I get asked a lot about what inspired Damaged Goods. Each time I’m asked this question, this quote ricochets around in my mind:
Before I sat down and penned my first novel, I thought about what I wanted to put out into the world. I thought about the voice I wanted to have. I wanted to write accurate, true portrayals of the heart. Our hearts experience different types of love throughout our lifetime, and yes — there is typically one great love, but sometimes…there are more. Sometimes, there are several predominant relationships, several memorable times we fall.
There is an element to letting someone in that I find truly breathtaking and beautiful. The art of falling is a wondrous sight to be held, but sometimes…it doesn’t work out. Sometimes, people are too broken. Sometimes, they just don’t work out together in the long run.
And sometimes they do, only it takes a while to get there. It takes them falling apart to fall together again.
Whose to say the first time you fell in love with a boy wasn’t true love? It was the first time your heart truly opened to another, the first time you danced with lust. It was the first time you thought about a future with someone, the first time you tried to connect your soul to another. Even if it didn’t work out in the long run, it taught you a thousand important lessons that you grew from. You learned what you wanted from a partner, or how to love someone better, or how to hold back and exercise caution. But it was real, because you felt it and it left you bleeding and changed. They don’t call it your first love for nothing.
I have had a lot of loves in my life — certainly, none of them truly match the love I have for my husband. That’s a different love, that’s the love I searched for all those years before. It’s the kind of love that my soul and my heart knew I want, but I am able to love him the way I am because of my experiences. I am who I am because of those who I have loved before — and he is who he is because of those he loved before.
I wanted to write stories that weren’t always easy because life isn’t always easy. That doesn’t mean my characters don’t eventually get their happily ever afters, it’s just not when it’s expected, when it’s dictated by the norm of romance novels. They get their happily ever afters when it makes sense for them. Sometimes, that happens instantly, like in my upcoming new series the Rebel Series. But those characters have different paths, they are in different places than the characters in Damaged Goods. To me, romance is romance — no matter what the outcome. Falling for someone, falling in love — that’s the journey. The destination and the outcome varies from person to person.
I know that some people like to read to escape the harshness of reality, and for them — happily ever afters immediately are almost required. But there is a beauty to reading a passionate novel about a great love that may not have that secure ending that they need. Their story is still just as beautiful, just as worthy as the other loves. It just hits you harder because it’s more real. It’s raw. It’s without a pretty bow to tie everything together. It’s beautiful and tragic.
I wrote Damaged Goods because all love matters, and love leaves it’s mark upon your heart long after it’s over.