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200702_omag_heart_220x312Off-and-on relationships are confusing.

When you break it off when someone, that should be it. Why keep hurting each other? If you go back, it won’t fix anything.

You should move on. You should let your feelings die. You should close the book.

Or write one.

And include every person you ever had a crush on, dated or kissed. And ten months later, you’ll be on your fourth edit.

Ten months ago today, I started my first romance novel, Off the Record. It combines all my grade-school crushes, serious relationships, and out-of-the-blue kisses.

It’s about the people who stomped on my heart, as well as me reciprocating. It’s about my seventh grade, innocent, how-can-you-do-this-to-me heart. And my twelfth grade, angry, I-am-so-over-you-but-I-will-never-stop-loving-you heart.

The men in my novel aren’t screamingly obvious. I doubt when it’s published “Mitch” will read, “Mitch liked oranges.” Because, one, I never dated a Mitch, and two, I’m subtle in Off the Record.

Men are driven over. They’re laid on murder shines. The smell of their cologne. Their breath. The style and colour of their jackets. It’s the details, so small, even a major player in my life might miss it – and yes, that was a clue.

Which brings me to my main male character, Adam. While he’s primarily a composite. A mash-up of two people. Okay, and a politician’s hair. What is it about Justin Trudeau’s thick, brown, wavy hair? Ahem. Anyway, half of Adam is based on a long-term on-again, off-again ex-boyfriend from junior and high school. We’d argue, breakup, make up – repeat. One summer we didn’t talk – at all.

I’m Canadian, and the two of us were dubbed Caitlin and Joey from the television program Degrassi High. Despite all the screaming matches and make out sessions, and long walks on the … wait, that wasn’t us. Anyway, we broke up, much like Adam and Emma. On a graduation night.

The scenes in Off the Record, for the most, part are fictional. Some did happen – and they opened wounds I thought healed. And I needed tissue. Lots of tissue.

One night I was so bitter towards Adam, I almost wrote him out. But then I remembered, I spent ten months with him.

And in retrospect, the real Adam and I never lasted more than six months at a time.

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