“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” —Maya Angelou
So often a romance novel ends with a wedding or a soon-to-be bride. The romantic storyline follows a couple as they battle obstacles to their happily-ever-after, ending with its “destination full of hope.” And, as Maya Angelou suggests, love jumps hurdles to get there.
But what if a romance novel opens with a bride leaping fences to escape the promise of her happily-ever-after? That’s the story we wanted to write when we sat down to pen our first Runaway Bride story, How to Lose a Groom in 10 Days. Yet, like any fun story premise, the idea of a runaway bride didn’t just generate one story. We wondered what it would be like if the bride was running away from Mr. Right and didn’t know he was Mr. Right (How to Lose a Groom). Then, we wondered what would happen if the bride ran from a guy who seemed perfect, but wasn’t HER Mr. Right (The Wedding Audition).
Of course, a bride could also be completely happy and ready to marry when her husband-to-be reveals a secret affair (There Goes the Bride). Or she could suddenly realize the guy she was marrying wasn’t at all who he pretended to be (Bride on the Run). The fun thing about the Runaway Brides has been that each heroine had a very different journey, but they all started with a great escape from a wedding day.
Even the escape from the wedding itself turned out to be a fun writing challenge. Our brides were inventive in their disappearing acts, shimmying out a window, commandeering a trolley, or hopping on a motorcycle to take a serious emotional “time out” from what should have been the most important day of their lives.
Maybe that’s what makes the runaway bride so compelling. Who among us hasn’t dreamed of ditching our lives and starting over at some point? No matter how much we love our kids, our husbands, our families, we have all stared out a window now and then and wondered—what would happen if I made a different choice? What would happen if I just walked away?
We enjoyed the fantasy of the escape vicariously, roaring away on a Harley in full wedding regalia. Because seriously… what if?
The course of true love never did run smooth, a Shakespearean character laments in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sometimes it takes a big shake-up to help us find the right path in life, the path that will lead us to true and everlasting love. Love recognizes no barriers—pushing us to make the romantic choices that will make us happiest. Part of the power of the romance novel is reminding us not to settle for half-measures in love. In other words, don’t marry a man just because he seems like Mr. Perfect, or because it seems too late to call the whole thing off. There is always time to trust our instincts and follow our dreams, even if that means taking a giant step backward.
That destination full of hope is worth waiting for!
**Let’s pretend you are making your big escape today… where would you go to start fresh? Or, where would you like to be for just a day-long break? Tell us what you think and we’ll give one random poster the prize pack pictured!**
Catherine Mann –USA Today bestselling and RITA Award winning author Catherine Mann writes contemporary romance for Berkley, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Tule Publishing. She and her husband have four children and live in Florida, where she is a founding member and president of the Sunshine State Animal Rescue. Visit Catherine Mann at her website or on Facebook and Twitter
Joanne Rock has taken her love of happily-ever-afters to a variety of subgenres from contemporary romance to medieval historicals. A Golden Heart recipient and three-time RITA nominee, Joanne is a dedicated reader and super-fan of the romance genre. Visit Joanne at her website, or on Facebook and Twitter