Romance in novels has been a driving force in stories since the dawn of time, from the legendary Egyptian myth of Seth being brought back to life by his love Isis to Bella and Edward in Twilight. Love is something every human wants, so choosing to write love into your story is usually a very sound plan. Certainly most stories out there can and do put romantic love in the center of them but for the writer looking for a more unique angle perhaps a different sort of love may work better. If you’re stuck for ideas of different sorts of love than look to the movie, “Love Actually’, as it was the perfect showcase for all the sorts of love out there. There were the romantic loves of course, like the innocent romance between the movie stand-ins John and Judy and the Prime Minister David with his secret love for his catering assistant, Natalie, to name a few, but there are other stories of love that I… well…loved. The love between the rock singer, Billy Mack and his manager, Joe is a great example of love. A friendship is a type of love and not because its romantic but because its based on true shared values and goals in many cases. They build a relationship between them without even knowing it. When Billy gets everything he thinks he wants back into his life, he realizes it means nothing without the man who helped him do it. Is that not the definition of a true life-long love? I think the best story in that movie was between the new widower, Daniel and his stepson, Sam. After suffering a devastating lose, Daniel and Sam are facing a future together that could go either way. They are not blood related and the only bound between them is gone so now what? Daniel is scared Sam is withdrawing into his own private world and doesn’t know how to reach him until he finds out Sam has a crush on a girl at school. It’s the chance to help his stepson so Daniel helps him find his way to her side. They find love for each other as a true father and son. They create a new bound based that will last forever. I’ve explored different sorts of love in my novels and used them to build solid stories around them. In Rachel Wicks and the newly released sequel, Rachel Blackburn, I have my main character take on a marriage simply for the love she has for her friends. It takes nearly everything from her, especially when her husband turns out to be an abusive brute. She dares to fall in love with a man out of her reach only to lose it. In the second book, she dares to try her hand at romantic love again with the man she loved once before but there is another man in her way. She can’t just chuck it all in and forget about finding love and peace in her love because she has a daughter that she must continue to try to go on for her. There are many sorts of love in Rachel’s story and it drives it forward. In my third novel, The Starlings of Chatham Street, due out on March 15th, 2013, I leave romantic love far in the background and plunge deeper into the love between friends. Four women must work and bound together to escape the hell of life inside the workhouse. If there were no love to work with the story would never find a proper footing, so don’t simply put it aside, it can always work for your story. Take these different kinds of relationships and use them to build the right sort of relationship your novel needs. A battle story may not have room for a romance but there is always room for bounds between friends. A story about siblings hating each other can use a mutual conflict to help them find peace and love between them. It’s a big world out there and there are countless ways to bring people together. Let your imagination soar!