Hello again, dear readers! How is your Spring going?
I’d like to start of by saying a HUGE thank you to everyone who has purchased Garden of Eden, or indeed any of my books recently. I’ve had the best month I’ve ever had for sales and I’m inching ever closer to my ultimate goal of being an eccentric, self-employed author with an adorable drinking problem.
Of course, what I actually mean is my goal of becoming an author/stay at home Mum. But don’t tell anyone, I don’t want to lose my street cred.
Today’s post is all about the power of familiarity versus the excitement of the unknown. ‘What has inspired you to subject us all to this incredibly specific and somewhat random musing?’ I hear you ask. Well, as usual, the question has been generated by my own struggles with a story.
So, here goes. I’ve mentioned many times that my love of reading really started when I was a teenager. This was largely because I was hugely dissatisfied with my real life. I was an overweight, awkward and obnoxiously ‘arty’ girl. I filled my time drawing sad, naked women and pretending that I didn’t want attention from my peers when in actuality, I had seriously considered going full-on ‘Carrie’ to try and get some.
I retreated into books as a way of escapism, as we all do, but what I was looking for most of all was the thrill of the dangerous unknown. Not like, adventure in the Amazon unknown. Fuck that. I have zero interest in snakes or mosquitos.* I just wanted to see new places, meet new people, and above all, try on a different version of me. A version that was cool, hot, fiesty, maybe even had special powers. I then wanted to meet an equally cool, sexy and mysterious guy. One who was equal parts bad boy and sex-machine. One who was too dangerous to be around me but who wanted me too much to ever let me go.
Mills and Boon acquired alot of my wages back then.
I have always carried this sense of adventure with me and, in the end, my life actually did look a lot like the stories I read. You know, once I got my head out of books (and the fridge) and started living my life the way I wanted to live it.
(Now feels like a good time to mention that any unhappiness I express about being overweight as a teen is purely linked to the crippling self-loathing I experienced as a result. There are plenty of people who are happy and beautiful without being skinny and I fully support them. As I always say; you do you, and I’ll do me. Insert cheeky innuendo here.)
Anyway, I try to include this love of the unknown in my writing, but I find I actually struggle to create meaningful connections between strangers within the word count limits I give myself. I really, really tried with my current story, ‘The Beast of Backar,’ but it just didn’t work. The motivations for the characaters actions felt forced and flaky at best. As soon as I adapted the story eeeeeeeeeeever so slightly, so that they had a pre-existing relationship, it all just fell into place.
There is something to be said for the power of familiararity, when I met my husband, I met the real-life embodiment of every male protagonist I’d ever fallen in love with in my stories. So, even though we’d never met before, I had a full on Sleeping Beauty ‘I know you’ moment. I feel in love instantly.
That’s right. I’m a die-hard romantic as well as a degenerate pervert.
My question is this, dear readers, has anyone else had this struggle? And if so, how do you get around it?
Until next time, I leave you with this:
‘A soulmate is someone whom, when you meet, without thinking – without letting your neocortex play into the decision – you feel an instant familiarity, a sense of connection, a longing.’ Karen Salmansohn.
‘I might use that as the advert for my line of vibrators…’ K M Strange.
*For that matter, I can’t stand the idea of ski holidays either. ‘Hey Strange, do you fancy zipping at breakneck speed down a mountain in a place that is literally always cold?’ No. No, I don’t.