It’s February, the month of love, and I enjoy reading about how people met and fell in love. My story sounds like fiction, but it really happened! I’ll share in a moment, but it wasn’t until after I got married that I became an author, and my marriage is what inspired me to begin writing in the first place.
I create tales of forbidden love, and my next book, Escape, due out this spring, is a story about a slave girl who is helped to escape from bondage by a young abolitionist who falls in love with her. I came up with the story idea when I began thinking about how sad it would have been if my husband and I had fallen in love 200 years earlier. Then, we wouldn’t have been able to marry, because he’s white, and I’m black.
Interracial love isn’t forbidden nowadays, but sometimes it still tends to be a sticky topic, so let me tell you how I met my husband.
I started running in 1993. It was a little hard at first, but I finally built up my endurance. After a few months I was running 5-7 miles every day after work. About a year later, my future husband Richard, noticed me.
But he’d only see me one day a week, and that was Thursday mornings, when my work schedule (as a librarian) was 12 noon to 9 p.m. On those days I’d run at 7 a.m. He couldn’t figure out where I’d come from, and he’d only see me sporadically.
Then one Friday evening during the summer, Richard was on his way to meet friend. He saw me running and took that opportunity to pull over his car and talk to me. “Excuse me,” he said.
I assumed he needed directions, but instead Richard said, “I’ve seen you running.” Well at that remark, I figured he was some know it all jock who wanted to tell me my technique was all wrong. I was prepared to thank him and be on my way. I’d read Jim Fixx’s book on running, and I knew all I needed to know about running (Jim Fixx died while running, so we won’t go there). The next thing Richard said caught me completely off guard. “I just want to tell you that I think you’re extremely attractive, and I want to ask you to lunch.”
The eyes are the mirror to the soul. Richard has beautiful green eyes and they look honest, plus he’s handsome (okay, he's hot) and having just met him, he seemed like a genuinely nice person (and he is). But despite all this I joked, “Okay, as long as you’re not a rapist or an ax murderer." He adamantly assured me that he wasn’t.
After two dates, we really liked each other. His mother, who lived three hours away, asked what I looked like. To this Richard replied, “She’s an—extreme brunette,” and left it at that.
We met in July, and by September we were talking about getting married. Now, around this time, he’d gotten information about his 10th high school reunion and he’d invited me to go. This meant I’d get to meet his parents. However, he still hadn’t told them everything about me, like that I’m black, for instance.
So, unbeknown to me, the day before we were to arrive, Richard called his parents. “By the way,” he said, “More than just Maria’s hair is extreme brunette—she’s black.” I’m sure there were a few long moments of stunned silence, but whatever else he said must have put their minds at ease, because our first meeting was a very pleasant one!
Richard and I met in July of 1994 and married in July of 1995. In addition to a wonderful husband and two amazing kids, my interracial marriage has given me a brand new career as a writer!
How did you meet the love of your life?
If you enjoy forbidden love stories--and want to participate in the Brother Can You Spare Sequel Contest--be sure to purchase a copy of The Governor’s Sons:
Twenty-three year old Ash Kroth comes from an old southern family of wealth and prestige. It is 1936, but despite this, and his driven political ambition to one day become governor, Ash recklessly pursues beautiful "Negro" college student Kitty Wilkes. Ash's life is forever changed because of Kitty, and 30 years later, as a segregationist governor, he must confront the consequences of his love for her.
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