Love At First Connection and The Rest of the Story

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate romance. You’ve read my books. You know I’m not an especially romantic person. One of my writer friends once suggested that I should put more romance in my books. I said, “I’m married. What do I know about romance?” She replied, “Well, you write about murder and you’ve never killed anybody.” I laughed.

When people ask my husband how long he’s been married, he says, “All my life.” People laugh. When people ask me the secret to our lengthy relationship, I usually say, “We live in separate states.” People laugh.

See? I can write comedy and tragedy and suspense and mystery. And love. I can write about love. I write about love all the time.

Love You Note

You know that, right? Think about George and Willa Carson. Or Jenny Lane’s parents. Or even Carlos Gaspar, an invalid who keeps working through the pain because he loves his wife and four children.

But writing romance is a challenge for me. Romance is usually about two people meeting and falling for each other. It’s about the first connection. You know me. I’m all about the rest of the story. When I get to the end of a romantic tale and find the lovers live “happily ever after,” my question is always, “And then what?”

Lasting, enduring love between resilient couples who triumph over terror few will ever face or survive, requires a bond between them stronger than hardened steel. Bonds like that are forged only by force of will through life’s ups and downs. But an initial connection has to be there first. Before the extreme events begin. Otherwise, the bond will be weak and break.

Between husband and wife, that initial connection is almost always romance. Romance leads to love. And if we’re very lucky, enduring love that lasts a lifetime. Love that’s worth fighting for. My stories usually start long after the romance begins.

Such was the case when Oliver and Helen Sullivan were stalked by a terrifying serial killer in my novel, Fatal Distraction.

On the night his wife is set to announce her candidacy for the Senate, Oliver Sullivan believes he’s become a liability to his wife. He wants to step aside; he believes he’s holding Helen back.

And yet…

“He’d always been there for her, taken care of her, protected her.
They’d always been such a strong team.”

Fatal Distraction, Chapter 5

Wedding Rings

Oliver is slowly recovering from a stroke. He’s impatient with his lack of progress. He’s depressed. He’s not thinking clearly.

“He’d given up; he was ready to go.”

Giving up. A selfish decision. One that would hurt Helen much, much more than Oliver could see at the moment. (If Helen were in the room, she’d have let him have it! You know she would.)

Something prompts Oliver to remember that he’s loved Helen since he was 19 years old.

“He knew right from the beginning that Helen was the girl for him, even though she was only thirteen herself. To this day, he remembered with perfect clarity the moment he’d first seen his wife to be.”
Fatal Distraction
Chapter 5

Do you believe in love at first sight? I don’t know about that… but I believe in love at first connection. I do believe there can be a moment, very early on, or even a few years down the road of friendship, where two people realize they want to share their lives forever. That connection pulls you through some pretty dark times. Times when, if you stick it out and don’t give up, life forges a much stronger bond between you.

Many readers have told me they love reading the relationship between Oliver and Helen. Men have written to say their own wives are as strong-willed as Helen, and they’re proud of it! Women say they admire Helen’s determination to keep her life together and Oliver’s devotion.

Is Fatal Distraction a romance? To me it is. But of course, it’s got mystery and murder and even a few laughs, too. After all, what do I know about romance? I’ve been married all my life!

So have you ever had a moment of “love at first connection”? Or for you, was falling in love a gradual process? Do you know committed couples like Oliver and Helen?

Meanwhile —

Caffeinate and Carry On!

Diane Capri

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14 Responses to Love At First Connection and The Rest of the Story

  1. Lynne B Graham February 13, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    I was by myself for 13 years with my 2 girls. Met by second hubby through an online dating site. We sent emails for a couple of months and he said one day we should meet for a cup of coffee. He came to Sydney where I lived, we had our cup of coffee, which turned into lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. We met each other and that was that. He was my tall dark and handsome. He is my heart.
    So it was definitely Love At First Connection (sight). We started chatting in December, met in March and married in June and have been together for 14 years.

    • Diane Capri February 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      That’s a great story, Lynne. Thanks for sharing! And congratulations! Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  2. Lawrence February 13, 2014 at 8:51 am #

    Two comments:

    First, Diane, I thoroughly appreciate your circumspection in dealing with romance in your books. My view of published (movies, books, etc.) romance is of the level of Desi and Lucy (I love Lucy) or Tim and Jill (Home Improvement). You know romance (or love) is there, but you (meaning me, the reader/viewer) don’t have to endure the play by play action. I have read all of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, and while I really enjoy his stories, I don’t like the level of “romance” he includes (and as an aside, I don’t appreciate his English spellings for words when the characters are decidedly American and the location is in the United States).

