I didn’t really fit in at my creative writing classes. Each week we would have to read out our homework assignment in front of the rest of the class.
The old ladies described vast landscapes from their childhoods as practice for their memoirs. The not-quite-middle-aged men wrote snippets of science fiction or convoluted postmodern nonsense to make them feel intellectual.
I rocked up and with shaking hands and a faltering voice, read my stories about strippers, adulterous presidents and cross-dressing Victorians.
The difference between me and them was that I wanted to write about people and more specifically about the relationships between people. I wanted to know what made a great love story and even better, what made a heartbreaking tragedy. I spent pages and pages describing a certain look between characters or the inner monologue of a suitably bereft lover.
It took a while for me to realise that I am essentially a romance writer. I thought I was penning great literature, but in truth I am not bothered by metaphors or intricately woven political messages. I love love stories and there is no greater love story than a man and a woman publicly vowing to spend the rest of their lives striving for mutual happiness.
In this day and age, when you don’t have to get married, I think it is a huge gesture when a couple decides to make that commitment. Nine times out of ten, most couples don’t really realise the magnitude of their actions until they are stood at the altar, hearing the words come out of their mouths. I absolutely adore the fact that my job is to watch that moment of realisation and attempt to transcribe it into a literary legacy, so that when they read it back in years to come they feel equally as affected and overcome.
I’ve written a lot of love stories in my time, from secret stories in the back of my exercise book about boys we had a crush on, to lengthy duologues set in a coffee shop for my drama degree. I started writing love stories before I even knew what love was. I started writing before I even knew how to craft a story.
My own story to this point has not been straightforward. In my other lives I’ve moonlighted as a barmaid, television runner, visual merchandiser and most recently a civil servant protecting England’s heritage. I did not even intend to get married, let alone create a career in the wedding industry, in a job title that didn’t exist. But as any writer has to do, I created a world and now I am living in it.
Sometimes when I’m sat at the back of a ceremony room with my trusty notebook, surrounded by someone else’s friends and family, I laugh at the thought of what I’m doing. But then, when those same family and friends start coming up to me and telling me stories about the bride and groom, reminiscing about their own personal relationships and asking me when they can read the story, I know that this new world I’ve created is not so fantastical after all.
It’s just a slightly rose-tinted one in which people are not afraid to admit that they’re a sucker for a love story, too. Click here to check out my personal favourite love story books.