The Character I Identify With Most
Many authors identify with their heroes. In my case, my ‘hero’ is an actual superhero. He’s also more villainous than his nemesis.
The Lovesick Series, made up of Lovesick Gods and the new release Lovesick Titans, has two equal protagonists – Danny Grant, who is secretly the Lightning Elemental superhero Zeus, and Malcolm Cho, better known as the Ice Elemental thief Prometheus. The real villain and antagonist of the story is both a separate villain, Hades, and the emotional hurdles faced by the characters as they grow closer and try to find a relationship through their difficult pasts and behaviors.
It’s not a spoiler even for the first book to say that Danny isn’t being his best hero self at the start of this tale, as he immediately decides that the only way to get out of his recent depression is by hurting someone who once hurt him—Mal. He wants Mal to fall in love with him just so he can break his heart, and hey, getting some no-strings-attached sex isn’t a bad bonus.
Now, I never enacted any sort of elaborately cruel scheme like this, but the portrayal of Danny’s bipolar depression, how he acts out, how amazing his supports structure is to bring him back, and having a partner who forgives and relates and still wants to be with him, is all a reflection of my own experiences.
Too often we try to ignore mental disorders and disabilities faced by the people around us, or maybe we simply don’t know how to help. Sometimes talking is enough, sometimes medication is needed, sometimes it just takes time and patience, or maybe a combination of all the above.
It was a very therapeutic process for me to write this story and to pull Danny through the worst of his rock bottom and back on a road to recovery. We think of heroes as invincible, especially in comic books, which this tale is largely inspired by since I am a comic book geek, but what makes them well-rounded and interesting is when they reflect us, and we see that not even the ‘best’ of us is ever perfect or even okay some of the time.
And it’s okay to not be okay.
I’ve had many fans tell me how impactful reading this was for them, because they’ve been there too, and seeing a real portrayal of depression with a real ray of hope at the end gives us all a little more strength to push on.
I was writing this long after the brunt of the worst of my depression had passed, and yet it still snuck up on me as something I didn’t realize I needed to tell as a unique story. This series makes it finally feel like a chapter I’ve closed (however much I continue to cope each day) through characters I adore, with an emotional ride of angst (but I promise with a happy ending) and the enemies-to-lovers trope turned on its head in a way I could not be prouder of.
I hope anyone who enjoys comics, superheroes, rollercoaster romances, or who just needs to read about a relatable character at their darkest moments gives this tale a try.