Like many of us, I hit the ground running on Monday morning and don’t come up for air until Friday night. My days are a blur of work, chauffeuring, homework supervision, pet care, errands, cooking and laundry. (Mountains and mountains of laundry.) Usually my weekends are just as busy, too, what with birthday parties and family obligations and all those chores that never get done during the week.
I write in the evenings, once my kids are asleep, and often in the mornings, too, if I can haul myself out of bed early enough. Practically speaking, this often means I spend less time with my husband than any other member of the family, the dog and cat included.
So where does romance fit in? And how can a romance writer like myself find inspiration amid the craziness of everyday life? It took me a while to figure out the answer, mainly because it was so different from the larger-than-life scenarios that figure in my favorite books.
My husband has never rescued me from a burning building, a sinking ship or a blood-starved vampire. He has never nursed me back to health after I was struck down by cholera or consumption or childbed fever. Nor has he fought in hand-to-hand combat to defend my honor, although in all fairness he has studied martial arts for many years and I’m certain he could do so if necessary.
We’ve been married for ten years, and he’s never surprised me with flowers or jewelry, has never written me a poem, and has never whisked me off to Paris for the weekend. Ahem.
When I was felled by the worst cold ever while working on the final round of edits for Improper Relations, he brought me mugs of tea and rubbed my back and took care of everything so I wouldn’t worry.
He encouraged me every step of the way when I decided I wanted to focus on writing, and he never stopped believing I would be successful one day, despite abundant proof (in the form of rejection letters) to the contrary.
When I told him that Angela James at Carina Press had phoned to say “yes” to Improper Relations, he was so overcome he could only say, “I’m so proud of you.”
And when our daughter was born, five years ago this spring, he waited until the baby was settled and the delivery room had quieted down and then he took my hands in his, kissed me, and looked me in the eye without saying a word. In that moment—the most romantic moment of my entire life—I knew without a doubt that he loved me, was proud of me, and would cherish me and our children forever.
It’s because of these moments (and countless others that I don’t dare mention because the poor man would likely curl up and expire of embarrassment) that I believe in romance. It may sound corny, but it’s true.
In this I know I’m not alone. We’re all searching for romance in our lives. Sometimes we find it in the pages of a book. Sometimes we find it in the quiet moments of our own lives.
And sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we get to write about it.
An editor by profession but an historian by inclination, Juliana Ross lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children. In her spare time she cooks for family and friends, makes slow inroads into her weed patch of a garden, and reads romance novels (the steamier the better) on her eReader.