I just finished giving my first talk here at the Romance Writers of Australia’s conference on the Gold Coast and I had lots of lovely people tell me afterwards I did a great job, and how much they appreciate me sharing so much of my own life, and maybe it’s not what I should do, but I do do it. I’m not sure why. I’m not sure if I can stop sharing so much. And not sure if I should.
I’m getting so much reader mail on Flirting with Forty, so much from readers who don’t usually read books and they’re all so surprised they liked Flirting with Forty and amazed at how much they felt. And then they discover my website, and see that Flirting with Forty has many parallels to my own life, and they end up cheering for me, glad I’ve my own Kai.
And I wish it was that neat and tidy. Nothing is as neat and tidy as a novel, but we can hope.
And this is what I have learned most regarding this novel and its reception: women crave hope. They want it in buckets and spades. They want love and they want happy endings and they want to believe that being good, and trying hard will be rewarded.
I want to believe it, too, which is why I write stories like Flirting with Forty. It’s why I take the risks I do and talk so openly in workshops, on my blogs, in my books. My novels have lots of autobiographical bits but they don’t follow my life and the plots aren’t like the path my life really takes, but I try to point in the direction of Happy Ever Afters. My compass doesn’t read North. It reads Hope. The little arrow always swings back to Hope. It has to. Without hope, what have we?
Which is why flying now is less than comfortable, and knowing I must board a plane in several days with my children fills me with some trepidation as the world situation is less than ideal, but I have a compass and I have a direction and I have my themes. Love, hope, acceptance, validation and all that good stuff.
So yes, I do lay it out there and I think we should. I think we can’t be afraid to be real, and to say what we want, and express what we need and recognize it takes courage–balls–to speak straight. To speak about the things we believe and the things we see we don’t always think is fair, or right. Maybe life isn’t fair, but we can always work to make it right. And maybe women don’t know they deserve happiness and tons of love, but they do. They do. You do. I do. And I’ll keep saying it. For as long as I need to.