Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Luke's #1 Rule

I like to say that Luke's #1 Rule is a mash up of "The Brady Bunch" and "Sex and the City" (if the city was a small town...) because it straddles that zone between motherhood and falling in love. There are pet rabbits and homework and snacks and there is sexual attraction and sexual tension and eventually...sex. So there are children in the house and there is sexual chemistry and how does one keep those two things in their own boxes exactly? While it seems obvious that a single mom who is dating seriously and in love will be having sex at some point, the children are also important characters in the book, so it can feel tricky. It isn't, really. It's life.

Parents don't stop having sex because they produce children, although I'm sure the kids would be okay with that and in fact assume it is the case. It's the same for a single mom; she has to be selective and careful and make sure her children are clueless about her extracurricular activities, just like any other parent would be. In my book, I use some well-timed visits with Grandma and to the boys' father and that's pretty much how it worked in life. Because I was, at one time in the distant past, an actual single mom, and I did marry again.

My real-life ex-husband was not an irresponsible addict, like Spence in the book, but just the opposite. We in fact had joint custody. How that worked when the boys were young was week-to-week. So I'd see my boyfriend on weeks the children were with their father until I was sure he was "the one" and then I gradually incorporated him into our lives as a family.

It's a bit like mixing romance and suspense. These people are in fear for their lives but they stop every so often for a passionate embrace. There are writers who work the timing out perfectly and there are writers who don't. I tried to be sensitive to the kid element, making sure the new love intersected in appropriate ways at the right times.

I wanted to write about blending families because it's a tough situation for so many people. Married couples with children will divorce and many of them will become blended families. It's not easy. I did not tell my own story, because I write fiction, not memoir, but I can say from experience that blending family comes with a whole slew of problems. I thought by adding some of issues I didn't personally experience, like alcoholism, drug addiction, job complications, and family relocation, I could shed some light on a romantic problem that isn't often addressed, the problem of a single mom getting another shot at true love.

Why is this a problem? I didn't know it was until I had been remarried for a few years. One day out of the blue, my husband said "You know, I had one rule when I was dating. No single moms." I laughed, because that's exactly what I had been when we married. It took me a while, but finally asked if he'd mind if I used that premise for a novel. I swore I wouldn't tell OUR story. It would be totally different. And it is. Well, except for Dumpster the Amazing Rabbit. He was real.

To learn more on Cynthia's Books
click here

No comments: