Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Always Have and Always Will by Stella McLeod

Some people say authors are born not made, I think authors are just people who decide they want to write. The only problem is that once you begin there comes a time when you don’t want to do anything else.  I decided I wanted to write when I was a teenager. I was abysmal at Maths, Physics and Chemistry but I was good at English so I entered competitions and started winning awards. And that old adage about positive reinforcement strengthening behaviour? It’s true. But what I didn’t know and wasn’t to learn until I became a Clinical Psychologist was that intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful force in determining human behaviour.

Like the majority of writers I’ve managed to keep writing and getting published, spasmodically but consistently, while being a mother and working in a full time occupation but a few years ago I decided to retire early from private full time practice as a Psychologist and that writing was going to be my full time, instead of part-time career. It wasn’t so much a leap of faith, rather than just reaching a crossroad and deciding which path gave me more joy, more fulfilment and the fact that all the clues were all there, like signposts, showing me which way to go. Most of my friends were writers, I spent all my free time either writing, thinking about writing or reading other writers.

Over the years I’d written Medico-legal reports for the courts, professional journal articles and conference papers for Psychologists, scripts for pre-school TV shows, YA and teenage fiction books, a series of technical cookbooks for The Culinary Library and novel length romances. When I committed to writing full time I knew, both consciously and subconsciously, it was the Romance novels I wanted to focus on. One of the things I’d learned as a Psychologist was that, although every one’s stories and pain seem different there are common universal threads of humanity and we are more similar than we know.  For most people it is the complexities of human relationships that they seek to unravel, understand and master. We may all start off on different roads but they are all heading in the same direction, hoping for the same destination.

Romance writing is the genre that, to me, best explores the many facets of human relationship, but in the end it is the ONLY genre that absolutely delivers what most people are ultimately looking for throughout all stages of their life from childhood to death, acceptance, love and a place of peace and acceptance where they feel good about themselves and the world. (or as my heroine in Always Have and Always Will says, she just wants to feel beloved on the earth.)

I could easily and legitimately draw an analogy between Psychological Therapy and Reading Romance books. They both involve a stepping away from and temporary suspension of the everyday world, trust and faith that the therapist or author can deliver what they advertise and promise and the goal of a happy ending that makes the participant feel better about themselves, more in control and more optimistic about the world. The difference is romance readers don’t need and aren't looking to be told anything because they’re not looking for therapy in that sense. What they are looking for, I believe, is entertainment, to be shown a different world from theirs, an interesting and exciting one peopled with strangers, characters that they can quickly learn to love (or hate) and care about and ones they hope and know are going to find happiness if they can only stay strong and courageous. 
Romance novels are a temporary escape from the pressures of everyday life and responsibility, they immerse the thoughts and emotions of the reader, literally, into a different world, with lives and problems that are entertaining and interesting, and a story that guarantees those problems will ABSOLUTELY all be sorted by the last page, or in my case the last word if necessary. (Never read the last pages of a book first, your subconscious wants a chance to work it out for you!)
So why paranormal?  Always Have and Always Will is not about vampires, shape-shifter, werewolves or some of the other traditional paranormal species or human aberrations, it’s a paranormal in the sense that it introduces and normalizes the concepts of Immortality, reincarnation, life after death and mind control. These concepts are not so unfamiliar that we can’t believe in them and empathize with the characters and an added bonus is the beautiful and exotic setting they allow for the action to unfold.  Most paranormal characters require dark, gloomy and edgy setting to get about their bloody business. Ancient Immortals living today are more likely to be found in the Greek Islands, Egypt, Rome and Italy, Babylon and the lands mentioned in the Bible.

The added plot benefit with Immortality is the complications it allows for relationships and love. Immortality is shit if all the people you love are dead or if you keep making the same mistakes for centuries or if your love is unrequited, betrayed or abused. And lets face it, it doesn’t matter how many decades, centuries or millennium you live there are times in your life when you are going to want to feel beloved on this earth.

So if you like a face-paced action, exotic settings and complex flawed characters with rich inner psychological lives who are searching for, and trying to understand, love, then you’ll love Always Have and Always Will. It’s characters and plot deliver on every promise with humor, vulnerability, strength and a plot twist you won’t see coming but will love.
The message ?  Never give up on love
Why is it called the Omega Series?  Because it’s about time the heroine told the story and whilst we all love strong and delicious alphas, Romance Writers, I believe, are the most supportive and inclusive group of Omegas in the world. (and that included the male authors as well.) We all know the Greek alphabet begins with Alpha but did you know it ends with Omega? The Omega symbol in classical Greece was associated with Birth and Creation, symbolized the female and celebrated her ability to nurture a child thereby achieving immortality for both herself and her mate. Although manwas symbolized by the first letter of the Greek alphabet, Alpha, it was the Omega symbol that was considered the most auspicious and most blessed by the Gods.  Yaaaay!!!

Follow Stella McLeod on Facebook and Pinterest and watch for the next books in the Omega Series:
 Always, Only and Forever and  Love me, One Last Time

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