Sunday, February 14, 2016

All Kinds of Love

A friend, the mother of three children, once told me that she always got a little blue after giving birth to her children. “I know it's silly,” she told me, “but once a baby is born, she is everyone's. When I am carrying her, she is mine alone and I love that feeling.” At the time I was a little startled by that but now, as a writer, I think I understand. I get post-partum blues for my books.

I did not work on The Legend: A Marienstadt Story as long as I have on other books. I wrote it in five months—five very intense months. My hope was that it would be ready for Christmas, especially because the entire story takes place in the month of December. But I didn't make my deadline for some very good reasons. Not the least of which was that important things were happening in the world of animal rights and I wanted to include them. The story deals with horse and dog rescue, horse kill-buyers, and dogfighting—the latter two being terrible things to think about.

But, even though it was gut wrenching to do some of the research, it occurred to me that I had to be bigger than my own squeamishness and fears. It wasn't until the book was done that I realized the story is just filled with love—a woman's love for her horse, a daughter's love for the father who gave her a better life, the love between brothers, a man's love for the forest he protects—the list goes on and on.

Today is Valentine's Day—a day I love because it is my name and on this day in 1868, my Great-grandfather Thomas Valentine, married Theresa Laumer. They were the beginning of our family.

It's easy to get caught up in the sentimentalness of Valentine's Day. There's so much silliness—all of it designed to make us feel guilty if we aren't showering our beloveds with gifts or depressed if we have no beloved. But I stopped caring about all of that a long time ago. These days Valentine's Day is a reminder to me that there is all kinds of love in the world, including my love for my characters and their place in the world. I simply cannot keep them inside of me forever.

So today, The Legend is out in the world and, despite the few passages that may be hard to read for some, I hope they will forgive that in favor of the overall work. I wrote it with more love than I think I've ever written anything. I learned so much and I hope my readers will learn a few things, too.

Happy Valentine's Day and thanks for reading!

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