On Love and the Unknown
by Jen Christie, author of Queen of Stone
As a writer, I often hear the phrase “write what you know.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that advice. Writing about things that are familiar helps to create richer stories that quickly come to life. But sometimes writing about the unfamiliar—or even better—the things that frighten us can create an exciting story too.
My latest book, Queen of Stone is set in my home state of Florida and revolves around the unknown, both in an ancient cult and its enigmatic leader, and in the ground itself. Everyone knows Florida is famous for its sinkholes. News reports and videos show just how often the unbelievable can happen around here, when the ground gives way and swallows cars and houses, and all sorts of things that we depend on. Things that should never be vulnerable, and yet are. It’s a strange feeling to think the ground can’t quite be trusted, and yet life must go on as it always has.
I have a hard time accepting all those strange things science has an explanation for, but my heart just won’t accept. Like sinkholes. In fact, the state that exists mostly at sea level has one of the largest underground cave networks in the world. That’s unbelievable, and just a little bit creepy, and I can’t help but write about it.
What we take for granted we often don’t understand. And I place love squarely in this category. The idea of joining romance with unexplainable events, or with a cult that celebrates the unknown is different, I get that, but at the heart of it, love itself is unpredictable, takes no prisoners, and can literally open up right underneath our feet.
And yet we all know things happen to us that we don’t ask for, don’t even remotely believe might be possible. Including love. I think the reader and the writer that’s willing to stop and consider the great mysteries of life and love is richer for it. What things in your life have a simple explanation but still manage to get under your skin?
About Queen of Stone:
Uprooted by the Depression, Zara Pendleton heads south. She’s seduced by the steamy wilderness and by Navarre, magnetic leader of a reclusive cult. Theirs is a destiny shot through with feverish desire—and mortal danger.