Many authors have a pre-determined theme when they begin writing a book. I don’t even think about it (English teachers gasp here). There’s a story that needs told, and I’m not one of those people working to embed deep thoughts in my work. My aim is to create an experience for my reader that will allow her to escape the crazy of her life for a little while. Fighting for Fall, book two of the Seasons of Love series came out last week, and in the afterglow, I’ve been thinking about the story. Which lead to pondering my other books thus far. And you know what, I had a theme after all. They’re more than love stories. They’re about belonging.
Humans are social creatures, with an ingrained need for belonging. After the tragedy in Las Vegas, my mom sent me a very interesting article about how many men are deeply lonely. Loneliness and the lack of feeling like they truly belong to a group can lead to some pretty dark places.
I realized that in each of my books, my characters are often missing something or someone in their life, and this stands out a lot in Fighting for Fall. I took an imaginary NFL team, something I believed to be narcissistic and somewhat ridiculous and discovered a tight knit family. One of my favorite things about being a writer is the research. I did a lot of reading about NFL wives and girlfriends expecting them all to be like the ladies that make sensational headlines. And guess what I found? A large number of smart, savvy, fiercely loving women doing their best to create strong family units in an unconventional atmosphere. I also found men who love them faithfully. A group of people who belong together, love each other, protect each other, and scoot over at the dinner table to make space when someone new comes into the fold.
Are we making an effort to reach out to the lonely? Is there room at our dinner tables for another plate? I’m not going to make an impassioned speech here. In fact, I’m going to stop right here and encourage you to sit with these thoughts. And if you find yourself feeling lonely, I encourage you to reach out and look for opportunities to engage. I know to many that sounds terrifying, but what if it’s the lifeline you’ve been needing?