Friday, July 3, 2015


Romance for the Modern World

I took a detour from my fantasy novels to publish a romance novel I'd written a number of years ago. As I reread and edited, I noted a number of striking character similarities with the Saga of Magiskeep and it set me to wondering.  Do all writers tend to stick with certain themes, character types, or even plots when they write?

It always leads me back to Shakespeare somehow. As an English teacher, I read and studied a lot of Shakespeare and found many themes, ideas, images and figures of speech he used over and over. One example is his exploration of appearance vs reality.  "Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it," says Lady Macbeth in one of the later, greater plays. While in Hamlet, written earlier, Hamlet remarks on his uncle's deception, "Oh, smiling damned villain. That one may smile and smile and be a villain." Or the villainous Iago, "I am not what I am," as he lies to Othello about Desdemona's fidelity.

Now, I would never dare to compare myself to the Bard, but reading my writings, I do have to see the same pattern. I have another romance novel written which I haven't reread yet, so it will be interesting to see if the trend continues.

Similarities aside, The Loving Cup is a romance mystery with horses. What struck me was how many of those horses are actually based upon real ones I have known. Most striking was my Russell R. a talented jumper with a wicked sense of humor. Russell loved to jump and gave me the most confidence riding over fences I could ever have. Astride him, I felt we could jump almost anything, and until we got in a bit over our heads at one jump on a cross country course--no one got hurt--we got over most every jump we ever tackled.

In The Loving Cup, Russell shows up in several of the horses I portray.  Some of the horse show scenes in the novel are also taken from real experiences I had in competition. In one scene, after a rider completed her jumping round, a famous professional trainer approached her to compliment the ride. For me, that was the day I finished up a hunter round and George Morris, one of the most renowned equitation trainers in the US went out of his way to tell me I had ridden a really nice round. It is a memory I cherish and sure enough, it showed up in my book.

My fantasy world is peopled with characters based on people I've known, but the world in which they live is totally invented out of my imagination. The Loving Cup was my real world.

It's a change of pace--walk, trot, canter.

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