Every year, Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14th and serves as a reminder for us to celebrate love and our loved ones. My husband and I always celebrate a day later on the 15th as it's the anniversary of the Valentine's dance when we started going out together. We were both still in school and it wasn't until five years later that we chose the same date on which to get engaged. This year, in lockdown, we couldn't go out for a celebratory lunch or dinner as we always do but had a delicious meal, with a bottle of the customary fizz, delivered to the house.
So, what is love? Some of you may remember the popular 'Love is...' cartoons of New Zealand artist, Kim Casali, in the seventies. She drew them originally as love notes for her future husband. The cartoon's release coincided with the success of the novel Love Story by Erich Segal and the subsequent movie of the same name. The film's slogan was Love means never to have to say you're sorry. Casali changed this into one of her most famous cartoons, 'Love is... being able to say you're sorry.'
When a writing friend recommended that I should join the RNA via its wonderful New Writers' Scheme, I didn't think I would be eligible. I didn't write romantic fiction in the way I thought of it. However, when I started to analyse what my novels were about, in amongst the families and their secrets, there is indeed a very strong element of love interest in each one. There is a range of first love, innocent love, forbidden love, and mature, never-ending love as well as maternal love that underpins them all.
In Her Mother's Secret, Elin falls in love with Stelios but due to cultural differences, there is not a happy ending for her. However, when her daughter, Alexandra, follows in her mother's footsteps to find out why Elin kept her summer in Greece a secret, she too finds love, one that develops after friendship. Those of you who may have read my short story in the Cosy Christmas Treats anthology will know how that love story ends.
In Her Sister's Secret, young innocent Rose falls in love at first sight but knows that even to fraternise with Marco, a Prisoner of War, is forbidden. Later. the love she feels for her husband Bryn is a different kind of love. It's the 'love that will last forever,' she says. Jen is infatuated at one stage with a 'bad boy' as part of her rebellion to finding out the truth but the true love between her and Mike is explored in the novel, too.
In novel three, Annie falls for Edmund. Because of the difference in social class and when Edmund leaves to fight in WW2, soon to be reported missing in action and presumed dead, the love between them appears doomed. Will Annie find love again?
Look out for this new story when it's published by Ruby Fiction in July.