Return to Love
Featured Song: “Don’t Cry” by Seal
This book is definitely one of the most difficult I’ve ever written, at least as far as subject matter goes. I should probably clarify and say that Colin and Jana’s story overall was difficult, which would include the books that follow.
When the idea came for this story, as with everything I write, it came as a story. I didn’t decide to write about domestic violence. It was simply a valid conflict that I saw coming between two people who needed to be together. In spite of my lifetime fascination with psychology and human nature, I look back and feel like I was just a baby in regard to tackling such a real and sensitive topic. I went through a bout of very real depression, but I was also given some miracles. I came in contact with more than one woman who had survived domestic violence and their insights helped a great deal. I was also guided to an organization that helps displaced and abused women. I attended a six-week course along with some of these women, and two of the counselors there read my manuscript, afterwards giving me a very humbling and overwhelming tutorial on some of the realities that I had missed.
In many cases when I deal with a difficult issue, I avoid making the plot too dramatic but offer points of discussion that will apply to more dramatic cases. (For example: the rape in “By Love and Grace,” and the emotional abuse in “First Love and Forever.”) With this story, I knew I had to make the situation bad enough that it could validate almost every woman who had lived with the horror. Because it’s so difficult emotionally for a woman to walk away from this kind of situation, I didn’t want my story to imply that because it wasn’t as bad as real life, the solutions didn’t apply. Originally I had the hero do more rescuing, and I was taught how vitally important it was for Jana to take the steps to rescue herself. There are rarely knights in shining armor waiting at the door in real life. Of course, this is a romantic novel. But I needed the hero to be there waiting, not making the important decisions.
Ironically, this book went out of print after some policy changes occurred in the LDS publishing industry. The issue of Colin and Jana’s moral problems which resulted in a pregnancy were deemed something they wanted to avoid endorsing. Let me clarify that I respect that decision and I understand why the industry needed to make adjustments. I just wish this story hadn’t become a victim of the changes. Still, I believe the story was inspired and that it’s done a great deal of good. It’s my hope that anyone who is living in a violent situation, or knows someone who is, can find a few tools and principles in this book that will push them toward a new life.
I’m glad to say it is now available again with the grand technology of e-books!