Recently, I have had a lot of fun making promo videos. I don’t suppose they’re very useful for sales, but as a writer and frustrated filmmaker–and aren’t we all–I just find it soothing to look for clips and write the text and put everything together with music to tell a story.
One of the hard things when you’re using stock footage is finding the right clip, or the actor who looks like your character, or the perfect expression on someone’s face. This time, since my character Diego uses a wheelchair, it was doubly, triply hard, finding words and music and images to speak my message, partially because in order to synthesize my concept to three lines or six, I really, really needed to distill it, slap it on a slide, and look at it under a microscope.
I have written and rewritten the text of this video at least a hundred times. I tried out different ideas and knocked them down, one by one. I had schmoopy text, curt text, passionate text, text that sounded like it fell from the lips of Stuart Smalley. Pithy text. Wise text. I stole shit from ancient philosophers and paraphrased Joss Whedon. [As one does…]
In the end, what flowed turned out to be pretty much the distillation of all the things I believe about romance because here’s what I believe about love:
Love doesn’t change anyone.
Love doesn’t redeem anyone.
Love doesn’t fix anything
Imagine my face when I
–bona fide romance writer and flailing liberal bleeding heart–
wrote those words.
Face it. These thoughts are kinda weird for a romance writer. But when a reader gets a book where love fixes everything, they are right to be skeptical. They are right to ask themselves, “what makes us think that falling in love is going to fix our problems.”
Here’s something else I believe:
Unconditional love elevates everything and everyone.
Unconditional love makes us want to do better. Be better. Try harder.
Unconditional love is an Inside Job. [Paraphrased 70’s quote, BOOM!]
Nobody really needs fixing
(by someone else.)
Instead of writing a love interest who comes in on his steed to take my protagonist “away from it all,” I’ll shake up a complacent protagonist, thereby starting a process of personal growth. I like my protagonists to find their own steeds. They ride along with their love interests, not because they can’t ride alone, but because it’s more fun to go together.
At least that’s what I hope. That’s a ZAM book. When you see the ZAM Stamp of Approval, you know what you’re getting on the inside: a heaping helping of hot mess (probably) and a few people who love each other enough to laugh at the bad things as well as the good.
The above is my final cut of the promotional video for the Bluewater Bay book coming out soon, All Wheel Drive.
And here’s the blurb:
Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.
Diego is recovering too—from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.
Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.