At the root of any romance novel is the relationship between the main characters, we tend to approach reading (and writing) them with a particular formula already set in our minds. Like most things in life, anything straying outside of the norm jolts us out of our fictional daydreaming. It takes a bit more effort to understand and appreciate the beauty of them.
From the outset, I knew Elaine and Alim from The Misguided Confession wouldn’t fit the standard mould. Their romance is real and built strongly by the both of them. It’s just not like others.
Elaine is quirky, offbeat, autistic, and romantically different. She expresses her emotions in a way some might find unusual. Her relationship with Alim might be considered equally eccentric.
Of all my characters, Elaine has the most in common with me. As we’re both autistic, I modelled many of her interpersonal struggles after ones I had faced with my husband. Well, minus the creepy zealot who wreaks havoc on Elaine’s world.
In the process of writing The Misguided Confession, I wanted desperately to stay faithful to showing the truth of a relationship between an autistic and a neurotypical (or non-autistic). It’s not typical. It’s certainly not easy, but most definitely real—real love.
Love is often a finicky business. Alim learns early on, as did my own husband, that often a relationship with an autistic requires a healthy amount of compromise. Elaine feels emotions deeply but doesn’t always know how to identify or express them.
They soldier on together. Their souls and hearts meeting in ways they never imagined possible. Maybe it’s not typical, but it works for them. It’s deep, meaningful, and special.
My hope is when readers approach the novel—along with Elaine and Alim’s relationship—they do so with open hearts and minds.
Love is love, after all.
Love is love.