Take it away, Marie…
Love stories, for me, are just as much about real-life issues as they are escapism, so writing my new book, Third Take Is the Charm, I wanted to explore the fantasy of three people falling in love with each other, while grounding it in the reality of money trouble, grief over lost loved ones, and other everyday struggles. I find the triumph of the fantasy all the more satisfying and moving when it’s packed with details that I can still relate to in my own life.
Straight up, I’m about as vanilla as it gets when it comes to my real life. I’m married to an accountant. We have one mortgage, one dog, and one car. Lots of us who read and write romance are vanilla. (And lots of us aren’t, wheeeeeee!) So what is it about the fantasy of menage or poly love stories that appeals to me when they’re so far from my everyday, lived experience?
It’s not just the kinky stuff, but let’s talk about that for a minute. Everyone’s got their thing, and for me, the idea of two partners instead of one is right up there with Jamie Bell dripping wet with rain, confessing his undying love for Channing Tatum as the Holy Grail of Hotness.
Anyway, what was I saying? Extra hands, extra mouths, extra other things… All of this adds to the fantasy of letting go and giving up control to partners who’ve taken your happiness as their priority.
But for me, the sex stuff isn’t nearly as fascinating as the relationship stuff. It isn’t nearly as fascinating as the question—“What would it be like to fall in love with more than one person, and to have them love you back?” Now, to be clear, I’m not talking about a love triangle that looks like two dudes competing for the same gal. No, I’m talking about a polygon with multi-directional arrows, maybe a curve or two, and more than one snarl per side.
I’m talking about a story that puts this front and center: no two people in love can be all things all the time to each other, so what happens when “two people in love” isn’t endgame? What happens? The best thing happens.
It becomes possible to revel in all your favorite relationship dynamics at once, because different dynamics satisfy different needs in a poly love story. There’s my personal favorite:
There are also the sides of the polygon that don’t have to be sexual but are full or romance, or are sexual but completely lack romance. There’s the casual intimacy that comes with years of proximity and affection—the slow motion helmet tap, if you will:
There’s the lonely girl behind her camera who finds something beautiful but broken in the relationship she’s filming and steps out in front of the lens to fix it.
People enter into relationships for a near-infinite number of reasons. In writing those relationships, why limit yourself to just one or two? Multiply a green-card-marriage by the sexy roommate by the tattoo artist by the hot alien and… I don’t know what that would be. Maybe don’t do that. But you get the idea! Menage/poly love stories can be about the kink. Oh, yes. They can be about the kink. But they can also be about a whole bunch of the ways that humans (and/or aliens) can love each other—simultaneously. And I love that.
Don’t miss Marie Lark’s new book, Third Take Is The Charm, out now from Loose Id:
All her life, filmmaker Melody Gellar has wanted to tell the perfect love story. Recently widowed and with her thirtieth birthday looming, she decides that now more than ever she needs to remind herself what true love looks like. With a passion for erotic cinema and an eye for chemistry, she finds two male dancers with a long history together to play the lovers in her film.
Francis and Denny are electric on screen, but Melody quickly discovers she’s stumbled into an actual romance—one that neither of her stars have acknowledged and that threatens to push them apart. Worse, Melody begins to fall for them both from behind her camera. With their troubled, violent past dogging their every step, Francis and Denny need Melody to come out in front of the lens, to tell her own story with them—to make their happily ever after.
Sometimes the third take is the charm.