For those of you who are familiar with Barbara Avon's books - My Love is Deep, Briana's Bistro, and The Christmas Ornament - you will know that the strength of her writing lies in the honesty and sincerity of the voices that populate her novels - and most importantly, in her ability to tell a great love story. It is obvious that the Niagara native, like the fictional characters she has created, is a true believer in love and romance, and a passionate one at that, and this comes through both in her writing and in the way she has chosen to live her life. Self-published from the beginning of her career, Barbara is a fiercely independent artist, in the true sense of the word, for whom writing is both a craft and a labour of love, as well as an expression of her deepest, most compassionate self.
Interview With Anthology Ottawa
Barbara, who has passed on so much affection to her characters, and through them, to her readers, readily acknowledges that she has drawn strength and inspiration from her parents, and from her husband - who encouraged her to publish her work in the first place: "I have always believed in true love because I've witnessed it first-hand. The love my parents had for one another is an example of the type of love I'm referring to. They immigrated to Canada, and experienced loss and sickness and all kinds of hardship. Through all of that, their love never wavered. They would snuggle on the couch together and call each other the pet names they'd used all of their married lives. I will admit that in my own search for "the one," I felt at one time that love had passed me by. That is why I was so incredibly sure that my husband was the one for me. He didn't give up when I played "hard to get." He didn't disappear when I voiced my concerns and fears. He stayed and instead, did his damnedest to make me understand that he wanted me, come hell or high water, always and forever.
For Barbara, love and romance are two different things: "To me, there is a difference between romance and love. Romance or "sweeping someone off their feet" is not the same as everlasting love - which is when your partner has seen you through your worst times, has faced life's challenges with you, and still plans to love you for the next hundred years. Love is forever, romance is fleeting. Over the years, my views on love have always remained the same. I have always been adamant about finding "the one." I have always maintained that should I never find him, I would rather be single for the rest of my life. Of course, that is not to say that romance should be ignored. Date night, even between married couples, is extremely important. It allows the world to disappear for a while so the couple can focus on one another, so they can be reminded of why they fell in love in the first place. Romance is a tool, so to speak - and love is the outcome of being shaped by that tool.
"Like every true believer - and I understand that there are fewer of us around these days - Barbara believes that romance and love play an ever more important role in a world that puts less and less value on human intimacy and connection: "Too many people are jaded these days - but I think everyone seeks love. Love stories, like the ones I write, resonate with people because they remind us of the way love used to be, of the kind of love that existed between our parents or grandparents. They give people a sense of hope, that regardless of what happens in the ever-changing, fast-paced world around us, one thing - the desire to find unconditional love - will remain constant and untarnished in our hearts. Waiting for true love is a thing to be treasured. We all seek it, and finding it is hard, but once you have it, you feel like the richest person alive."In a world where casual hook-ups have taken the place of dating and romance, the main character of Barbara's novels,
Peter Travis - a chivalrous, honorable gentleman who is deeply in love - seems strangely out of place. And yet, Peter Travis appears to have hit a chord with Barbara's readers, young and old alike: "So many readers have said that they can relate with Peter's story or that they've fallen in love with him. Peter Travis is every woman's dream. He's a throwback to the type of gentleman you see in old movies. He's intelligent, funny in a sweet, sarcastic sort of way, patient, kind, generous, hardworking and in Briana's words, "incredibly sexy." He's made mistakes in his life, but he owns up to them. At the same time, he won't put up with nonsense, sees betrayal as the ultimate sin, will do the right thing no matter the consequences, and will fight a man's fight if he has to. But what makes Peter Travis every woman's dream is that, despite everything else, Peter knows that the one thing that matters in life - the only thing that matters in life - is that you have to fight for what you love: "Fight for love, as it is everything." What woman wouldn't want all that?"For those who have given up entirely on the idea of true love, Barbara suggests that they take a cue or two from her main character: "I absolutely want the younger generation to learn a thing or two from Peter Travis.
It makes me sad to think that today, too many people have given up on the idea of courting. Playing the field is something that everyone does at some time in their lives, but it's not everything. Anyone born before 1990 will tell you that they grew up in the "best era" - and it was the "best era" because we weren't playing with gadgets and apps all the time. We were choking back the butterflies on our first date. We were obsessing about what to wear for that special night. Men were serious about their intent to propose marriage. "Till death do us part" literally meant, "I will love you and be your life partner until the day one of us is taken." I want that for our children and for their children, too. Love should never die. It's not an old-fashioned concept. It is the most remarkable magic."
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