How I Found Happiness Hiding Inside a Book

My life has been a rollercoaster for the past ten years. There has been much good, but the bad has kind of obliterated it, as much as I try to focus on the bright side of things.

I am going through a down-trend again right now. A family/health issue that rears its ugly head more often than I care for. There’s not much I can do about it so I won’t dwell on it. Amidst the chaos, however, I found two allies who never fail to make me happy even if for just an hour or so every day.

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Meet Aiden Mercer and Naël Fouchard, the two main characters in my newest writing adventure, a MM urban fantasy romance I am currently writing. This story and these characters couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m not even sure why, but writing their story brings me happiness. They make me laugh, smile, and often swoon just a little as they take me out of my ugly reality into their zany world of magical beings, sarcastic comments, and badly repressed sexual tension.

After ten published romances I decided to set this one in my native country, Portugal. Actually it’s set right in my hometown, the stretch of coast just west of Lisbon. Setting this book in Portugal has brought an unexpected joy to my writing. I’m getting old, my mom–who still lives in Portugal–just turned eighty, I miss my sister, and part of me misses the country and the places I grew up in. By writing this story I have been revisiting all those places, some of them reimagined, others still faithful to my memories. This book will most likely become a series, which will give me further opportunities to “travel” in my home country and feel as if I’m really there. Right now, this story and these characters are the one thing saving me from going bonkers and for that I am so grateful.

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Fiction has always been my go-to for happiness and nothing has changed. The only difference is that I now (and have for many years) also write it instead of only reading it. The bottom line is that fiction, as a reflection of human creativity and imagination, is as real for bookworms and writers like me as anything solid and concrete. Fiction is a hiding place, a shelter, a safe-place to go to when reality hurts too much or you just need a break.

What is your go-to when you’re sad or overwhelmed? When you need a break from real life? Do you take refuge in fiction like I do?

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