I was shocked when James' book covers dropped into my inbox as I tend to keep my website strictly for romance authors - I was just about to send him an email explaining and apologizing that I would have to withdraw his visit. Then I read the content of this Sci-Fi author's blog. Really enjoyed it and I'm sure you will too!
So James considered your spot reserved and entirely yours - hope you enjoy your time here!
Love in Strange Places
Although this blog is posted on 2/23/12, I wrote it on 2/14/12. That’s appropriate because this blog is about love. The topic has been beat to death for eternity, so when faced with the need to write about it, an author must ask himself/herself: “What does love mean to me?” We all probably have the same general concept about what love is, but it is equally true that each of us will add different nuances when we try to write about it. Here are a few of my thoughts.
I began my writing career with a Sci-Fi trilogy. Now, I understand that anyone wanting to read a love story will probably not go to the Sci-Fi genre to find one; however, for me, writing the series was a growth experience concerning the inclusion of an underlying love story within an unusual setting. “Love” in the context of the series began in terms of “duty.” The main character (Daniel) had a duty to take a particular mate, and he did (Eve). That was just the beginning. Over time, Daniel came to realize Eve meant more to him than his own life. Furthermore, the hero in the first book (Daniel) isn’t the hero of the trilogy, Eve is. Like Daniel, Eve comes to realize how important Daniel is to her, especially when Daniel gives his life for her and his people.
So, from the beginning, I have written about love in terms of absolute commitment—to the point of death. Not only does that apply between two people, but also between a person and his/her people/country/God. What began in The Judge as Daniel’s duty became his total devotion unto death in Infinity Quest, and the extent of Eve’s love for Daniel is not fully realized until The Empress of Tridon. It was a growth experience for the characters as well as for me.
When I first started writing, I did not think of my Sci-Fi trilogy as a love story. The series has a complex underpinning of man’s relation to God (as defined in the books). It also contained a parallel theme of major disasters, such as the rise of dictators prior to WWII and the take-over of United Flight 93 by terrorists. Those themes were my original focus, but I did not want them to be obvious. However, the love story grew naturally as I developed the books, especially in terms of what it means to be committed unto death. Perhaps it isn’t possible to discuss any concept of real meaning without seeing it through the eyes of individual people, their struggles and their love for each other—as well as their love and commitment to a cause.
After completing my Sci-Fi series, I wrote Aftermath Horizon. In that case, I intentionally set out to write a moving love story, something that would leave tears in the eyes of whoever picked it up. To my surprise, I again found the meaning of love and the meaning of sacrifice completely inseparable. The hero in Aftermath Horizon is Beth, a sixteen-year-old girl. She has a duty to marry, but doesn’t know who her selected mate is when she meets him. The man is not her ideal, but he is smart enough to lead her slowly to love him rather than claim her outright. The book is contemporary fiction, and takes place in a setting equivalent to the early 1800s. The novel actually develops two love stories, distant in time from one another yet related in love. In both cases, couples must face the ultimate question: will they give their individual lives for their mates and beliefs.
So, even though my Sci-Fi trilogy and my contemporary fiction works are vastly different, they both contain a demonstration of love that involves two elements: total commitment between people, and complete devotion to an external concept such as “freedom” or “love of community.”
My love stories have yet to separate personal love between people from the demands of external overarching concepts. The reason for that might be that they aren’t just love stories, but also include statements about societal concerns. At my age, the concept of “romantic love” in a vacuum just doesn’t make sense. There needs to be meat in the text somewhere, not just fluff to make the reader feel good. Don’t get me wrong. I like fluff. I just don’t like a steady diet of it.
When I tried to write a trilogy without any real love between people, the novels turned out to be paranormal comedies (or paranormal parodies). I have heard it said that a writer who doesn’t offend anyone has nothing to say, and maybe that’s the crux of it for me. Still, something has to make a story interesting. That “something” could be love, or it could be comedy.
I’ve included two blurbs below to whet your appetite and to give a little insight into my way of thinking about love and commitment … and love and comedy.
Aftermath Horizon Blurb: In a world struggling to recover from biological warfare, Cultural Anthropologists, Beth Gooding and Professor James, work to resurrect the technology of the past without the brutality of the past. They lead austere lives typical of the early 1800’s frontier, until they become explorers in Old World Syria – where they investigate further back in time than anyone ever dreamed, and discover they can move their society further forward than anyone ever imagined. David and Beth endure many brushes with death, but with each experience their love grows stronger, and they come to realize life without the other wouldn’t be living at all.
The Substitute Blurb: Miss Havana’s public persona was far from the truth because, in her capacity as substitute teacher, the small community where she lived knew her as the breathtakingly beautiful young woman who demanded every student learn, but in her private life, ostensibly caring for aging parents in Chicago, she raced through the lives of powerful men, leaving a wake of destruction…and a deep desire for revenge. Little did she realize her conflicted life would end in a chaotic death at an early age, and to eternal conflict with the devil. The surprise ending will leave the reader stunned and gasping for more.
Blurbs, reviews, excerpts and purchase links for all my novels are located at: http://cookinwithmisshavana.blogspot.com/
James L. Hatch
Author for: Solstice Publishing, xoxopublishing.com and Eternal Press
Thanks for a great, thought-provoking post, James - I often tell people who huff and roll their eyes upon my admission of being a romance writer, that if they take the time to look they will find an underlying 'love story' in every book they read or movie they watch. It's always there, so I guess love is what makes the world go round after all!