Romance is far and away one of the biggest selling genres, but for me personally, it’s not my favorite. Imagine my surprise when I realized I’d written a romance trilogy in The Island. Not romance as a sub-plot, but an actual romance as the main story.
For me, alpha males and weepy damsels-in-distress are major turn-offs. I don’t write books about weak women (although Lauren grew into her strength in Empath). So when I write a romance it’s about two people who bring out the best in each other.
More than anything, Galian is not your typical romance hero, but he is your typical guy. He’s self-absorbed and chafing under the pressure of expectation. Deep down, he does have a good heart, but it takes him a bit to do the right thing. Theo is the push to do the right thing for him. She expects him to be as good as his word, and to use his princely powers for good.
Theo, on the other hand, is a woman who’s never known safety. A child soldier, she has been alone all her life and has to take the responsibility for others. When they first land on the island, she’s the one that saves them day-to-day by finding water and food. Galian is the safe space for her. By him stepping up, she can delegate some of the responsibility. But even more than that, he’s the one place where she can be completely honest. In The Chasm and The Union, that becomes an invaluable part of her ability to do what she does. Even when she pushes him away in Union, he still stays beside her. (Squish)
In developing these two people, I really wanted them to fit together like puzzle pieces but remain independent. When they’re apart, Theo pines for Galian, but she doesn’t sit around moping all day and vice versa. When they’re together, they’re equal parts sexy, comfort, fun, and relief.
But having been in a few relationships, I know that just because you’ve announced “Hey, we’re together,” doesn’t mean things are always great. Even without plot devices and separation, characters don’t suddenly change. After the main twist mid-way through Union, Galian becomes complacent, and Theo’s right there to remind him to pick it up. It was an interesting addition to the already high stakes, and it felt right that he’d act that way.
In the beginning of Union, Theo begins to doubt her feelings for Galian, mostly because she hasn’t been able to have any time with him. Coupled with the stress of her secret mission, she’s barely able to remember his face, let alone have time to miss him. Galian’s reaction? “Then I’ll just make you fall back in love with me.” He’s got enough confidence in their love to bring her back from the brink. #feels