by Kimila Kay
April 7, 2022
When my marriage fell apart after six years and two kids; I felt lost. Suddenly single at twenty-five, I didn’t know how to date, let alone be a single mom. The phrase; “trial by fire”, describes the nine years I traversed my new normal.
Of course, I’m a cliché, marrying my high school sweetheart, which meant I didn’t date other boys like my girlfriends. Through the blush of youth, I thought I’d found true love, and for a few years, I believed my first husband and I were happy. And then he wasn’t. His final parting words haunt me to this day. “I’ve worked my whole life,” my twenty-seven year old husband had said. “And have nothing to show for it.” The reality that I’d married such a selfish man took some time to sink in. That he didn’t see the value of the beautiful sons we shared, our nice house, or our commitment to each other … stuns me to this day.
Stepping into the dating world as an inexperienced dater was terrifying. Oh the stories I could tell about a struggling, single mother … who might’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places. Perfect fodder for my female heroines and characters.
For instance, in Peril in Paradise, Clara is lured into bed by her college boyfriend, which results in a pregnancy he doesn’t want. Clara chooses to have the baby and raises the child on her own. Years later when Damian sweeps Clara off her feet and they marry after a whirlwind courtship, I mined my own experiences asking familiar questions. What makes us fall in love so quickly? What keeps us from seeing the evil behind the handsome smile? Why do we lie to ourselves?
Thankfully, I never dated, or loved, someone as evil as Damian, but looking back on my single years I sometimes wonder how many Damian’s I might’ve dodged?
My character, Katelyn, in Malice in Mazatlan, has never married but, like me after my divorce, has dated plenty. Finally, she thinks she’s found her forever person only to catch him cheating with his assistant one week before their wedding day. While I too caught a cheating spouse, I didn’t quite go to the extremes Katelyn does when she flees Portland for Mazatlan. But who hasn’t felt the overwhelming need to run away from their troubles? Pretend they’re not heart broken in a tropical paradise? Enjoy one too many margaritas with a handsome stranger?
Harley in Redneck Ranch is jilted in a more painful way, stood up at the altar. Harley’s anger over her failed nuptials leads her to buy a ranch, sight unseen, in Stoneybrook, Oregon. When she arrives from New York and is greeted by a menagerie of farm animals she didn’t know came with the ranch … dating is the last thing on her mind. But can she resist falling for Wyatt, Stoneybrook’s no nonsense sheriff, especially when he’s the one who stands between her and a deranged killer.
The definition of foolish is: Lacking good sense or judgment; unwise.
I like to think of myself as intelligent, with good judgment … But in my younger years, when it came to men, I could be a total dunce. So my female characters suffer, or benefit, from the poor decisions of my youth.
My novels are more suspense with a touch of romance, but who doesn’t want to cheer for characters like Clara, Katelyn, and Harley? Hoping they find true love with the handsome hero and fade into a romantic sunset?
Foolishness can sometimes lead to wisdom. Help your heart recognize true love in a good man. Allow yourself to be loved, live happily ever after, and … be part of the perfect cliché.
Kimila Kay lives in Donald, Oregon with her husband, Randy, adorable Boston Terrier, Maggie, and feisty black cat, Halle. Her professional accomplishments include three anthologized essays in the CUP OF COMFORT series. In three separate contests, Peril in Paradise, has won two first place awards, and a third-place award in the romantic suspense category. Malice in Mazatlan is scheduled for release in fall of 2022 and Redneck Ranch is tentatively scheduled for early 2023.