I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all gotten that age-old question: “Why do you read romance? It’s all the same, isn’t it? Boy meets girl, blah, blah, blah …” (Okay, so maybe the question hasn’t been phrased exactly like that, but you get the picture.
My usual answer is that I love knowing that no matter what two people have gone through during the course of a story (whether it be a book, movie, or otherwise), that they’re assured of getting their happily ever after at the end. That’s the promise of a romance novel, after all. But the other day, as I was driving to a booksigning with a very good friend, we got to chatting and I found myself answering the question in a slightly different way: I read romances because I want to believe that there’s an inherent fairness to life. I want to be able to trust that good things will happen to good people (and vice versa), and that if two flawed-yet-basically-good people endure seemingly unendurable trials, that they’ll be rewarded at the end with unimaginable good fortune.
That’s not a romance, you might be saying, that’s a fairy tale! And it’s unfortunately true that in real life, it’s not absolute that the bad guys always get theirs in the end and the good guys always pair off, kiss, and ride into the sunset. But that’s where we circle back to the answer: That’s why I read (and write) romance!
The Keepers series (Nightkeepers, Dawnkeepers and my newest release, Skykeepers) is about a group of modern men and women who learn they must band together, find their destined mates, and learn to use their mage-powers in order to fight the rise of terrible Mayan demons intent on ravaging the earth on December 21, 2012 (the end-time foretold by the Mayan calendar).
From the back cover:
In Skykeepers, Michael Stone is a man with a dark secret that has skewed his magical abilities dangerously toward the underworld. Seeking redemption, he sets out on a perilous mission to save the daughter of Ambrose Ledbetter, a renowned Mayanist who died before he could reveal the location of a hidden library. The Nightkeepers must find the library before their enemies gain access to its valuable cache of spells and prophecies.
Sasha Ledbetter grew up hearing heroic tales of an ancient group of powerful magi who were destined to save the world from destruction. She never expected that her bedtime stories would come to life in the form of Nightkeeper Michael Stone, or that she’d hold the key to the warrior’s survival. As Sasha and Michael join forces to prevent the imminent battle, sparks of attraction ignite between them, and they’re forced to confront the unexpected passion that brings them together … and also tears them apart.
The magi (like the Maya before them) believe in the doctrine of balance, which roughly translates to “good and evil must, over the long run, equalize.” And in a very real sense, the hero and heroine (Michael and Sasha) balance each other out, with her being called on to level off the darkness in his dark, tortured soul. But at the same time they’re caught up in the larger events of the unfolding end-time war, and the interlocking prophecies governing the last three and a half years before the zero date of December 21, 2012.
Which brings me to the small, silly part of this post, which is to remind myself (and perhaps you) that although life isn’t fair in the larger sense, we can find everyday fairness if we look hard enough. My favorite recent experience along those lines? Sitting stuck in traffic while three cars whip by, doing forty or so in the breakdown lane … and then when traffic started moving once again, seeing those same cars pulled over on the shoulder while a ticked-off looking officer wrote up tickets.
So to close, I’d like to offer a link to a short excerpt of Skykeepers, in which Michael does the right thing, even though all along he thinks he’s the wrong man to do it … which is part of what makes him a hero! Excerpt: http://www.jessicaandersen.com/extras/skykeepers-exerpt/