It's not often I sit around reminiscing about my first love. After all, it occurred when I was sixteen years old, and alas, I haven't been sixteen in some time.
For the sake of respecting privacy, we'll call my first love John. I learned a lot in dating John and many of those lessons are ones I carry with me today, and which have somehow shaped my stories as well. After all, the first love is most poignant and oddly stirring. It awakens us to possibilities of which we'd only hitherto dreamed. The first love is often the one by which we measure all others, good or bad.
My first love was a sweet one, if fraught by teenaged problems and issues. John was a year older than I was, but seemed a world away in terms of sophistication and knowledge. He'd had other girlfriends, whereas he was my first...anything. First love. First real kiss. First physical relationship. He taught me a lot and I can honestly say we had a lovely time together.
Most of the time.
You see, John taught me some hard lessons too, even though I know it was never his intention to hurt me. John had troubles, like any teenager has troubles, and some serious family issues. And those issues led him down a path which ultimately led to our break up.
What did I take away from this relationship? And how did it shape my future books?
Well, the first lesson was self-esteem. You see, John cheated on me. From an early age, I learned you don't put up with a cheater. And none of my heroines have either. Maggie from The Selkie was cheated on, and quite a bit. However, once she learned the truth, she never went back. Which is a good thing because she ended up with yummy Calan!
I learned that a good relationship should always give you those wonderful chills of excitement down your spine. You know what I mean. That tingle, that zing! If there's no chemistry, I don't believe a person will truly be happy. And you can't force chemistry. I tried to show this in all my books. A good hero/heroine will always feel a sizzle. Eryx and Maia hated each other on sight in For the Love of a God, but we all know how that irritation warmed into a deep lust and then love.
I also learned a good love relationship is based on easy camaraderie, and I did have that with John. I don't think you can love someone and not be "in like" with them too. In Up in Flames, Jules and Shane spend a lot of time together. However, even after they have given into their strong desire, they just enjoy being with each other, doing simple things like talking and watching movies.
I learned so much from my first love, and am thankful to him. If it hadn't been for John, I never would have gone on to find such a wonderful husband. I chose my husband because of the lessons I learned with the ones who came before him. There weren't many, but God knows they all taught me something.