Cass E Ritter

On the Road to Publishing

Can you Tackle Abuse in a Contemporary Romance?

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I Write Romance
I like an HEA (Happily Ever After). What can I say, I am a romantic. I like to think that every woman has someone special destined for her. That flutter in your heart or in your belly when you look past the wrapping at the soul that resonates with yours. The joy of just being in their presence. The warmth when they touch you, or even just look at you or smile. The reassurance that you’re not alone, that you’re supported.
Strong Women
Having said that, my women have or develop strength as well as healthy sexual confidence. They become women who could easily live fulfilled lives without men, but why should they? I write them their ultimate bonus, their Mr Right and they love with heart and passion.
Many women are not born strong and self-assured. Others start out with too much arrogance for their own good. They develop skills out of necessity. As heroines, I find women who deal with adversity and come out the other side the most interesting.
Hot and Sexy
Yes, of course. Romance needs everything from tender moments to bone-melting sex. As a writer, you can choose to allude to the most intimate moments, but I like it steamy and erotic. I do not write gratuitous sex. I am not into crude depictions. You can be explicit without having to cringe. As an organic part of a story, I like the thrill of reading and writing erotic love scenes.

But…
That is all well and good, I hear you say, but what does it have to do with the question I posed in the title?
Remember I said I like writing about women who deal with adversity? What is more adverse than a background of abuse?
When I created Sonya, I knew she would have had it tough. The more she developed, the more I found out about the sexual abuse and exploitation as well as the systematic denigration of her as a human being.
Would opportunities of a fictional character to break a life-limiting cycle of abuse and meet her romantic other half offend real-life abuse victims? Would Sonya be criticised for being unrealistic because it isn’t that easy to overcome the consequences of abuse.

… This is the Other Side.
Abuse is far too prevalent in our society.
Physical abuse.
Sexual abuse.
Emotional abuse.
Neglect.
To name but a few. It affects men and women. Abuse is serious and devastating. It destroys lives and some victims never move on, never get over it. As such, it is not something to trivialise or ridicule.
However, others learn to live with their past and carve out a new life. Therapy can work. Friends and family can help. Recovery is possible. Rebuilding a shattered ego is hard work but with time, education, and caring, self-confidence can be restored. Closure can be found.

New Questions
Does a (recovering) victim not have a right to love?
Can a fictional character not create hope when she finds someone special enough to accept her hang-ups and phobias and not give up on her?
Can a work of fiction not raise awareness?
Can a story provide inspiration?

My Conclusion
Yes, you can tackle abuse in contemporary romance.
Sonya is a wonderful character. When we first meet her, she is 28, an empty shell unable to function in society, awaiting the death of her much older husband. The story spans 15 years during which her recovery is enabled, she gets an education and meets the man she’s destined to fall in love with.

Empowered: Sonya is a romantic novella with a main character who lives through adversity, deals with it and becomes an advocate for other women, so she deserves her HEA.

Empowered: Sonya is to be published on 20th March 2015

Author: Cass E Ritter

Cass E Ritter is author of the In Memoriam Duology. The Lost Soul and Stolen Time tell a story of lasting friendship, forbidden love and sizzling passion. In Memoriam by Cass E Ritter Following the news of the death of her former lover and the father of her child, our heroine, Nina, embarks on a journey to remember a secret, unconventional love across a generation, as she pens their relationship spanning a decade and a half in explicit detail. The Lost Soul explores Nina's early friendship with Lom, during which he saves her lost soul from the ravages of emotional neglect caused by her parents’ alcohol abuse. It chronicles Nina's growing confidence and emerging love for a man who cannot be hers. In Stolen Time, chance reunites Lom and Nina and they resume their affair. The story, a tale of rekindled passion, life choices and the trials and implications of a secret May to December love, takes us from stolen weeks in Germany to stolen hours in England. Cass is aiming to publish The Lost Soul in July 2014 and Stolen Time later in the 2014.

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