I'd never realized it until yesterday, but I've been a literary segregationist. Oh I've never had a mental partition over race, or at least, I'm not aware of one, but yesterday I realized I had one over age. Books written about high school kids are intended for that age through college age kids, right? That means they're not meant for me.
So a while back Stephanie Meyer started releasing books in her Twilight series. It's a romance series and I write romance. Lord knows, I read romance and I've surely been a reader of the genre for much longer than I've been a writer. And I heard good things about these books everywhere. But never once was I tempted to pick one up. They weren't written for me, now were they?
My eldest son read the books and he flat out loves them. Keep in mind, Zack doesn't read romance. The boy refuses to read anything I write and that's natural enough - him reading my books would make me a wee bit antsy too. But my eldest won't even read this blog. I've given him fair warning that from time to time I write about him, but still, he won't read it. Where does he get such stubbornness from?
Okay, okay, maybe Zack and his Mom have a thing or two in common.
But I wish I'd been smarter, sooner and realized that these books could be another bridge between our worlds. Because when Zack likes something, he really, really likes it. He owns hardcover editions of all the books and he takes them everywhere. They are big, bulky books and the boy won't even take Amtrak home from college unless he packs the whole series. Needless to say, he's seen both of the movies, owns the original. He packed it and brought it home with him over Christmas.
I guess Mr. Brick was too busy to bash me over the head at the time because the holiday came and went without the bonding moment that might have been. But Zack's been back in Orlando for the Spring Semester for a couple of weeks now and the "Mommy misses her baby" blues have kicked in. So, last night, when I was flipping through the guide, I saw that Showtime was premiering the Twilight movie. I decided to watch a few minutes of it before I switched to something else. That way, I could email Zack that his Mom saw a little bit of Twilight.
So I turned on the move and I soon forgot all about that few minutes. I did email Zack after about half an hour to demand that he tell me if the movie had a happy ending. My family knows very well that I won't read, write or watch a romance that doesn't have a happy ending. Life is too short to be sad. Zack emailed back and said as follows:
It does have a happy ending, don't worry- all the twilight books and movies do. Stephanie Meyer comes from the same school of romance you do. :)... (or a similar one, anyway. 🙂 )
The comment got me thinking - my boy is as smart as they come. I realized he was right. About some really big things, he was right. My work does share some similarities with that series. One of the biggest things my books have in common with Twilight is the element of fate, destiny, of lovers who are meant to love.
It's not a slow, building attraction. It's not kindling a fire until it burns hot. It's spontaneous combustion. You meet the one you were born to love and you have to overcome whatever separates you because you can't go one without them. You're no longer whole if you're alone.
That sort of force makes you overlook age differences (E-mail Enticement), being raised as siblings (Brotherly Love) or being a vampire or mortal (Twilight). That sort of bond makes you overcome past mistakes like real infidelity (A Faerie Fated Forever), a separation plot disguised as infidelity (A Golden Forever), or an engagement to another woman (A Sixth Sense Of Forever). It creates the sort of desperate yearning for a union that'll keep me reading or writing all the way to the end.
Lots of people like to read or write romances about building a relationship, building feelings slowly. I've read and enjoyed some of those books. But when I try to write one, the story refuses to come together for me. I find the blend of destiny and desire to be essential ingredients for a great romance. And yes, all of my preconceived prejudices aside, I found the Twilight story as told through the movie to be a great romance.
But invariably, movies are restricted by time and the attention span of the audience. So now, I guess I'll have to buy the book to read the full story. Thank God for my new e-reader. It means I won't have to lug around that big book. It means that if I have my purse with me (and trust me, I do), that I've got the book with me.
So Ms. Meyer, I look forward to reading and experiencing your complete story. I give you mad props for doing such a good job of character crafting that you had me yearning for Edward to take a big bite of Bella. Yeah, just like Grey's of a few years ago had me rooting for infidelity, Twilight had me cheering for the vampires.
Take destiny, add a hefty dose of desire and guarantee a happy ending. That recipe inspires me as a writer and lures me as a reader. Now Ms. Meyer has shown me that the recipe, when crafted with great writing, is timeless.