    Second, and this was inspired by the comment by Lynn above, I remember the first day I met my wife. Not the date, but where she was, where I was in comparison, and my thoughts when I saw her. And this was in the fall of 1974! When I saw her, I thought, “She seems like she would be nice to get to know!” And I have been trying to get to know her ever since! 🙂 Oh, we got married in 1976 and we are still married…..happily. 🙂

    Anyway, thank you for your writing. 🙂

    • Diane Capri February 13, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      Congratulations, Larry (and Mrs. Larry, too!). This fall, you’ll be together 40 years. What a great milestone!!

      I appreciate your feedback on the romance issue, too. Seriously. I don’t normally hear from readers who do or don’t like the way I handle romance in my books – too little, too much, or just right. Good to know I’m hitting the sweet spot!

      Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  3. Edwin February 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Two ladies needed a ride from the medieval event we were attending to an impromptu after party. I had space and said I could take them.

    One lived close by and could make her own way home, but Cat lived quite a distance in the general direction I had to go to get home. I told her I’d make sure she got home. The house where the after party was held was the site of a get together the next Monday. Cat mentioned she’d like to go. I offered to give her a ride. The following Thursday Cat called me up and asked if I’d like to take a walk around Stanley Park. We walked and talked the entire seawall.

    Last December we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary.

    • Diane Capri February 13, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

      It always pays to be a gentleman, Edwin. Very nice! And congratulations to you and Cat! Happy Valentine’s Day to you both.

  4. Christine Rhyner February 13, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    I had recently broken up with a boyfriend that was controlling, verbally abusive and wouldn’t let me eat any desserts.

    My sister went to church and heard a guy’s testimony. He was thankful for the sobriety he had achieved years earlier and for the ways recovery had led him to Christ. So was I! So later on, some time after his testimony, she and her husband decided to set us up on a blind date. We met at a charity function with my sister and her husband in NYC. The tables were set with the most extraordinary-looking chocolate cake sitting on a plate in front of each guest’s seat. As we talked both John, my blind date, and I ate our chocolate cakes, relishing every bite. My sister, knowing about the previous boyfriend, looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and thought, hmm, could be a keeper! And indeed he was and is as we approach our sixteenth wedding anniversary next month. He is everything that first boyfriend was not, the one God truly intended for me. The lesson learned was that just because someone is a Christian does not mean they will love you with the love of Christ. You have to marry the one God has already planned for you.

    • Diane Capri February 13, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      Wow, Christine! You really did make a great trade. I can’t imagine being involved with a guy who wouldn’t let me eat desserts. Congratulations to you and John. Happy Valentine’s Day to you both!

  5. Nigel Blackwell February 14, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    Not exactly how we met, but at least how we stayed married!


    • Leslie February 14, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Love the story! And I know we’ve chatted and I read/reviewed your book but how did I not know you were in my area?! I’m in Arlington and know exactly the area you wrote about in that blog post.

      Small world! 🙂

      • Nigel Blackwell February 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

        Ha! Arlington, I would never have guessed. Glad to see your blog is doing well (and the dogs, too!)
        Small world it is


  6. Leslie February 14, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    I told our engaged encounters group that I bought my fiancé off of Yahoo! Actual story is that I had taken a break from dating and decided to give it one last go and posted an ad on Yahoo Personals (no longer around). Bill was one of the first to respond but lived nearly 3 hours away. I almost said thanks but no thanks but took a look at his picture and thought “he’s a nice looking guy maybe we could be friends”. We emailed, IM’d and talked on the phone for a month before we met in person and after that there was no looking back.

    He proposed after about 9 months of dating (but had figured it out much sooner), he moved to where I was 3 months later (thanks to a job opening) and we were married a little over a year after that. And here we are nearly 11 years later and still very happy.

    • Diane Capri February 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

      I’ve never tried any of those groups, Leslie. So glad it worked out well for you! Happy Valentine’s Day to your both!!

  7. Kim Terry February 14, 2014 at 12:26 pm #

    You can find our love stories on : Parts 1 and 2, “New Man On Board”.

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