Welcome to this week’s Romance Writer’s Weekly Blog Hop. If you’ve arrived from Tracy Gee’s Blog, hi and thanks for clicking!
This week Ronnie Allen has asked us the following question: What is the theme in your novels, recurring or in one, that sends a message about an issue in society to help people? Was it developed by you intentionally, or did it evolve through the characters and plot?
What an interesting question! When I’m writing a story I don’t think I explicitly go into it intending to explore certain themes, although since my current books are all set in London it’s hard to avoid some of the issues that affect contemporary society. There are so many problems that affect people in cities (as well as the suburbs), from gang-culture and poverty, to drug use and discrimination as well as the pervasive effect of mental illness and depression, and some of these themes are explored in my novels.
In Coming Down, the plot scented around a Drug-Abuse clinic in central London, where the heroine–Beth–is a volunteer working with the children of addicts. Having taken drugs herself when she was younger, and seen the terrible effects that overdosing can have, she’s more aware of the issue than most. Coming Down, I hope, sends the message that although for some there may be a brighter future, the issue of drug abuse (particularly when mixed with poverty) isn’t going away, and while it may not be possible to solve the problem, treating people with kindness and determination can go a long way to manage it.
Mental Health is another issue that I’ve explored in my books. In Fix You, the heroine (Hanna) suffers from depression brought on after her mother’s death. This also leads to panic attacks, and having suffered from these myself, I can confirm that they are absolutely horrifying to experience. Similarly, in Broken Chords (my latest book) there is post-date depression, which is so common among new mothers, and although it wasn’t something I suffered from myself, I saw a close friend go through the detrimental affects that this can cause.
More than anything, I hope that my books send the message that there should be no stigma attached to mental illness. It’s something that affects both rich and poor, men and women, and we shouldn’t be ashamed to seek help. Having suffered myself, and found help through counselling and the support of family and friends, I’d urge anybody who is feeling the same to seek assistance, to find support and most of all, not to beat yourself up over it. Mental Health disorders should not be stigmatised, and I truly believe we should all strive to understand and support those who are going through them, just as we would support people going through any illness.
So those are my thoughts, I hope you enjoyed reading them and let me know what you think. Do you like your stories to have a message? Let’s hop over to Leslie Hachtel’s blog and see what she has to say.