Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Welcome Anne Barwell today

To Angst or not to Angst -  aka working for a happy ending.

Thanks, Dawn, for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post for the Reading Nook.

I've always enjoyed reading and writing hurt/comfort and angst. One of the key ingredients of well written stories of this genre is to build a believable relationship between the characters. It's unrealistic to expect the readers to care what happens to a character if their significant other or friends don't. While not all protagonists need to be hero material – in fact I much prefer if they aren't, as being out of their depth adds to the intensity of the situation – they're still a hero to the person who loves them.

All the 'I love you' s don't mean anything unless they're backed up by action. It doesn't have to be guns blazing rushing to the rescue action, but can be instead a subtle touch, or being there at just the right time. Being prepared to put themselves in the line of fire, often without thinking it through, to protect the person they love. Or sitting with someone when they're sick, and cleaning up all the nasty stuff that comes with it.

Love isn't about logic, although it's also a decision, not just a feeling.

When character A is hurt, it doesn't just hurt him but character B too. While one might be physical hurt, the helplessness and fear that comes with that gut-retching realisation that you might lose the person you care about is painful too. It's also a good wakeup call for potential couples who are fighting their attraction toward each other. Logic fails, and often completely, at the sight of a loved one hurt, in pain, or worse.  There's nothing like that cold feeling in the pit of character B's stomach that the forever they hoped for, and the happy ending they thought would just come to them, or they could walk away from, is slipping through their bloody fingers as his partner's eyes close and he/she loses consciousness.

A lifetime is too long when it's lived alone, so when a second chance presents itself, grab it with both hands. Be there and love and be loved.

That's the stuff of romance that I want to read and write about. Couples who have worked for their happy ending, and know all too well the alternative to which they have come far too close, and do not ever want to be in a position where they have to contemplate it again, are far more interesting than those who get their happy ever after handed to them on a platter.

And if, as a writer, I have to shoot, drop a building on, or run someone over with a car, or the like, so be it.  My characters know that although I will continue to put them into those kinds of situations, they can be assured that at the end of it all they'll have each other and get their happy ending.

To finish I'd like to share an angsty excerpt from my new book,">Shadowboxing, which was released by Dreamspinner Press on the 20th of January. It's an historical, romance, action, drama m/m set during WW2...
Berlin, 1943. An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.
When Michel contacts the Allies, hoping they can work together, it isn’t long before the so-called “simple” mission becomes anything but. With both men realizing they can no longer ignore their growing feelings for each other, Kristopher and Michel must fight—not just for a chance of a future together, but for their very survival.

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

“I’m. Fine.” Kristopher’s answer was through gritted teeth. Michel placed a gentle hand on his arm, making him stop under a nearby light.

Kristopher let out a small moan of pain and swayed. Michel hooked his arms around Kristopher’s waist, pulling him close. Resting his head on Michel’s shoulder, Kristopher leaned in, allowing himself to be held.

“I’ve got you,” Michel whispered soothingly. Kristopher’s breathing was ragged, his face covered in beads of perspiration. Now that his attention wasn’t totally focused on putting one foot in front of the other, it was more difficult to hide whatever was wrong.

His eyes glazed over; he was fighting to stay conscious.


Jerking free from Michel’s embrace, Kristopher reached inside his shirt, his hand brushing gingerly against his shoulder. He bit down on his lip but didn’t manage to hide a murmur of pain. A frown creased his forehead when he removed his hand and held it up to the light, staring at it. “Michel,” he said slowly, “is that blood?”

Blood? Oh God, no. Michel’s mind returned to the gunfight and the shots Reiniger had managed to fire in Kristopher’s direction.

Kristopher stared at his hand as though he didn’t believe it was his. His eyes began to close. He blinked, whimpering. “I don’t feel right,” he whispered faintly. He let his hand drop to his side.

“Kristopher, you need to stay awake.” Michel slid his arm around Kristopher’s waist, trying to help him stay upright, but Kristopher pushed him away, pulling the borrowed jacket more tightly around himself. His eyes fluttered then he slowly reopened them.

Michel gently replaced his arm around Kristopher’s waist holding him close again. This time there was no argument. “I’m sorry, Michel.” He gave Michel a shaky smile. “I’ll try, but I’m so tired.” He groaned, his head drooping before he pulled himself awake once more, leaning more heavily on Michel. “I just need to sleep. I’ll be fine once I sleep. I only wanted to make the world a better place.” He looked up at Michel, his expression pleading, his fingers gripping Michel’s sweater. “I tried to stop the nightmares. Please, you have to help me… put… things… right.”

Kristopher’s eyes began to close. He shivered. “It’s cold. Why is it so cold?”

“Kristopher… please. Look at me.” Michel lowered Kristopher carefully to the ground and felt for his pulse. It was fast and irregular, his skin cold and clammy to the touch. “You need to try and focus.” Michel’s fingers shook as he eased the jacket from the shoulder Kristopher had favored. The inside of it was soaked in blood. Michel’s breath hitched, but he forced himself to examine it more closely. He was no doctor, and it was difficult to tell how bad the wound was, just that it had obviously been seeping for quite some time.

God, how had Kristopher managed to get this far? Michel knew that Kristopher was strong willed and stubborn but this…. Michel bit his lip. If he didn’t get Kristopher to a doctor and soon…. Michel grabbed a handkerchief from his pocket and rolled it into a makeshift pad, pressing the cloth against the wound in the hope that pressure might at least help
staunch the flow of blood.

“Thank you.” Michel barely heard the whispered words before the grip on his sweater loosened and his friend slipped into unconsciousness. He bent and lifted Kristopher into his arms, cradling him.

Nearby a dog barked and men shouted. “The dogs are picking up on something. It looks like blood!”

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand, sharing her home with her twin daughters, at least during the holidays, when one of them isn't away at university. Her son has left home and started his own family, although she claims she is too young to be a grandmother already. Her three cats are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching and has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and a librarian. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction club and plays piano for her local church and violin for a local orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.

Thank you for reading. J  You can find me on the net at my">livejournal, on my page at the Coffeeunicorns site and on my author page at">Dreamspinner Press


Kellie Kamryn said...

Your book sounds excellent. I'm so glad I stopped by today. I think you're right on the money - love isn't logical, but living without it isn't an option either. And I firmly believe, too, that loving someone isn't just being the "hero" but all the little actions in between. Fantastic post!

Anne Barwell said...

Thanks, Kellie. Glad you enjoyed my post :)

elizabeth noble said...

Ohh very nice. I agree with your point on logic...and well the whole thing. Good job!


Anne Barwell said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. Glad you enjoyed it :)

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