I have the absolutely wonderful pleasure of introducing one of the sweetest people I’ve met. Do give a warm welcome to Posy Roberts!
* * *
At twenty years old I was teaching a marriage communication workshop and was well on my way to becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist. I’ve worked with couples and parents helping them solve various struggles since the mid 1990s, and if there is one truth that has made itself known time and time again, our family of origin is very influential. It is where we learn what to value, how to communicate, to apologize and to manage our emotions. Sometimes those skills and values are set forth by parents in a very methodical way, and in other homes, life simply happens and children are expected to learn how to cope on their own. And we bring lessons into all our future relationships, whether in a conscious or an unconscious way.
When I set about writing the North Star Trilogy, I knew I was going to need to step deep into this family saga that affects several generations. In the most simple fashion, the trilogy is a story about two boys, Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus, falling in love as teens and then reconnecting again as adults in Spark, where they need to decide if they want to continue their relationship. But in my head, it was never that simple. The story was really about two men who had very different experiences with their father’s as they grew up. Hugo’s dad was kind and compassionate, but he also had a terminal illness. Kevin’s father was an overzealous prick who tried to control everything Kevin did, but ended up pushing his son away and essentially teaching him how to lie and to ignore many of his emotions. Both boys ended up craving fatherly approval, no matter how different their relationships with their dads were. And when Hugo and Kevin reconnected as adults, the shadow of their dad’s still hang over them years later in varying degrees. (Hugo and Kevin’s teen story is also adapted for young adults in Private Display of Affection by Winter Sandberg.)
Throughout the trilogy, it is obvious Hugo and Kevin love each other, but they run across several speed bumps. Some are tiny and easily overcome, like the fact that Kevin is a father; and both men’s relationships with their fathers play into how they relate to Brooke and Finn. Hugo never expected to have kids, so dating a father opens up a whole host of feelings from his own childhood. And then enters Erin, Kevin’s soon-to-be ex-wife, adding even more complication due to some life altering news. While Spark is a fairly light-hearted story, Fusion is very much a second-book in a trilogy. Even from the cover image Anne Cain used, you can see it is dark. Hands are not cut off and no one falls into a cavern, but it is not a light a fluffy romp. There is loss and suffering and conflict. Hugo and Kevin are forced to face challenges they never expected. They are given the wonderful opportunity to be proactive in their growth rather than reactive to their family of origin habits. And in facing these struggles, they both grow up. They also have to decide if they are truly ready to take on the challenge of being partners, parents, and a family.
So if Spark is about forming Hugo and Kevin’s relationship and Fusion is about joining their lives together, then Flare is about how their newly defined family fits inside their already established lives. It’s about thriving, or at the very least, learning how to live more fully. Flare is also about Hugo and Kevin fighting for each other, for the kids, and for the life they are consciously trying to create for the whole family. Again, this goes back to family of origin issues, but rather than blindly going about life and hoping Brooke and Finn turn out okay, Hugo and Kevin end up making very deliberate choices to support the kids the best they can, as well as each other.
Hugo and Kevin knew they should be together all the way back in high school, but life took them in very different directions. When they have a chance to continue their relationship as adults, life’s circumstances have other plans for them, but they know they are meant to be. They decide to fight for each other. They decide to fight for the family they want to nurture together, even if the world around them doesn’t quite understand their “alternative” family and tries to keep them apart.
Posy Roberts lives in the land of 10,000 lakes and loves that the healing nature of water is just outside her door. She prefers a clean house, even if she can’t keep up with her daughter’s messes, and enjoys foods that are enriched with meat, noodles, and cheese. She also loves people, even though she has to spend considerable amounts of time away from them after helping to solve their interpersonal problems at her day job.
Real life is what Posy writes about, particularly men in love that face both mundane and extraordinary circumstances. Her characters have to find a way to make their relationships work, even when all hope is gone. Families are often at the heart of her stories, and she’s not afraid of digging into some deep psychological issues where characters are challenged with difficult choices.
Posy is married to a wonderful man who makes sure she eats while she documents these lives. She also has a remarkable daughter who helps her come up with character names. When she’s not writing, she enjoys karaoke, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make normal seem more interesting.