It’s been a hard year. True friendship is important–as important as family or a marriage–and it isn’t something I share lightly. Losing my best friend this year left its mark on me and I imagine Maggie’s loss is something I’ll reflect on for the rest of my life, like I do with my father’s death or my house burning down. Huge events like these have a tendency to stay with us as tattoos on the soul.

It was with that in mind that I wrote my latest book, Hope for Nolan O’Donoghue, about two people who’ve lost so much and find reason to hope again. One of the keenest pleasures of writing this book was that I didn’t write it alone. Sarah Christian is a historical romance author, writing clean westerns and these cute little gazettes about historical folk arts. She’s also my favorite collaborator. Usually authors are relatively solitary in their work, spreading out like carpenter bees and burrowing in to their own private nests. Convention going is a little more common among authors than carpenter bees (though biologists do describe them as “gregarious”!), but for the most part writing is lonely business. And while I enjoy my solitude and being alone in my thoughts quite a bit, that isn’t always the healthiest thing when you’re grieving.

Having someone to work with was just what I needed right now. Instead of being lost in my fear and survivor’s guilt, I had someone there cheerfully pushing me along. It was like a little fandom of two, as we plotted floor plans for Nolan and his brother’s houses, discussed what sort of art Tomás makes, fancast Ben as Idris Elba and agreed we were very much looking forward to his book for that mental image alone. Sarah brought the joy back to writing for me and I’m deeply grateful.

It’s probably no coincidence that this series follows similar themes. Grief and past hurts haunt all the characters, but the support of loved ones–both romantic and platonic–help them carry on. Romance novels can be accused of being unrealistic fantasies in many ways, but in this one? I found it remarkably accurate.

Thanks, Sarah. ♥ (And for everyone who isn’t Sarah: go check out our book!)


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