All stories start with a single idea. 'Commitment Issues' came about when I was trying to work out why some people seemed so exercised at the idea of equal marriage. Given the soaring divorce rate, millions of affairs and numerous other damages inflicted on the institution, why would allowing same sex couples the right to legal recognition and protection undermine marriage when nothing else had?
I wanted to explore what marriage meant in the West in the 21st century. With equal marriage now a fact in so many countries, how were LGBT and heterosexual people adapting to the new reality? Why do some people rush down the aisle, when others delay the ceremony for as long as possible, if they ever get hitched at all?
Eventually a story started to form and I braindumped my thoughts onto the notes app on my iPad. Here is the very first outline of my novel, written on 8 January 2013:
Looking back on it now, I'm surprised how much stayed intact through to the final novel, though "Eric and Steve" became "Evan and Scott" about six months in to writing, when I thought those names were from the wrong era. The original opening line "First dates aren't meant to end like this." is now a little way into the book, as you didn't originally see the blind date, but found out about it in little flashbacks. I decided that was a cop out. If people were going to believe that someone would say 'yes' to a proposal on a blind date, they needed to see what happened. It did end up as the tagline on the cover of the book, which shows how critical I thought it was to the story. I'm also shocked that it took four years for me to feel the story was finished and ready for the world, all part of learning how to be a novelist. But that sounds like a blog for another day...