I want to share this fact for a few different reasons because I think it is important information. I’m not the first romance writer to set a story between a member of the clergy and a parishioner; there’s the Priest Series by Sierra Simone, and The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz. I mention these two in particular because they were also written by self-professed Catholics. And while both books are graphic, super dramatic love stories that certainly push the envelope, they are done in a respectful(ish) manner.
In my telling of Rosalie and Sebastian’s story I wanted to tell a love story where hearts connect first. Sebastian struggles with his feelings for Rosalie, and the commitment he has for the Church. Rosalie deals with her own feelings in this book, having broken her marriage vows with no less than the Catholic Bishop of Chicago. I set out to create a love story that while sexy, is sweet and as respectful as one can be in this situation.
Without getting too personal, I also wanted to set Rosalie’s life in a more conservative religious setting. I wanted to show the perils that I witnessed of a woman’s lack of agency in more conservative religious settings. I witnessed this situation happen to countless friends who were pushed into marriage young, and then spent the next decade or so having children one right after another, sometimes not by their choosing, but led by their religion. I have countless friends who went through this only to realize in their mid-thirties, that the church had pushed them into their lives, and while they thought they had agency, their current situation was the cause a lifetime of indoctrination. In this community, I witness first-hand how the number of children one had determined social status.
While I witnessed first hand some of the ugliness and sexisim that is held within more conservative religious communities, I did not write this book as a cautionary tale or as some sort of vendetta. I simply wrote a love story about two human beings who fall in love with each other against some pretty significant challenges.