too. The first book I self-published…the first ‘romance’ I ever wrote…Building: A Love Story…can be purchased here. 


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