I finally finished Rose Colored Glasses, a thriller which will be published very soon (cover art and announcement forthcoming!) My Editor has finished with the final edits, and the thing has been rewritten more than once, so I guess it’s time to set it free in the world.
This novel is something of a departure for me, as this is a love story at its heart. It took me over three years to write, and delves deep into the pain that comes with divorce and the unintended consequences of terrible choices.
When Noel leaves her husband, Arthur, for an old lover, none of them are prepared for the insanity that follows; Noel and Arthur find themselves forced to fight for their lives, and make decisions which blur the lines of good and evil to protect themselves.
In the scene I’ve selected below, Arthur is talking to Rose, an elderly woman who lives down the street from him. She’s a central character to the book, and rather loosely based on a good friend.
“Here’s the thing,” Rose said. “The world is stuffed with people who look back on their lives with regret, wishing they’d had a second chance, folks who long for yesterdays that were never as good as they recall. They die longing for that first love, the one that got away, or the dream they didn’t have the nerve to chase. We never get a ‘do-over,’ but some of us are fortunate enough to get a fresh start. You are blessed, no matter how it turns out.”
“I think so too.”
“Plenty of love stories don’t follow a straight line. I reckon the two of you have something special, and you both just needed some time to figure it out. As long as you’ve done that, you might get your happy ending after all.”
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” Arthur said. “There are still some pretty serious obstacles, but they seem small compared to what was in the way before. What was impossible is now doable.”
“Ignore the whispers,” Rose said, closing her eyes and breaking into a coughing fit. “Sorry. I’ve switched to edibles. I think my lungs have had it with me. Anyway, you’re going to get some blowback because that’s how people are.”
“You know exactly what I mean. Your friends will question your sanity. Your family will shake their heads. You will have whispers of doubt yourself, the quiet, incessant voices in your head which say you are a fool to believe in something good and true. Those whispers will destroy you, if you let them. They accuse you, betray you…relentlessly.”
Rose stopped speaking, her voice trailing off as though she was lost in her own memories, assailed, perhaps, by whispers only she could hear.
Arthur waited her out.
“The real fool is the one who refuses to leap off the cliff into the cold, clear, blue water. The one who never dares to climb the frozen mountain, the one who never opens her heart again to love like we were meant to love and be loved. Fear masquerades itself as your sensible friend and tells you that you should wait, you must abstain, you should settle, and be calm and temperate in all things. Fear hates reckless wind in your face and taking chances, despises everything exceptional, and drags us down into the cruddy, muddy mundane. Fear kills more people than cancer because it convinces you you’re living when you’re dying.”
“Preach the Gospel of Rose.”
“I’ll tell you this,” Rose continued, “I’ve done some living. I have regrets, and frankly, if anyone who gets to be my age says they don’t have any, they’re either idiots or liars. I don’t abide either.”
“You know I’ve got more than a few regrets.”
“You’re supposed to. But don’t let regrets turn to fear. It will wreck you. Regret and fear aren’t the same thing. Fear is a killer. Regret, well, that’s learning. I know that fear has its place in biology. Hot fires and stoves and whatnot. Hell, that’s common sense, and not at all what I’m talking about. There’s a big damn difference. The risk is often worth the reward, but fear demands that we shrink away, when it is calling the shots, denying us what might have been. Fear is good when it tells you not to cross the street in front of a bus, but that’s about all it’s good for.”
“I’ve tried to live fearlessly.”
“What? I’ve always taken risks. I’m doing it now.”
“You’d think I was talking to a brick wall. Taking risks when you’re eaten up by fear doesn’t make you fearless. You’re right that you are willing to take chances. But you go into it with rose colored glasses. You don’t see the world the way it is. Maybe because it makes the fear easier to bear. Doesn’t make you fearless.”
“Rose colored glasses? That doesn’t sound like me at all. Hell, they called me ‘Doctor Doom’ in Nashville.