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Erin Cawood – What is Darker Edgier Contemporary Romance?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Biggest Weakness in life is my Biggest Strength as an Author

by Erin Cawood

You’d think my biggest weakness would be that I live in my imagination. True. But I spend enough time in the real world to maintain a long term relationship with my beau of 13 years… wow is it really that long?

I study a degree in New Media, which means basically I’m web savvy, and I have a part-time job. I am a “responsible adult”. Maybe you don’t find this term as dreary as I do? But sometimes it feels like exciting life changing events, such as giving up full time work and returning to education or pursuing a career in writing, just don’t go with this term. Heaven forbid I should do both at the same time!

So maybe my biggest weakness is that I hear the voices of my characters as clearly as anyone of my family, friends or colleagues? A sure sign I must be crazy right? Again, I refer to exhibit A and must add I haven’t started talking back… not yet … although there was that one time…  ha-ha!

So what is my biggest weakness you ask?

Well, it is that I do not know who you are but if you were to tell me your story, I’d feel your pain. It would run so deep in me I might share your tears. For a long time this was a gift for others to take advantage of. A lesson I have learned well. But wearing your heart on your sleeve in fiction does not have the same curse. For me, I see it as a blessing.

Don’t think for a second a well crafted character cannot touch you. They have the same ability to draw you in as a best friend. They can take you on a whirlwind ride through days, weeks, months or even years. They will pull you through the wringer and then leave you way up high on cloud nine, or so furious you might just hurl that darn book at the wall! Or they can leave you so totally and utterly devastated you might sob for hours. The only difference is… with a well crafted novel you’ll follow Alice down the rabbit hole while screaming at her not to go! We let them do this to us, they turn us inside-out within a few short hours  … and the best part of it all is … we enjoy it!

When I research into situations I have no personal experience of, I am grateful that the lessons I’ve learned have not hardened my heart, but have only provided a cautionary shield because inside my imagination I have many characters with many stories to tell. They want you to know their lives, their loves, their losses. They want to draw you in to their story and talk to you like you’re their best friend. They want the fantasy you’ve escaped to, to seem almost as real to you as the world you live in. If only just for that short time they’ve held your hand. They want you to live the friendship of a lifetime without even leaving your sitting room.

As an author, I pour everything into making this happen. I’ve summoned the wrath, I’ve feared the worse, I’ve laughed at the worst jokes imaginable and then axed them, and I’ve cried until I couldn’t see anymore. So there is nothing headier than hearing from a reader who’s felt this connection with a character I’ve created. And as reader, there’s simply nothing more exhilarating than a character that can make this happen. It’s magic!

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Genre – Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance

Rating – PG13

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