I just read, and re-read, Steven Pressfield’s latest post, The Difference Between Subject and Theme. I urge you to pop over and read it. It has proven a good reminder to me for my present novel in progress, as well as for looking at books I’ve written.
My subject for The Loves of Ruby Dee is family relationships, which is the subject of all of my stories, and cowboys and women and the land and romance with all of these. The theme in the broadest sense is the old cliche ‘love conquers all’. However, narrowed down I think the theme of the book is that ‘love comes in many forms and all are valid and valuable’. And this includes self-love.
Ruby Dee is in love with each man in the story, a true, valid love for each. And she could no more throw that love away because one is too aged or one too young and wild or one too angry than she could her own life, no matter that there are choices to be made as to how to act on the love. Hmm…maybe I’ve come on another theme, choices in love.
I am currently working on the re-release of If Wishes Were Horses. (A novel long out of print, and have to say I’m surprised and thrilled with it!) The subject of this novel is the romance between two outcasts, but the theme is again that love comes in many forms. When I look at this, I realize that theme resonates through many of my books.
I think it is helpful to look at the themes in our lives. I have many themes, but not so strangely, I think it could be that love comes in many forms and all are valid and valuable, and the struggle to see and accept this. You miss a lot when you have rules for love (which I have often done) and don’t accept the love as it comes.
Years ago, with the publication of Cold Tea on a Hot Day, a very insightful publicist coined the phrase for the Valentine Series: Family is life, and life is to love, and miracles are indeed possible…
Come to think of it, that miracles are possible is another theme of my books, and my life.
Enjoy your day, and write.