Shannon here: Angela Ruth Strong shares into her real life romance, her latest Romantic Suspense, A Latte Difficulty, plus a chance to win an audiobook copy of her debut novel, Finding Love in Sun Valley, Idaho. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: May 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Angela:
Flawed Like My Characters by Angela Ruth Strong:
To make a story realistic, characters can’t be perfect. They have to have flaws just like we have flaws in real life. There are different ways to look at flaws, and the latest one has me looking back at my real-life love story.
Some authors consider the flaw a wound. One of my very favorite quotes comes from a book on writing suspense. “Both the villain and the hero are wounded. The villain hides their wound with evil, while the hero overcomes through self-sacrifice.” I love this because it means we all get to choose every day whether we are going to be a hero or a villain. We all get to choose love or fear. Much like Darth Vader saving his son.
Other writers consider the flaw a weakness. The weakness is like the flip side of a coin from the strength. This specific strength and weakness are what gets the main character in trouble in the first place, but it’s also what gets them out of it. Think about Luke Skywalker this time. Both his strength and weakness were in the Skywalker blood. I like this perspective because it shows that God created us to overcome our challenges the way an author plots for their character to overcome.
The newest perspective I’ve encountered labels this flaw/wound/weakness as a misbelief. It claims our misbeliefs are the very thing keeping us from our goals, which is what creates the inner conflict and thus character growth in a story. The interesting thing is that our misbelief isn’t stupid. It comes from a past situation where the misbelief was actually based on truth. For example, a coping mechanism might have helped us survive abuse as a child, but if we continue to use the coping mechanism as an adult, it holds us back from our dreams.
My misbelief came from my divorce. When my first husband was having his affair, his girlfriend texted me, “You can have your husband if you can keep him happy.” In my head I knew that wasn’t true, but it wounded my heart. Without realizing it, I took on the responsibility of making my relationships happy.
When I first met Jim, it came out in the form of trying to scare him away by warning him of all the things I did that didn’t make my first husband happy. “I lose things. I forget things. When driving, I pass my exit because I’m not paying attention. I like to read books and take bubble baths.” Scandalous, right? Jim laughed and kissed me, so we made it past that part of my misbelief.
Then came the blending families part that involved court battles and counseling appointments and financial repercussions. These are not happy things, and I felt responsible for them all. I was burdening my new husband with unhappiness. I tried to make amends by taking on extra jobs and being Supermom to my children and not telling Jim when things upset me. Somehow, he knew anyway. And he fought by my side.
Yet my misbelief continued to hang on into our midlife crisis years. The kids began to successfully move on to college, giving us the time and the resources to pretty much do whatever we want. We got our Harley and went on lots of vacations and cooked gourmet dinners. But Jim hit a rut where he wasn’t happy, and I didn’t know how to fix it. If my job was to make him happy, I was a failure.
As crazy as it sounds, it took cancer to help me overcome. I went from overbooking my life in an attempt to squeeze every ounce of happiness out of it to pretty much turning into a zombie. My days became consumed with the basics of eating, sleeping, and going to the bathroom. Even thinking was a challenge. When I spoke, I often said the wrong words. I was bald, and, as of the publication of this blog, I’m currently in surgery for a double mastectomy. There was no way I could do a thing to make anybody happy, especially my husband.
But here’s my happily-ever-after: Jim loves me still. In fact, he loves me more. My misbelief is finally shattered. My goal of a wonderful marriage is no longer at odds with my flaw/wound/weakness. I have overcome by letting go.
I’m sure I have more flaws I’ll have to overcome, maybe even misbeliefs I’ve accepted through the chemo process, but it helps to be able to look at my life the way my Creator might. He understands past pain, and He allows the exact challenges I need to let His perfect love cast out all my fears.
About Angela: Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes non-fiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK. Learn more & connect:
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About the book – A Latte Difficulty:
Can two baristas track down a gunman after the espresso shot heard ‘round the world?
When Marissa witnesses an attempted murder during the 4th of July parade, it starts a battle for her independence. She is forced to hide out in a safehouse, leaving her co-owner, Tandy, to run their coffee shop, track down the criminal, and, worse, plan Marissa’s wedding. Thankfully Tandy has help, but can she really trust the P.I. in a bow tie, her new deaf barista who acts more like a bartender, or a wedding planner who’s keeping secrets?
The threat on Marissa’s future goes from bad to worse when her bridal gown is covered in blood. Though her fiancé, Connor, agrees to give up his identity to join her in the Witness Protection Program, Marissa refuses to wave the white flag. Instead, she enlists Tandy to help her fight for truth, justice, and the Americano way.
Get your copy now! A Latte Trouble – Amazon
Question for Readers: What is a misbelief God has helped you overcome?