DATING A HERO
It Ends in A Pool of Bliss
A date arranged through an internet dating site, starting with a conversation by the river. She is very much taken by the American immigrant’s good looks and intelligence.
After a night of passion with this businessman who is as kind as he is attractive, things take a sudden turn. His past catches up with him and after a trip to Afghanistan, he needs to return to the States for good. She is now faced with a choice between staying behind to continue her life as it was or giving up everything and following the man of her dreams after such a short acquaintance.
Will she take the plunge or stay in the security of her own, familiar environment?
The Book's Creation
Dating A Hero was an experiment in style. It is the first, and thus far, the only book, I wrote in the first person (I) from the point of view of the female protagonist. She speaks of her male counterpart in the second person (you). Not once are names mentioned, either in direct, nor indirect speech. Still, it works.
My idea was to write it in a way that you wouldn’t even notice that names were missing while reading the book and a few people have told me, they didn’t even realise names were missing until they wanted to speak about the book, which generally requires talking in the third person (he, she, it), and therefore you notice names missing.
The setting itself came about from a family outing, walking in the sunshine along the River Rhine in Cologne and taking a boat trip to see the sites up and down the river. It was a lovely, sunny afternoon and my children, my mum and I had lots of fun. When we walked along the waterfront of the old, medieval part of town called “Altstadt” (literally meaning “old city”), which has outside areas in front of bars and restaurants overlooking the river, we saw quite a few couples laughing, flirting and kissing.
I’m a sucker for love, I freely admit that. I love seeing people happy together, being affectionate and kissing and flirting. I’m not one of those people who believe public displays of affection are out of place and should only be done out of sight of others, indoors, like something shameful and dirty. What’s wrong with showing someone you love and care about them? Kissing is a beautiful thing and light flirtation with your partner keeps things spicy and hot. That’s my opinion of it and you are free to differ, of course.
Anyway, this summer’s day of love with exceptionally many couples around kissing, laughing and flirting gave me the idea for the storyline of this book, Dating A Hero. In many aspects, it is as happy and sunny as that beautiful afternoon I spent with my children, even though the theme is very adult in nature. However, the happiness and lightness is an energy I carried over into the book.
Nonetheless, Dating A Hero doesn’t lack depth, and so there are some challenges to be overcome and fear to be faced and dealt with in a constructive way. It also shows how a loving and supportive partner will not hold moments of weakness against you, but rather, encourage you to grow beyond your current self, expand and reassure you that you are still loved, despite or because of the fact that you are human, infallible and imperfect, that you are loved for your little quirks as much as for your strengths.
True love means to support each other also when the free expression of what makes the other one happiest and most fulfilled is not always in line with our own personal preferences. In Dating A Hero, the make protagonists leaves for a while to do what he feels is his duty, according to his personal sense of honour, which also has an impact on the relationship. But instead of sulking and condemning, the woman who loves him supports him in it and understands that he needs to do this, even though she would much rather have him stay home with her without interruptions.
In the same way, he honours her life choices and never demands, even when he hopes she will decide in a way that goes in line with his own wishes. He allows her the same freedom to make her own choices without trying to force her decision by making her feel guilty or setting ultimatums. And he is very considerate and caring in return, as well as appreciative of her presence in his life, which he shows her in many different small and greater ways.
Dating A Hero is also a call to not underestimate the power of those small gestures, which will, consistently applied, carry a relationship much further than one-time grand gestures. My intention for Dating A Hero was to transport this message on many levels and different life situations, whilst remaining a light, entertaining (and hot!) read throughout.