abroad, African-American, Bequia, Black, Bora Bora, characters, Como, Europe, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Johannesburg, Kem, love, novel, novelist, passion, Prague, Rio, travel, Vienna, Vieques, woman, writing
There’s nowhere to hide
When love is calling your name
In from the dark
Nowhere to hide, baby
There’s nowhere to hide
So let love have its way with your heart
When love calls, love calls, love calls your name
— Love Calls by Kem*
Late nights. Stolen kisses. Smoldering looks. Hearts racing. Excitement dusting your body with innumerable goosebumps. Living for the love of you. Is there anything more tantalizing than attraction that leads to love? Empires have crumbled, wars have been fought, and men have died, all because of love.
What do you do when love calls your name? When you realize there’s nowhere to hide? Do you give in with reckless abandon? Fight it as valiantly as you can, only to utterly fall? Or do you resist the siren song of your heart?
As a novelist, I relish the opportunity to explore love in all its variable mutations with my characters. It’s all about the first glance, the first interaction, the first kiss. What happens from that first meeting? Some characters strike out only to hit a home run later. Others are instantly attracted to each other like moths to a flame, and burn just as brightly for the other.
Love and the relationships between the main characters are central to my stories, but I don’t write romance novels. When I write, I try to write plausible and realistic stories. I think to myself would a man like him really react that way to a situation, or would a sista like her just let that pass without saying a word?
I’ve learned that all my characters will let love have its way if the stars are aligned perfectly. And, I think, that goes for many of us. Things that we never thought we’d do, we might if the conditions are right.
When love calls your name, it’s on my lips
And I wish that you were still here
To take me away with your kiss
And take me away from all this crazy crazy
There’s nothing so delicious as unrequited and unfulfilled love. A glance here, a special moment there. Is love really calling your name, or is it your imagination? These feelings are tasty emotional fuel for a novelist and it is likely the reason men and women go crazy after love has had its way.
Questions that I grapple with in my books are foundational. Can there be love at first sight? Can love survive longing and unrequitedness? What do you do when love is calling your name, but you or the other person already has someone else? Is it okay to swirl? And, contrary to Sade’s beliefs, can love be as good as the first time? When is it too late for love to be rekindled?
By now you may be asking yourself what, exactly, does love have to do with a blog on traveling?
Love has nothing to do with traveling, but everything to do with the second reason why I blog — writing. This blog is a Black woman’s musings on travel and writing.
The characters in my novels meet, fall in love, and interact in far-flung places: Prague, Como town in Italy, Jamaica, Rio, Hong Kong, Vienna, Johannesburg, Vieques, Bequia, Bora Bora, and the list goes on. Because I love authenticity, I take research trips to make sure that I’m being faithful to the rhythm and cadence of the people. My research trips naturally spawn funny anecdotes, but my passion is writing the stories flitting across the screen of my imagination.
Love, for the characters, involves everything from love at first sight to being involved in illicit affairs. A couple of characters just “love to love you, baby” and are resistant to commitment. That is, until Cupid pierces their hearts. All of the characters’ decisions pull them in every possible direction and stretch their lives into uncomfortable shapes. Love is usually never easy, or neat, or quick for them. No pain, no gain.
Love has nothing to do with traveling, but everything to do with the second reason why I blog — writing.
What, then, is love? I believe it’s the ability to spend time indulging in the things, or the people, that you are passionate about. What will you do when love calls your name?
*Lyrics taken from the song Love Calls, and the posting of the video which is readily available on YouTube, are displayed for illustrative and scholarly purposes only under the Fair Use Doctrine and are not meant to violate copyright laws.