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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's Talk Romance, Guest Post by Linn B. Halton

Today I am turning over my blog to a fellow writer from the UK to get her taking on writing romance from a different angle. 

When you are a romantic, romance is everywhere…

When I’m asked what type of books I write, my answer is ‘romance’. However it’s one little word that covers a very wide genre. Some romantic novels fall nicely into sub categories – historical, suspense, series, fantasy … and then there’s ghost/paranormal. But that’s not a subset into which I immediately put myself and many will find that strange.

I have written five books - four novels and one true story/diary. Four of those include psychic elements to a greater, or lesser, degree. From a cameo of a woman who wanders The Restaurant @ The Mill, to my latest novel, Never Alone, which is based around a young woman whose experiences begin to change her life.

For me, romance is everywhere and is the common thread that unites most people in their daily lives. The pursuit of love, the heartache if it fails and moving on with hope. So first and foremost I will always write about people, relationships and love.

So why the psychic involvement when I’m not out to write ‘ghost’ stories in the traditional sense of the word? I suppose the truth of the matter is that age-old advice ‘write what you know’. If I’ve experienced something then I feel I can do it justice in a story and I would struggle to invent spooky elements. The only liberty I’ve taken so far, is to roll two separate incidents into one, in order to take the story where I wanted it to go. Both really happened, but at separate times.

Yes, I have had a few experiences that were not very pleasant and to be frank when that has happened I’m the first one out of the door. But I have had many, many wonderful and uplifting experiences too. Things that connected with me on such a very real and personal level, that it has in recent years totally changed the way I look at life and the afterlife. I mean radically and it’s changed the views of my husband too, after experiences he had in one old house in which we lived. Suddenly two skeptical people had to admit that when you ‘share’ an experience or two, it’s not imagination!

In writing the true story/diary of many of the things that have happened to me, what struck me was the way people connected with it. It isn’t a collection of ghost stories as such, just a series of unusual things happening across a wide span of time in different situations. Readers began contacting me to tell me about their own incidents. What was wonderful was that many were sharing it for the first time, in confidence with a total stranger. For some, reading my very simple story gave them a sense that they weren’t alone and also, I was told, a sense of comfort in knowing that. People are scared to believe and I could empathize with that. It has been a wonderfully uplifting thing for me.

With Never Alone and Touched By The Light (my debut novel) I tried to make the reader think, to take them outside of their comfort zone a little, albeit in two very different ways. Truth is often stranger than fiction and it seems Never Alone is making hairs stand up on backs of necks as people read it. I have to say that the rather scary moments in the book, were terrifying in real life. But it’s full of tender and touching experiences too, and frequently I’m shown that I’m not alone. My loved ones are with me every step of the way.

So, yes I write romance, but I also write about life, relationships and love. To me, a part of that includes acknowledging the help we receive from the other side as we go about our daily lives. The things that happen that we choose to ignore, or try to explain away. Yes, we must always seek to rule out the obvious, and even the less obvious, but sometimes there are no explanations. I’ve never sought to turn people who don’t believe into believers, it doesn’t work that way. But what I do hope writing about psychic episodes might bring, is comfort to others who have had similar things happen. People who perhaps puzzle over it and find themselves wanting to believe as the evidence mounts, but can’t. Usually it’s just one person experiencing each episode and it’s human nature to doubt something that is unexplainable. Or, as I did, file it away in the back of my mind because I couldn’t face up to the reality of what it implied. Now I’m no longer a skeptic, although I still view anything that happens sceptically at first, so many things have slotted into place. With it has come an unbelievable sense of peace and happiness.

So, yes I write romance but often there will be just a little twist to make you think….