I’ve used a few of my favorite quotes as epigraphs of my books. One of my very favorites will be the epigraph of Joey Pagano’s book later this year. It’s by Willa Cather, from her novel Death Comes for the Archbishop:
“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”
My very favorite theme in romantic literature or film is love transcending death. I am a complete sucker for that kind of story. Truly, Madly, Deeply is my all-time favorite romantic movie. If you haven’t seen it, and if you love to cry great howling sobs, then you must see it. In that film, there is a particularly beautiful scene in which the characters quote from a poem by Pablo Neruda, who was hands down the most amazing writer of love poems in the history of the written word. The poem they quote from is called “The Dead Woman,” and the last stanza just nails me:
If you no longer live, if you, beloved, my love, if you have died, all the leaves will fall in my breast, it will rain on my soul night and day, the snow will burn my heart, I shall walk with frost and fire and death and snow, my feet will want to walk to where you are sleeping, but I shall stay alive, because above all things you wanted me indomitable, and, my love, because you know that I am not only a man but all mankind.
Great love to me, is love that endures through real hardships and doesn’t get derailed by bullshit. It’s honest and raw and, above all, respectful.
I have a lot of that in my own marriage, but you know what? My love inspiration is a dear friend of mine, Sarah Osborne. She and her husband, Oz, were together for thirty years, and they loved each other so damn hard. They loved and they fought and they laughed, and they stuck together through everything. For a lifetime.
They were the inspiration for Hoosier and Bibi, the leads of Dream & Dare, in my Night Horde SoCal series, and they are my own inspiration as well. Oz died last summer, and I consider it one of my great fortunes that I got to meet him and spend some time with him. He was a really great guy. A good man. And Sarah is a strong, amazing woman. She is indomitable.
John Pagano is the “good son” of his family, the one among his brothers who has always done what was expected of him, who was never a disappointment or a trouble. He’s built a good life in that quiet space. But he’s not happy. Despite the strong foundation of his family, his work, and his town, John is missing what he really wants: something—someone—of his own. A family and home that’s his. As he’s gotten older, that need for what’s missing has begun to make cracks in the foundation of his good life.
Katrynn Page has had no such strong foundation of family. The product of an unconventional upbringing, she has learned that love is a wavering, unreliable thing. Working with Bev Pagano at Cover to Cover Books, becoming close friends, Katrynn has spent her years in Quiet Cove as an honorary member of the Pagano family—just close enough to really see all she does not have, has never had. Everything she most wants.
John comes to see that Katrynn is what he’s been missing. Katrynn comes to see that John is exactly what she wants. But a drunken encounter gets them off to a disastrous start, and Katrynn must first find it in herself to forgive John and then learn to trust him, and herself, enough to believe that love can be steadfast. She will have to take a leap of faith. The Pagano Family series is about a large Italian-American family living in Quiet Cove, Rhode Island. Each book is about a different adult sibling.