This week I’ll be talking about themes in my novels With Good Behavior and Bad Behavior. Today I discuss healing and Wednesday I’ll be at Coffee Time Romance covering redemption.
To me, it’s quite interesting to write characters that start off damaged and broken. I enjoy torturing them further throughout the novel (*shrugs* I’m sick that way), but the end goal is always the same: healing.
Grant Madsen is a survivor of child abuse, and has the low self-worth to prove it. His conviction for aggravated robbery and subsequent prison sentence only serve to reduce his abysmally low self-esteem. Released on parole, he’s now supposed to find the confidence to rebuild his life. Good luck with that!
Sophie Taylor had a more stable childhood but is now dealing with broken family bonds due to her mother’s death and her father’s estrangement. She’s fiercely independent after putting herself through ten years of school to become a psychologist, yet she yearns for connection, especially with men. She continues to date bad boys in an effort to get back at her father. Her most recent dalliance with a bad boy landed her in prison, and now she too must battle to get back on her feet.
How do we heal from the past? There are books and books of psychological theories addressing this question, and my favorite is the interpersonal approach developed by Harry Stack Sullivan. We learn how to relate to ourselves and others through repetitive family interactions, and we heal from dysfunctional patterns by learning new ways of relating as adults. In other words, relational healing is the key.
It may sound corny, but I’m a big believer in the power of love to heal. It’s not Sophie’s background as a psychologist that helps Grant slowly develop more confidence in himself. It’s her implicit acceptance of him, her ability to filter through the damage to see the good in him, her openness to receive his love despite being burned so recently. And Grant’s love helps Sophie heal too. Ironically she has to fall in love with an ex-con on parole in order to find the good man she truly seeks.
Two wonderful novels were my inspiration for characters healing each other through their love: The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy and The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. Both stories feature broken characters striving for wholeness, assisted by their faith in each other. The journey is rocky but beautiful.
Another inspiration is the lovely song “Heal Over” by KT Tunstall.
Please stop by Coffee Time Romance on Wednesday to read my thoughts on redemption. Those who leave a comment can enter a giveaway for an ebook from The Conduct Series!
It’s a rainy Monday, ugh. Time to brighten things with the Meet an Author Monday Blog Hop, today hosted by Nicki Elson!