This summer I’ll be debuting my newest series, The Bittersweet Chronicles. Set in the fictional southern town of Bittersweet, Alabama, this all-novella series will cross various age and genre boundaries (and yes, the details of that are a surprise!). Each book will be standalone, but all the stories will exist in the same world, and characters from each book will pop up in the others. At this point I don’t have plans for how many books the series will contain, nor a specific release schedule. In terms of my workload, these novellas will serve as “inbetween” works that can fill in spaces in my release schedule throughout the year.
The whole concept of “bittersweet” came home to me this last week when I attended my first signing as a romance author. While some people might think doing the signing was the most nerve-wracking part of the experience, for me it was actually leaving my family that caused the most stress. I’ve been with Mr L for nearly eighteen years, and as I prepared to go on this trip I realized that I haven’t traveled more than two hours from home without him in all those years. So much for modern womanhood.
As I said goodbye to Mr L and the little Laurences at the airport, we were all tense. Mr L was concerned about me, and I realized that this was as scary for him and the little L’s as it was for me. I traveled alone all over the country by myself in my twenties. I’ve lived in major metropolises by myself, navigated foreign countries, and given birth twice. But, I was scared.
As my trip got underway I adjusted, I gained confidence, I discovered that I did indeed still know how to drive a car on the California freeways, I could figure out how to find Starbucks by myself, and I could carry my own luggage through an airport. I knew it was past time for me to take off on my own, and I knew it was good for me to do it. I also knew that this was different than when I traveled in my twenties. This time as I made my way out in the world, I knew that I belonged to someone. Each time someone from home texted to find out where I was and what I was doing it was a poignant reminder that I’m theirs, and they love me.
The mixture of feelings that came from reestablishing my independence, pursuing my own career in a new way, and missing my family could only be described as bittersweet. It was wonderful to be have something to travel to that was mine, that I built and worked for. It was also a not-so-subtle reminder that in a few more years the little Laurences (who really aren’t so little at this point) will be taking their own journeys and leaving me behind. There will soon be a day when I leave home and they won’t be there waiting for me to come back.
The very idea of love is bittersweet, because nothing exists forever, as much as we’d like to fantasize that it does. Like I did on my trip, the characters of Bittersweet, Alabama will discover many of the good and bad parts of falling in love, but I promise to always give them what we can’t have in real life: A Happily Ever After…Forever.