Friday, October 5, 2012

Complicated love: The Doctor and the War Widow by Viola Russell

I began writing THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW while simultaneously working on a very urban mystery. Initially, I thought THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW would be a sweet diversion from the dark world I was creating as I wrote the mystery. The more I wrote, however, I realized that love is complex. So often there is no "sweet" romance.

What began as a light romance evolved into something much more complex. Abisi and Harley are mature lovers who meet through internet dating. They are both lonely people who have suffered multiple losses and have to look past their previous wounds before they can love again. My older lovers are victims of their pasts but also must overcome their fear of experiencing hurt anew. For Harley, the wounds are deep. Since her husband died ten years ago in Iraq, she has  studiously avoided romance, and her mother's recent death has left her even more alone. She has friends who love her, but the hole in her heart can't be filled.

Abisi, too, is recovering from the death of his wife and the even more tragic death of his beloved son in war. His future with Harley is also endangered by an indiscreet romance he'd had with an unstable woman who threatens him and Harley. The unstable girlfriend plays a vital but tragic part in the couple's courtship and in the early days of their marriage.

For many of us finding love in later years, we often hang onto the baggage threatening to drag us down. My protagonists' love story reflects the doubts and fears many "mature" lovers face. We have pasts that cannot be erased, memories that still haunt us. Loving again means stepping out of the comfort zone, and leaving that safe sphere can be paralyzing. My characters must make radical changes before they can embrace the future.

As in all of my novels, setting plays an important role in THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW. Harley and Abisi travel from New Orleans, where they currently reside, to London and then to Liverpool. Harley journeys to London with Abisi to meet his daughter and her future husband. Like the young lovers, Abisi and Harley are drawn to each other on a physical and emotional level, but unlike the younger couple, they come to each other with reservations and doubt. Romance blossoms as they travel the world, with the UK playing a vital role in the development of their love. It is on a day trip to Liverpool that Abisi proposes to Harley, but their journey doesn't end with marriage. Even after the I do's" have been uttered, they must learn to accept each other, rise above the hurts of the past, banish ghosts as well as madwomen from their lives, and change what kept them from achieving complete happiness.

Check out the interview of THE DOCTOR AND THE WAR WIDOW and stand to win awesome prizes!

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