|Liz in Michigan|
Please welcome Liz Flaherty, who tells wonderful stories about people you'd love to meet.
Hello, and thanks, Judith, for letting me come back to visit. I’m all excited about my new book, Every Time We Say Goodbye, a release from Harlequin Heartwarming. I love the book. I love that I was able to use Cole Porter titles throughout its pages and that—even though my setting has made-up names—people who live around here will probably recognize it.
But I don’t want to talk about that today. I don’t even want to talk about writing romance. Exactly. Because what I want to talk about is friendship.
Judith and I met on the high side of 20 years ago when Jenni Licata singlehandedly wrangled the organization of an RWA chapter. We became NIRA, the Northeast Indiana Romance Authors. The chapter no longer exists, but lives were changed by that group of writers. Of friends. I have had 12 books published; I’m fairly certain if Jenni hadn’t sent the letter that made me a part of that first little group, I wouldn’t even have one.
All these many years later, Judith and I still see each other a few times a year. We talk about kids and grands and quilting and church and writing.
I have friends I met on the first day of the first grade. We meet once a month and have lunch. We celebrate each other’s joys, mourn our losses, eat too much and laugh a lot.
Debby and I worked together for 30 years, often so in tune we could actually share a work station meant for one. One of my fears when I retired was that we wouldn’t be close anymore. I shouldn’t have worried.
I have close, dear friends in Georgia and Kansas and Florida and Ohio and—how lucky can one person be?--I have a sister and sisters-in-law whose friendships I love having. I have online friends like Word Wranglers Kristi, Margie, and Ava and more writer friends than I can begin to name—many of whom I’ve never met.
I don’t even remember how Nan and I met—I think we’ve tried to figure it out and possibly we’re both wrong. But friendship with her was an unexpected gift of being "of a certain age." While I cherished my old friends, I never expected to get another BFF. But I did.
And then there’s my other BFF, the real best one, the one I’m married to.
Oh, there it is. The full circle my favorite stories always are. Because along with being love stories, my books—and most other romance novels—are stories about friendships. The friendships, at least to the editorial staff—just kidding!--are usually secondary to the romance; we have to be careful that, unlike in real life, we don’t give them too much room. But the friends are still there, offering comfort and humor and fresh coffee.
Writing romance lets us try to put into words the special friendship that exists between people who fall in love with each other. I’ve always been glad my husband and I were friends before we were anything else. I’m even happier we’re still friends.
Speaking of full circle, I hope you’ll want to read about Arlie and Jack’s romance—and friendship—in Every Time We Say Goodbye. And, just to keep the conversation going, tell us a story about a friendship you’ve shared with someone.
[You can order Liz's book from Harlequin, online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And probably other places.]