I’ve always been a romantic.
When I was twelve years old, I watched the movie Pretty Woman every single day of my summer break. To this day, I know all the lines not only to the dialogue but to the musical soundtrack of that movie. I think it’s a byproduct of growing up a single child with a broken-hearted mom and an absent dad. I searched for love stories wherever I went. I asked my neighbours and teachers how they met their spouses, I planned imaginary weddings between kids at daycare and played very inappropriately with my Barbie and Ken dolls in makeshift beds.
I found my first love story when I was fifteen years old. One day, I’m sure I’ll write about it because loving that boy haunts me to this day. He was still slightly round cheeked with baby fat and this silky halo of golden hair so bright, I remember dying to run my fingers through it. He was my first love and I loved him hard, with a ferocity that I feel echoed in my soul even today. We were too young for a love like that and ultimately, he cheated on me. It led to a period of heartbreak that I indulged by my writing truly angsty poetry. I emerged from the mourning period a little worse for wear but still eager for love.
Since then, I’ve never had an easy romantic relationship. Which isn’t to say such a thing is impossible, I’ve personally witnessed partnership that are so symbiotic that their interactions seem as intrinsic as the waves kissing the shore. But my own romantic trials have taught me that love is never a cake walk. You have to make the conscious decision every day to love a person no matter the obstacles in your way.
It was when I was thinking about this one day that I wondered about the possibility of falling in love with someone who you simply could not be with. Not a teacher or your therapist or a guy from the other side of the tracks, but someone whose love was morally and thoroughly off-limits to you. I played with the scenario and asked one of my best friends about it…
Me: Say I am happily in love with my boyfriend but you and he have a special connection that you cannot deny. You love him completely. What would you do?
Friend: I would be with him.
Me: Umm, okay…
Friend: I know it sounds harsh but I don’t think making that decision means I don’t love you. It just means that I was lucky enough to find the kind of love that most people only read about or watch on TV. I’d be crazy not to act on it.
At first, I’ll admit, I was a bit outraged. What kind of loved one would steal my hypothetical boyfriend from me!? But then I realized what she said was true. The only tragedy in that situation would be if they stayed ‘loyal’ to me out of guilt, leaving all three of us unhappy.
This is how the idea for The Evolution Of Sin trilogy came to me and when The Secret is released in June, I think you will understand exactly how this conversation influenced the story line!