For those of you who may not know, my first novel, Penance, will be published on December 21. What started as a simple, “What if there was a story about this?” Has turned into one of the most difficult things ever for me to delve into.
I have read many romance, new adult, young adult, and erotica novels. You name it, I have probably read it or something like it. Like most women I am a sucker for a love story. (Just as long as it is not a romantic comedy with the expected scenario. Hate them!) I don’t like to read or watch the expected. I like surprise. I like to be smacked in the face with something I didn’t see coming. I like to cry. I like to feel something from what I read or watch. Even if it is completely uncomfortable or awkward as long as it taps into human emotion and life, I want that.
I also love stories where people who you didn’t like at the beginning shock the shit out of you, because you are shown they’re human too. Each of us have good qualities and bad qualities. There is not one person that has every single quality that another person absolutely loves. As humans, we will annoy each other at some point. We will be bothered by nuances. We will be assholes to one another. I want stories with people who fuck up sometimes. Can you see why I hate fairy tales and romantic comedies? I hate them because they give false expectations. I want reality. I want real love and this is what Penance was born from.
Penance is the story of two people who are haunted by their pasts. One was a victim. One was the culprit who ruined another person’s life. Both hold tightly to their demons, bottling them up and not wanting to show vulnerability to others. On their journey together they learn that everything that happens in our lives is skewed by our own perception and sometimes things aren’t always as they seem. The only thing we can control is how we react after things happen to us or after we mess up. There is always a step further we can take to learn the truth about ourselves and others. Our pasts cannot dictate our present. We can claim every moment and move forward as we are meant to, without letting them continue to control us. We can also learn the freedom found in forgiving others and forgiving ourselves.
That said, the pasts of these two individuals and how they react to them might be difficult for some people to read. Not everyone likes reading stories that make them uncomfortable. I don’t hold back in this story. There are some instances that delve into the darker side of life here on earth. It was honestly heart wrenching to write some of it. But, in the end just as it was a growing experience for my characters it was for me too.
My only hope with this book is that people will at least walk away from it feeling something. I want to elicit some kind of reaction. So far, my betas have said, it made them uncomfortable at times and it was intense. The characters were stuck in their heads and it was a really sweet story with characters they could be friends with. Someone even dreamed about them. I will totally take that.