I wanted to write a little something about love. I specifically wanted to tackle some issues with love in the young adult genre and the way Kim and I approach it in our writing.
There are all different types of love. Some of the themes we've explored in our writing have been the type of love with history; you've known this person and loved them forever. The gradual falling into love. Unrequited love. Slowing getting too know someone, then Bam! You realized you've loved them all along. Forbidden Love. The love triangle. And of course, insta-love. There are soooooo many more, but we don't have all day, so let's begin.
In my opinion, insta-love is great if done properly. Unfortunately in most self published and mainstream novels alike, it is not done right. I think that's why it's getting the bad rep. Personally, I love that head over heels, love at first sight, lets run away together and figure it all out later kind of love. Sure, it's unrealistic, but honestly, are you really reading paranormal romance for the realism? Get lost in something that you think wouldn't happen to you and if you don't feel that "instant love" when you read it, it's probably done wrong. I like to consider it love at first sight instead of insta-love anyway. ;)
The love triangle. Played out! Yes, I'm guilty here too. In my defense... it just kind of happened. It wasn't planned, I swear! Love triangles are tricky, and often, very appealing. The drama of it. The mystery. Rooting for the protagonist to pick your guy/girl. It's just fun to read. Although I'm a bit biased as far as my writing is concerned, I think we've created a triangle that serves the purpose of the story and intrigues the reader. I hate to mention Twilight because I'm not a huge fan, but the Edward/Jacob thing was successful in my mind. There was a reason for it, there was drama in it, and it really made me feel something when I would read it. The end of the triangle played into a big plot point and was resolved. I have my own opinions about how it was resolved that I'll leave out so as not to incur the wrath of my Twilighter friends, but it was resolved. Like insta-love, I think if it's done right, it's fine by me. Reading a synopsis where they've even hinted at a love triangle gets a little eye roll from me, but it's not a deal breaker.
I really wanted to tackle a specific issue I've noticed in Anomaly. At times we've gone a little overboard on the romance. I personally like novels that have a great story but still spend some time "going overboard" on the romance bits. But I get that it can be distracting from the story. We've had a lot of people gush about the romance and a lot of people like the novel despite the romance. People tend to love Kismet. He's the ultimate nice guy. He and Caity have one of those "we have chemistry but were ignoring it for some reason until finally we give into it" kinds of love and I’ve yet to receive a single negative comment about it him, despite how unrealistic it is that he's a 20-something virgin. (Funny side note: I hadn't realized he was coming off like that and it was never my intention that he would be a virgin; just that he'd never had a real meaningful relationship. When I mentioned it to Kim, she said "of course he is". LOL!) Anyway, I digress.
Then there's Chase. Poor misguided, passionate, temperamental Chase. Without giving anything away, he makes his "mistakes." But yet, Caity still struggles with her feelings for him. PEOPLE DON'T LIKE THAT. They write about how frustrated it makes them and how annoyed they are when Caity even mentions missing him after all he's done. AND I LOVE IT. I am thrilled that something I've written has been able to evoke such a powerful response from readers.
I want them to scream "Caity, what the HELL are you thinking???" Because, although as a third party to this relationship it's easy to judge and to see the bigger picture that these people should not be together, you aren't Caity. You aren't blinded by those feelings and holding onto what once was and I don't want you to be. I want you to see things she doesn't see and I want you to feel a certain way at certain times and I think that's better than "Now I love him, now I don't."
(I'll get a little cocky here and say "If I wanted you to love Chase, you would.")
Yes, it's frustrating to see Caity swaying here and there with Chase after what would so obviously be enough for me or any of our level headed readers, but I think it's real. Caity is as real as we can make her. She's a flawed character with a lot to learn and a lot of room to grow. She's pushy and determined and doesn't always make the right decision or see the bigger picture when you want her too.
As far as Chase is concerned, we all know that girl/guy in the toxic relationship who keeps going back to that person after the horrible things they've done. It's something unfortunate but completely human. Of course I don't want to advocate "battered wife syndrome" but I do want to highlight that it happens. You can't just turn it off like you should. And I think that makes for great drama.
Let's talk about Madison and Caity. for those of you unfamiliar with The New Haven Project, (it's 99 cents on Amazon and Barnes&Noble) Caity and Madison are sisters. As a result of Caitlin's childhood at New Haven, Caity doesn't remember she has a sister. Years later she finds out that not only does she have a sister, but that Madison is not her biggest fan. Madison has some serious issues; jealously, anger, bitterness and pure resentment for Caity. Yet, Caity still tries for a relationship with her.
A few people have commented that Caity isn't trying hard enough and others have said they don't know why she's even still trying. I'll get a little personal here and say that their relationship was not planned out based on character development and what's best for the story line. It's based on fact. Everything that Madison and Caity go through, I've been through with my own sister in some form or another. Caity reacts to Madison exactly how I would react to my sister. So, I don't apologize or make excuses for the way Caity and Madison treat each other her or how hard either of them tries. The relationship between them is as real as anything I've written in this novel. Their love is different than the typical sisterly love. It's hard, it's complicated and it's ever changing, but I still consider it love.
I guess my point is, in the end, love doesn't always need to make you happy and lovey and full of hope. It needs to make you feel something. Elation, Anger, frustration, lust, heartache, sadness, bitterness... If you feel any of that while reading the love parts of our novels, we've done our job.