What inspires me to write romance?

I was doing an interview a few weeks ago and I was asked what inspires me to write the kind of stories that I do – Historical Romantic Suspense. I’ve been asked this question so many times over the last few years, but for some reason this day I couldn’t just answer it. Usually I say my inspiration comes from the stories my parents used to tell me, which is true. The reality is that isn’t why I write though. The real reason is something much more closer to my heart.

I was one of those children at school who always had a pen and notebook with them. While other kids were out playing netball or gossiping, I was usually sitting under a tree somewhere writing. Throughout my last few years of high school my English teacher asked me what I wanted to do with my life. When I told him I wanted to be a writer he laughed and told me I would never be good enough. As a teenager that was hard to hear, but still I never gave up. Looking back now I guess I wanted to prove that he was wrong.
As the years passed by life took over as it does, but still I wrote where and when I can until finally I got offered a book contract. I was so excited I started working on the next book, and the next. I thought I had finally got my foot in the door and was on my way to accomplishing my writing dream. Then one day I came home to see the man I was living with ready to delete my life’s work from the computer. I begged him not to. He spat at me and told me that I would never be an author and that I should remember he could take it all away from me in a second. This happened so many times over the years I stayed in that house. Eventually my book contract fell through and I gave up writing mainly because I could no longer see the point. How could I keep writing romance stories that always ended with a happily ever after when I lived in a destructive abusive relationship?
Eventually, after seventeen very long years, and numerous death threats later, I managed to take my children and escape that house. I set up home in a tiny little rental house and tried to put my life back together. One day, not long after all this horror, I went to a coffee shop and ran into a man I had known since I was about thirteen. We got talking about how our lives had both been turned on their heads, and he asked how I was going to keep my writing career going. No one had ever asked me that before. No one had ever cared even if I spoke about it.
When I told him about the debacle of my life and how I had nearly lost my life’s work so many times, he offered to set a computer up for me with extra backup drives so that could never happen again. Though I appreciated his offer I reminded him of the hypocrisy of someone like me trying to write happily ever after books. He kissed me on the cheek and told me that maybe I just wrote about what I wanted to find myself.
He was right.
That was why I wrote the kind of stories I used to write. But his words – his kindness – gave me another reason to write. I started writing again that night and sent off a manuscript in a matter of weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to be published ever since. But the reason I write now is because I found my own happy ending. I no longer write about fairy tales. I write about a love so strong that all the evils of the world can’t defeat it.

So if you were to ask me now what inspires me to write, the answer is easy. It is him. The man who bought me a coffee that day and set up my computer. The same man who is now my husband and has given me my own happily ever after.

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