Like most people, I met the advent of the year 2020 with a particular sense of excitement and anticipation of renewal. There’s something about the turn of a decade that makes the New Year seem extra potent. I was anticipating a fresh start, especially with a big birthday due in May (It had a zero in it, OK? That’s all I’ll say!).
Little did we know, of course, that our carefully laid plans would be derailed by the devastation of a global pandemic. Alongside all the things that life can throw at you, to have something so unprecedented and unanticipated take place has thrown all of us for a loop. My next novel for adults, If I Don’t Have You, was also disrupted by this terrible virus unseen to our naked eyes. My plans for a fun book launch went out of the window, and with the support of my brilliant publishers, Jacaranda Books, the publication date for my book was pushed back from May to July to help accommodate for some of the issues thrown up by Covid-19.
However, one thing that has felt a boost in my favour nonetheless is that my book is all about the celebration of love – that life-constant joy! Reading a romantic story during times of uncertainty like those we’re currently experiencing is, I feel, the perfect antidote. Romantic fiction is comforting in its centring of love as a positive experience that, with any luck, we all get to come into contact with in our lives. And often in romantic stories (spoiler alert – mine included!) you get to read with a degree of certainty that the outcome for the characters will be happy!
If I Don’t Have You follows Kayla, a young and ambitious Black British woman trying to make it as an artist in New York, who is sent along last-minute to a press junket to interview handsome African-American film director Ren. They end up stranded together by a quirk of fate during a storm in the city, and throw caution to the wind for an honest, romantic and very sexy liaison that they assume will only last one night. But the draw they feel for one another means they decide to keep things going long-distance. Naturally, the course of love doesn’t run smooth (we can’t have things too easy, can we?), and dramatic revelations mean they end things… However, there’s nothing more romantic than a second chance, right? That is what Kayla and Ren get a couple of years later – the story joins them again, and they get a chance to make their love work for good this time. Would that we could all get opportunities to right wrongs like that!
What I love the most about writing – and reading – romantic fiction is that sense of living vicariously through the characters. My real hope is that my novel coming out during these uncertain times in 2020 will give my readers a chance to find a beautiful sense of romantic hope, that they, too, will make it through to a happily ever after.
If I Don’t Have You is published by Jacaranda Books, July 30th 2020 https://www.jacarandabooksartmusic.co.uk/products/if-i-dont-have-you