Posted by Heidi Blakey on 18th August 2017
I’ve been asked this a few times – why do so many of my stories focus on the theme of second chances? I’m not sure there is an easy answer.
I think all of us can admit that in a relationship bad stuff happens. We are all flawed and make mistakes - I say that after 20+ years with my husband and admitting that we messed up big sometimes and are still together. We say something in the heat of the moment that has long-lasting effect. We don’t stand up for someone when we should, or we get scared, angry, stressed and thoughtless.
Second chances are a universal concept and not just in romantic relationships. If we look back on some of our early relationships with friends or lovers it’s probably easy to see where we may not have had the knowledge, experience or maturity to deal with the issues that arose. How we would handle it differently if it happened today. As we mature and learn to deal with our own emotional baggage, we are better prepared for the rough times. A second chance appeals to the notion that people can change and grow.
It’s an interesting dynamic to start exploring a relationship at that point. Where two (or three) people have had to recognize what went wrong, explore their feelings not only for the others involved but within themselves, and determine whether they can move past it. As a reader, you are privy not only to what went wrong – the worst case scenario – but also to the character’s journey, its tension and drama, as they try to make it right this time. Who doesn’t want to believe in happy endings?
My writing is very character driven and one thing about characters when you are dealing with ‘second chances’ is the increased need for trust and communication. They are not as likely to rush headlong into the same situation that hurt them in the past without thinking about it. I find it not dissimilar from writing a BDSM romance (and yes, some of my second chance romances also have BDSM elements) in that the characters are continually checking in to make sure things are okay.
It’s an interesting dynamic in Eighty-One Days, as it’s a second chance story for our heroes but a new romance with the heroine. Jenna gets to witness the dynamic between Eric and Luke and where they have had to change their expectations in order to come back together. Not only did Eric leave to pursue a dangerous career but he also ran from the unexpected sexual relationship that had developed between himself and Luke. Only Eric’s acceptance of his feelings for Luke and his growing feelings for Jenna make a ‘second chance’ possible.
It wasn’t until I’d nearly finished writing Bound to Happen, (a short story in the Sensory Limits anthology, available for pre-order from Totally Bound Publishing), that I was aware of the second chance theme. It’s not as pronounced as in Eighty-One Days.
Our hero, Maxwell, was Jaymie’s high school crush – the older brother of her best friend. Nothing ever happened between them. Max went on to marry his high school sweetheart, which ended in divorce and Jaymie went off to live in the big city. But their ‘second chance’ happens when they both end up living in their hometown of Port Ellis. They had to take separate paths and have their own unique experiences that would eventually lead them back home and to each other.
In the end, I think what I love about second chance love stories is the reminder to all of us that mistakes are going to happen and we can move past it. Very rarely do we only get one chance to do something. We are forever being given a second, third or fourth chance, and in the end all we can do is our best. In romance fiction, at least, you can be guaranteed a happy ending.
Stay tuned for more in my series of guest posts in the coming weeks!
Happy reading, Zoë Mullins
Eric didn’t know Luke would be heartbroken when he left town to join a hotshot forest fire crew in Western Canada. They’d been best friends since kindergarten, had gone to school together, had bought their first car and a home together, and had shared their lovers. At some point, friendship had turned to love.
Luke didn’t expect that when he’d brought his crazy cat in for stitches that his heart that would be mended by the sassy new veterinarian. Jenna may have been new in town but she’d heard the rumors and she liked the carnal fantasies he spun for her in bed of he and his best friend sharing her.
Of course, that was before Eric’s job brought him home and back into their lives.
Jenna isn’t sure she can be what they need, but she’s not going give up without a fight. Even if that means inviting the sexy firefighter to share their bed. Surely there is enough love to go around.
About Zoë Mullins:
Zoë loves the feel of her two collies sleeping on her feet as she works. She loves to travel, almost as much as she loves staying home in her PJ’s and telling everyone she’s away. She loves that she can still surprise her husband after more than 20 years together. And she loves creating romantic adventures on which to send her imaginary friends.