Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nurturing Ourselves and Our Characters

Today on my author blog (Eden's Blog) I wrote about keeping my head above water, with the fast paced demands of writing full time and raising a family. So I figured a nice companion blog would address how we nurture ourselves when life gets crazy, and how authors nurture their characters.

As for me, I rely on daily yoga, herb tea, my gardens, and a good book at the end of my day. On particularly rough days, a nap works wonders. Chocolate helps. And of course there’s what my family refers to as “poodle therapy,” which consists of a small, scruffy dog curled up on my lap, giving me puppy-breath kisses. Staring at the full moon is guaranteed to calm me. Ditto for looking out over a lake, or listening to music. A sizzling erotic romance will take my mind off my problems for a while--sex too, for that matter.

For my characters, nurturing can be a bit more complicated, because as an author, I put them through more hell than I’ll ever go through. So those quiet moments are even more important, both for the characters, so they don’t give up hope, and for the readers, so my books don’t become too dark.

In the manuscript I just completed, Broken Pentacle, the sequel to my current release, Nature’s Pentacle, Sky and Alec have suffered more than any heroine and hero I’ve created to date. So the tender moments are even more important to them, since healing is a crucial part of the story.

Sometimes I offer my characters a tranquil moment, such as tender sex in a pond at sunrise. Or a sensual experience--a hot tub, or a gourmet meal in an abandoned tree fort. And since I write ménages, they get more than their share of affection and support, with multiple partners to soothe their hurts and quiet their fears. Touching is important for my characters. So is holding. Here’s a mini-excerpt from a tender moment between Sky and Alec in Broken Pentacle:

When she eased off of him, he wanted her back, but before he could complain she sat up and pulled his wrists until he eased his tired body upright, facing her. That accomplished, she wrapped her arms around his back. Answering her unspoken request, he embraced her and pulled her against his chest, her head nestled close and her hair splayed out in a black cloud across his lap. Together they rocked back and forth, each giving and receiving comfort in equal amounts.

Alone, it’s sweet. But it’s the context of the story, with the hell Sky and Alec have gone through, that adds the real emotional punch. That, and knowing they’ll have to face many more challenges before the end of the book.

So, what do you do to take care of yourself when life gets wild? And what are some of your favorite tender or soothing scenes from fiction or movies?



KyAnn said...

My salvation comes during "alone time". I love family, friends, my kids, hubby, the mutts, and all the other distractions that make my life...mine. But the thing I find I cherish most because I get so little of it is alone time. My husband tries to take our boys to the movie and out to lunch on the weekend. I cherish those few hours. No TV, no Wii, no phone, nothing. Silence where I can write, read, basically hear myself think. but it is in those hours that I find the patience and refocus on the pleasures of the tedious and sometimes crazy other parts of my life.

And when I can't get alone time...
I also love lattes from the starbucks across the street. and Chai Tea yum.


Eden Rivers said...

Ah yes, the absolute bliss of complete silence! Even better if the alone time comes during a rare moment when I'm relaxing, rather than writing :-)