By Susanne Matthews, author of Fire Angel and In Plain Sight
September 3rd was our wedding anniversary. My husband and I have been married for 42 years. There is no traditional gift to mark the occasion and according to the modern gifts, I should be looking for improved real estate. I guess that means I might get my office painted this fall. I’ve lived two thirds of my life with this man and I can’t imagine life without him. Has it all been candy and roses? No! We’ve had our good times and our bad, and despite everything that life has thrown at us, we’ve persevered.
We met during my first year of university. I was nineteen and living away from home for the first time in my life. I was living in residence and not what you’d call an extrovert. I made friends slowly, and when I met my future husband, it was a disaster.
I was collecting the garbage for our rooms—two rooms joined by a bathroom. I was dressed in this God awful quilted bathrobe that even Grandma Moses would have rejected. My hair was wet and wrapped in a towel. I checked the bathroom door and it was open, so I barged in to get the garbage. Imagine my surprise to find my can-mate (one of the girls who shared a can—bathroom) had a guy in her room, and I looked like a complete train wreck. Needless to say, it wasn’t my finest moment.
A few weeks later, he called and asked if I’d go to a party with him. Here I was this naïve small town girl going to the equivalent of a frat party (my university didn’t have frats or sororities). If you’ve seen the movie Animal House, this place was identical with its share of strange and unusual characters, many of whom have gone on to do amazing things. To this day, I will never forget how they all made me feel welcomed. I knew from that moment that John was the one for me. We soon became an item and inseparable. We were married just after he graduated at the beginning of my last year at university.
So many people laugh when I tell them it was love at first sight, and believe me, if he found me attractive that day, then what they say about love being blind is true! I am a firm believer in the idea that everyone was meant of another, and if you can find your soul mate, then no matter what life throws at you, you can survive.
I carry this idea of everlasting love—a search for one’s soul mate into my books. In Fire Angel, Jake and Alexis were separated for sixteen years, but the spark between them, the feeling of rightness, of belonging together, didn’t disappear. It may have been suppressed, but all they needed was to be together again for that spark to grow into a raging fire.
In In Plain Sight, both Misty and Nick had unhappy first marriages, but when they meet, they are drawn to one another. The spark between then grows into a fire and Nick will do anything to protect Misty from her enemies.
Each book I write contains this love at first sight aspect. I write romance novels because I believe in love and romance. Does our relationship today look like it did 42 years ago? Not by a long shot, but, I can’t imagine spending a single day of my life without him. He’s made me laugh, he’s made me cry, but he’s also made me the woman I am and I love him for it. My books tell the beginning of the love story, time tells the rest.
Excerpt from In Plain Sight:
Nick sat with his back to the keyboard listening to Misty’s footsteps as she hurried out of the theater. What had just happened? His hand pulsed with heat and energy. He hadn’t imagined that jolt of electricity through his body, the flash of lightning that had illuminated his darkness. He’d been struck mute, unable to utter a word. He’d shaken more than his fair share of hands, and no one had ever affected him that way. Had she felt it too? She’d sounded flustered before she’d left so abruptly.
Without sight, it was harder to judge someone’s initial reaction, but she’d let him hold her hand a second longer than necessary, and he’d felt her pulse race almost as fast as his—hell, he was still breathing heavy, and all he’d done was shake her hand. He stared into the black void in front of him as he had every waking moment of his life since the accident. He’d come to hate the blackness that surrounded him, but just for a moment tonight, when he’d touched her, there’d been light.
Her voice! She had a wonderful voice, an angel’s voice, the kind of voice that belonged on Broadway, not in some small-town theater production. She must have had vocal training. He hadn’t been kidding; she could out sing more than half the so-called divas out there today. He pulled the small hand-held recorder he’d brought with him and rewound it to the track he wanted.
He pressed play, and her powerful, soulful voice filled the room as it had earlier. Nick had recorded all the soloists, but this was the only one that mattered. Micah had raved about her voice, and Nick had recorded her number simply to prove to them both that, while her voice might be good, it wasn’t memorable. Listening to someone on tape often brought their vocal flaws to the surface. As the song continued, he had to admit there were no flaws here. He’d been hoisted on his own petard. For the first time in his life, he was glad he’d been in error.
Micah was a car salesman, not a Broadway producer, nor was he a musical director, and though his little group had done well in the past, they’d never attempted anything quite so grand. This time, knowing the intricacies of such a production and the need for it to succeed, Nick thought Micah had bitten off more than he could chew.
How could he have been so wrong? Not only was the Pine Falls Theater Company more than up to the task, their version of the musical, toned down as it needed to be to meet their production limitations, was original, and they had some real talent in their midst. He replayed the tract, mesmerized by the hypnotic quality of Misty’s voice. He continued to listen to her sing because she touched his soul, that part of him he’d thought as dead and lost as his vision.
He wondered fleetingly what she looked like. Her voice had carried into the hall where he’d been standing with Micah before they’d entered the room. He knew from her quirky comment that she must be short since she didn’t think the pink stripes made her look taller. A smile crossed his face at her sense of humor when he remembered the way she’d compared herself first to a cabana and then a clown; he figured that possibly she was on the more voluptuous side, curvier than Becca had been. He had always liked women with a little meat on their bones, but he’d been mesmerized by Rebecca, and it hadn’t been until much later in their relationship that he’d realized what a cruel, self-centered bitch his wife had been.
About the Author:
Susanne Matthews grew up as an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, she has made her dreams come true. A retired educator, she now gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
Susanne lives in Cornwall, Ontario with her husband. She has three adult children and five grandchildren. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, chatting on the Internet with her writer friends, and hearing from her readers. You can learn more about Susanne and her books at http:// www.mhsusannematthews.ca.