When the idea for The Forbidden came to me, I wondered whether I should write it at all.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m quite a newbie in the romance world having only been on the scene for under five years. But however little that time, I’ve learned bucket loads, and I’ve learned that there are some readers who will not even entertain the subject matter of The Forbidden. They’ll be outraged. They’ll berate me. They may even tell people not to read the book. These worries plagued me for about sixty seconds before I started writing. This story needed to be told. So I wrote it. And then I typed “The End” and I wondered, again, what I must be thinking. Would people get me? Would they read it with an open mind and consider the angle I’ve taken on a subject that is considered taboo? Maybe. Maybe not. Ultimately, this is a love story. An epic one. It’s a love story weighed down by secrets, heartache, pain, frustration, and conflict, but it’s also full of hope, happiness and strength. Jack and Annie are the most normal, relatable characters I have ever written. Annie could be you, or she could be me. Jack could be any man that you see on the street every day of your life. They are real people with real lives. And a very real problem. Their love is forbidden.
I always knew this book would spike a certain level of conflict with my readers. I’m pretty sure many will be shocked that I’ve written this story. But, as I’ve always said, I can’t let fear of negativity dictate what I write. I absolutely never want my readers to be able to predict what they’re going to get from me. Every story I give them, I want them to go in blind and maybe a little apprehensive. The Forbidden is thought provoking. It’s raw, and it’s real, and I truly hope that above everything else, my readers appreciate that. Love isn’t always blissful. Sometimes, loving someone can carry dire consequences. Sometimes, it can destroy you rather than fulfil you. Sometimes, you just have to go with your gut, run the gauntlet and hope that everything works itself out in the end, because as far as your heart is concerned, there is no going back. Even if your mind and your sense are demanding you to walk away. To protect yourself from the inevitable agony and judgements.
The whole point of this story is to open the minds of my readers to something they may have always considered wrong. I want to take them out of their comfort zone and make them question what they thought they knew. I want them to finish The Forbidden and ask themselves this:
Would I give up on someone I loved so deeply? Would I give up on someone I knew wholeheartedly was supposed to be in my life?
You can’t control what other people think. You can’t control what your heart tells you. There’s only one thing in this life that’s certain…what is meant to be will be. No matter what. And if love between two people is truly meant to be, it isn’t really forbidden.
The Forbidden by Jodi Ellen Malpas is published in paperback by Orion, 10 August 2017, £7.99