I don't know about other authors, but all my characters are molded out of real people I know and reflect the times I'm living through. I write to cope. I write to give myself hope in dark times. I write so that other may see and know some of the amazing people, not always perfect, I've known and had in my life.
For most of my life I've watched my sister struggle with bi-polar illness. In the old days, she would have been called high spirited or eccentric. Now they call people with her issue, crazy, nuts, ill. In the old days they would have marveled at her charm and brilliant extremes. Today, people are more likely to shy away from her difference. It has been a heartbreaking and heartwarming journey to watch and my sister got her own HEA by marrying an older man "Having been blessed with infinite patience". Sensing a theme from my series perhaps. I've found with the bi-polar people I've known, that for all their surface extremes they have an amazing gentleness of heart, an enviable capacity to love, a fragility, and an absolute vulnerability in this world that makes them impossible not to love them in spite of the often times exasperating moments.
When I sat down to write, another person close to me who I love dearly was starting to unravel and show me all the symptoms of my sister. I didn't know she had the issue until over a year after the series was finished, but I guess on that mysterious subconscious level I knew. And I put little reminders all through my writing to remind me that all would be well and bi-polar illness did not preclude a happily ever after. I needed forever to create a fictional happily ever for this young girl I loved so much to give me hope all would be well.
I think what I was feeling and experiencing at this time can be summed up best by this quote from When the Perfect Comes: "In the secret chambers of Rhea’s heart, she was pleased that Merry was as she was, regardless of the difficulties it created for all of them. She was a whirlwind of joyful movement, temper flashes, laughing storms, and a constant source of bliss at Bramble Hill. To Rhea’s pride, to her joy, to her exasperation: she was Merry."
And what I have always experienced and believed about suffer bi-polar illness from this quote from Face to Face:"Laughter and temper were her two shields to protect the fragile woman within. Her center would not have survived this world without protection."
For me writing this series was a way to cope, remind myself of a few things and to hold onto hope. For the reader, it is just a story with a happily ever after. A spirited young girl and a dashing older man of "infinite patience." But last week someone saw what I did not see myself until after I finished writing the stories. She went on a journey with Merry and loved her. And for me it is in part knowing "all will be well." So yes, when I saw that review, I smiled.
As ever, I wish you Peace.