During these troubled times, my writing volume tends to increase exponentially when I’m challenged the most. A psychologist I know calls this my “Playing God” phase. According to him, when things in my personal life spin out of control, I write more of my own stories for the assurance things can work out the way they’re supposed to.
Lately, I’ve noticed this “Playing God” phase translates into other aspects of my life as well. The books I read must have a guaranteed happy ending. This is why you’ll never see my books in Oprah’s Book Club—not the ones I write or those in my To Be Read pile. I’m not entertained when a heroine gets hit by a bus and dies a week after attaining her Happily Ever After (and yes, I read that book! Had I known, I never would have picked it up). I don’t want to watch the hero—a man I’ve invested all my emotion into over the length of the story—walk away from the heroine. I don’t even want a Happily For Now ending when I’m at my lowest mood level. I need the whole wedding scene from Cinderella: the birds holding up her veil, the mice cheering from the sidelines, the evil stepmother and stepsister in Ever After toiling in the laundry room. (Hey, it’s my world. I can combine the two if I want to.)
So sue me. I prefer laughter to tears, love to hate. I’m playing God in my own universe. I pull the strings. I map out the journey. I get to decide who falls in love with whom, who gets his comeuppance in the end (and what that comeuppance is!), and how all the jagged pieces will fit together into one beautiful moment that stays with my reader forever.
This habit of mine sometimes makes it hard for me to punish my characters. I wouldn’t push my heroine face-first into the mud any faster than I’d do it to one of my kids. I firmly believe that love, and by extension romance novels, should raise us up, not humiliate us.
It’s no wonder I was so emotionally challenged when I wrote my first indie release, Eternally Yours. You see, Eternally Yours takes place in the Afterlife. Not only are my main characters dead, in order for the story to begin properly, my heroine had to commit suicide. There’s a challenge for you, folks! Start a light and fluffy romance with a suicide in Chapter One. Oh, sure, those who didn’t read the story tried to talk me out of it. “Make her get hit by a bus, saving a puppy.” Nope. It’s suicide or nothing. My heroine, Jodie Devlin, must be at her weakest emotional moment and must destroy the fate that’s planned for her, in order to arrive at her destination on the other side of death. The phoenix has to burn before it can rise from the ashes. And, true to my beliefs, Jodie does rise.
Although I hadn’t planned it this way, Eternally Yours is the perfect representation of the year my family and I have struggled through in 2012. How fitting to release this book at this time! So if you’re feeling emotionally challenged or wonder if there’s a greater plan in the universe for you and those you love, give Eternally Yours a try. I hope it will resonate with you the way it always does for me.
After one too many disappointments, Jodie Devlin took her own life. Too bad her suicide is only the beginning of her troubles. Until a new future can be created for her, Jodie will serve as one of Death’s bounty hunters, retrieving souls who haunt Earth. She’ll need smarts, charm, and trickery to convince these specters to give up the ghost and move on. Of course, these same skills will come in handy for verbally sparring with her bull-headed, know-it-all trainer.
It's no wonder Luc Asante is so bitter toward women. His former wife ordered him taken off life support, condemning him to employment in the Afterlife. Now he has a trainee—a female trainee who’s as soft-hearted as he is hard, as impulsive as he is methodical. In a place where perfection is the norm, she flaunts her flaws just to drive him nuts.
If they weren’t already dead, working together would probably kill them.
Traveling between the dead and the living, bringing peace to lost souls, Jodie and Luc will be forced to come to terms with their differences and their pasts, to discover a love that might bind them for eternity.
Gina Ardito is the mistress of her own universe. Published in light-hearted contemporary, historical (under the pen name, Katherine Brandon), and now paranormal romance, she juggles her writing career with speaking engagements, writing workshops, an editing business, and a family. Gina lives on Long Island with her husband of 26 years, their two children, a bionic dog, and the two cats who allow her to serve them. For more information on Gina and her books, helpful articles for writers, and a list of upcoming appearances, visit Gina’s website: www.ginaardito.com