One year ago today I published Poker Face, Cybill Cain’s debut contemporary romance. It hardly seems more than yesterday to me, but I suppose that is how time works. Unless you are constantly marking every minute it slips away from you.
In the year since I told the story of the billionaire who would risk everything for a chance at feeling alive, and the virgin who needed a way to turn her life around and reclaim it for herself I have written six other volumes in the Chimera Club Stories, each a unique love story filled with characters that I myself couldn’t help but fall in love with over and over again.
I didn’t set out to write romance. Or maybe I did. It’s not something I can pin down exactly. Probably because I don’t like labels of any kind, and consider myself to be a rebel most days. I think I write romance because it is such an intrinsic part of who I am.
I believe in Happily Ever After. I believe in soul mates. I believe in the power of love to conquer all things and change the way we see ourselves and the world around us. I don’t think these core beliefs would change even if I were writing mysteries or action suspense stories because no matter the genre you are invoking what makes a story real is the way the characters resonate and become three dimensional to the reader. You can’t be a three dimensional character without love. You can’t be a three dimensional person without love either.
I don’t even necessarily mean romantic love when I say that. Love is a bouquet of many colors, but the impact it can have in any form is boundless. Recognizing that, talking about that, and showcasing that power is the most important thing to me in the world.
We speak reverently of the invention of fire and how it shaped our species. Rarely do we acknowledge that the first thing we did with that fire was gather around it to tell stories. Stories of great hunts, stories of interaction with beings we perceived as gods, or stories about ourselves and our journeys through life.
As a species we are addicted to stories. We watch them on television, read them in books and gather in modern caves called theaters by flickering light to be told a story. We see ourselves in the characters, either the people we are, or the people we long to be. Nothing is more seductive than the power of a story to transform and shape us, and our view of the world and the people around us. Because of that, stories of boundless love and happiness seem important to me, and so they are the kinds of stories I tell, but they are also the kinds of stories I read.
I always knew I was going to write. It was one of the first things I knew to be true even when I was a child. I never thought much about what I would write, because the story informs the artist as much as the other way around. It took me a very long time to reach a place in my life where I had stories in my head that refused to sleep and insisted that they be given life on the page, but once it happened I can honestly say that nothing has ever made me as happy as seeing a story unfold before my very eyes. There is a sense that I am in the groove I was made for doing what I was meant to do. It gave me a sense of completeness that I have never experienced at any other point in my life. For me, writing is love. I suppose once you know that it makes sense that all my stories are love stories, love letters to the circumstance and events that brought me here to this place in my life.
I am more grateful for this past year than any other in my life. I have learned so much about myself, and the art of writing that at times I feel like I am going to burst at the seams from all the feelings inside me. When that happens I tell myself to take a breath and keep going because even if I do end here, this is the best ending for me that I could have ever imagined.
Thank you all for an amazing year.