Overcoming Obstacles and Winning the Gold!

By Susanne Matthews, author of In Plain Sight and Fire Angel

In Plain SightNothing can take the place of determination and persistence. Putting everything you have into everything you do is the only way to succeed. Half-hearted efforts yield partial results. Never was that more obvious than in watching the Olympics last month. The Russians put everything they had into their bid to host the games, and while not everyone in the world was pleased with the Olympic Committee’s decision to award the games to Russia, the country itself was committed and overcame whatever obstacles were put in their way. They spent over fifty-one billion dollars to create Sochi 2014. Impressive in anyone’s eyes.

The determination to succeed in the quest for gold is what spurs the hundreds of athletes from around the world to train and put their lives on hold for these games, but they aren’t the only ones who do that. While we may not be out there on the ice rink, on the mountain, or on the trails and speed skating tracks, we’re at home watching and praying our team will be the one to grab the top spot on the podium. We set our regular routines aside, skip precious hours of sleep to watch our favorites compete live. Sadly, we fail to appreciate the efforts of those who don’t get gold, silver or bronze. Why do we do that? I watched the ice dancing competition, and I was awed by those who made it to the Olympics, impressed by those who went on to the free dance and stunned by the incredible performances of all the skaters. Hey, they’re the best in the world! Being twentieth at the Olympics is a million times better than anything I’ll ever do. We need to remember the effort and training as well as the heart and determination that went into every single athlete’s performance. A single move can make or break an athlete’s chance at that gold medal.

So, what does this have to do with love and romance? Falling in love is all about determination and persistence. It’s about putting your best foot forward to impress the object of your affection, and yes, you’re aiming to win the gold medal. Romance authors know the course of love doesn’t run as smoothly as it does in novels. We know people don’t fall in love in the space of a few thousand words, but we also know we can capture the magic if we use our words and our imagination. For many, writing a best-seller is the gold medal, what we all aspire to do, but should it be the only thing that motivates us?

Fire AngelFalling in love in a novel is a process, similar to the qualifying rounds. We go forward, do our bit, and create the characters. Then we wait, set the stage, and allow the fans to get to know our heroes and heroines. If we do it right, the reader identifies with our characters. When the obstacles crop up, the misunderstandings, or of course the dangers inherent in suspense, they’re rooting for the characters. When matters are successfully resolved and the villains meets his/her end, they’re pleased to arrive at the well-deserved happily ever after they expected. If an author does it right, they create characters their readers identify with, characters they enjoy and are a little sad to leave when the book is over.

People who’ve read my books have made comments like “I fell in love with Nick”, the main character from In Plain Sight. Others have said “My heart went out to Jake,” the hero in Fire Angel. To me, hearing my readers say, “I couldn’t put the book down—I read all night”, is like having them put their lives on hold to watch the athletes compete. Having the women who read my books establish an emotional connection with my novels is my trip to the podium. I don’t make it easy for them. I make my heroes and heroines work for their gold medals, but they persist, and in the end, they win their happily ever after with the woman of their dreams, and my readers come out on top too. Every time someone reads my books and gets that “Ahh!” feeling, I’m on the podium. Someday, I’ll write that best-seller, but in the meantime, if I’ve written a book my readers enjoyed, then I’m a winner all the way. Persistence, the need to press on to victory is what makes a romance writer, like an athlete, a gold medal winner.

In Plain Sight and Fire Angel are available from Crimson Romance books, Amazon, and wherever e-books are sold.

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.