Guest blogger: Donna Maree Hanson
Sometimes our happy ever after takes a little while to arrive. As a mature woman, I’ve seen a few things in my time, been a single mother for more than ten years with all the hardship and issues that go with that. I’ve had relationships fail too. But I’m a lover of romance at heart, even though I write some pretty dark stuff in other genres.
Sometimes reaching out to someone you’re attracted to is one of the most difficult things to do. It could be my age bracket, but asking my Matthew out on a date nearly gave me a heart attack. I swear to God, I lay on my bed with heart palpitations for half an hour. You will think me a bit of a coward, but I actually texted him an invite to dinner.
It was an amazing connection that I made and followed through on despite the fact that in my mind men usually asked women out. Old fashioned… I know. Also Matthew was younger than me and to my mind that was somewhat of an impediment. Me=cougar?
It turns out that asking Matthew out on a date was one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life. I have no regrets! We have been happy together for more than six years now. I’m not sure whether being the chooser made the difference for me. I know that I spent a long time thinking about it, what I wanted in my life, what was important to me and whether Matthew was compatible with those things. Funnily enough, he is also a writer and likes many of the things that I do, such as action movies and science fiction and other geeky things. I’d known him for a long time through my writer group too, which also helped in the getting to know him stakes.
My relationship with Matthew has shown me aspects of romance that I never really understood before—the friendship and companionship and the joy in liking each other. It’s the connection we have that makes everything else easier to deal with. He has certainly inspired many of my romantic scenes and let me understand what a normal relationship should or could be like. This was something that I wasn’t prepared for but that I wholeheartedly accept. (Here I was thinking I knew it all—but I come from a dysfunctional background so what did I really know?) Until I experienced it myself I really didn’t understand what I had been missing. We are friends and we like spending time with each other. I’m not saying this is a template for others, but it works for me. I also think he’s easy on the eye.
So when I write romance, I’m writing from a sense of belief in love and happy ever after. The elements of fantasy are derived from the world building and the tropes of the particular genre I’m using, be it witches using magic or people travelling in a space ship. The important thing to me is that these are real people with genuine feelings and relationships in my stories. (Real in my mind!) I also like to have my characters have strong relationships with other characters, such as mothers, sisters and friends, as well as a connection to the hero. This seems natural to me, as we don’t live in isolation from others generally. One’s friends and family can add some interesting spice into relationships too. For me, connecting with others is what makes life worthwhile. Writing allows me to connect with a much broader spectrum of people. Waves!
Donna Maree Hanson writes across a number of genres. Under her real name, she writes dark fantasy and light SF romance, with Rayessa and the Space Pirates. Under her pen name, Dani Kristoff, she writes paranormal romance with two series under way. One featuring witches in Sydney and the other a sorcerer and werewolf in Canberra.
In Rayessa and the Space Pirates, Rae made a startling discovery about her past. Now her twin sister Essa has her own adventures to pursue.
Essa Gayens is starting to accept her sister Rae into her life, sharing a dorm room in their swanky private school on Earth. Smarter, savvier and more in touch with the world than Rae, Essa’s feelings of superiority and advantage are shaken when their mother goes missing, along with Rae’s boyfriend, Alwin.
When Rae takes off after them into outer space, Essa is spurred into action. Very soon, Essa is hot on her trail, sneaking out of school, bribing officials and begging Captain Thorn Hanover to take her on his ship.
Thorn is a hunk, and Essa is thrilled with the prospect of an interesting trip, but Thorn has no interest in a spoiled rich girl. Not only does he reject her advances, he sets her up on the chore roster and expects her to work for her passage.
Essa has never been anything but a pampered princess, but both Rae and Thorn are challenging her to dig deeper, to be more. But to aspire is to risk failure, and Essa has never really risked anything before. Can she start with her heart?