New love vs. true love

I hope no one thinks I'm being disloyal for writing a murder mystery for NaNoWriMo08. I'm working on a romance novel in non-NaNoWriMo life, and those are my two favorite genres.

As a palliative to those of you who prefer romance over murder, let me tell you that I've included a married couple as my protagonist detecting team. The main character is Christine, a church praise team leader in her late 20s. She narrates the story. Her husband is Rob, a graphic designer by day and newborn sleuthing partner at night.

NaNoWriMo 08I love love. I love marriage. That's why I love romance novels so much. I adore the giddiness of finding true love, that first spark of interest, the rapturous wondering of "is s/he interested back?", the relief of finding out "yes!". and, of course, in novels, all the interesting barriers in between and/or after those steps.

But, having been married ten years now myself (sooo long, I know!), I will play the old wise woman and say that a committed marriage is just as fascinating, just as satisfying. It's a different emotional kick, but it appeals to me just as much. Obviously, or I wouldn't believe so strongly in marriage!

What I think is missing from most novels, movies, TV shows, and so on is portrayals of real, positive marriages. There's plenty of cat-and-mouse flirtatious bickering of an odd pairing, plenty of tingly first-kiss experiences, and, sadly, more than enough of sour and negative relationships, whether continuing or ending. Many popular sitcoms have made their married couple characters barely tolerant of each other, constantly sniping and undermining, rather than true partners on the same team.

Have you ever read Kate Wilhelm's Constance and Charlie series? There's a wonderful example for me to live up to: a middle-aged married couple who like and respect each other. The tension is in catching the murderer, not in whether or not they'll stay together. Their commitment to each other is a given.

Or look at the delightful Nick and Nora!

I like to think I'm doing my part to promote the naturalness -- the unostentatious joy -- of a good marriage, both in real life and now in fiction.

ETA: I forgot, and we're even watching them on DVD right now! There's also Hetty Wainthropp! I think my characters are a young, newlywed version of Hetty and her husband -- very grounded and very committed.

Photograph of beautiful hands courtesy of Julia Freeman-Woolpert from stock.xchng


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