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Sandra Brown: What I’ve Learned About Love

Brown_Deadline_HCNew York Times best-selling author Sandra Brown made the transition from writing romance to thrillers more than two decades ago, but, happily for those of us who love a good love story, the Texas native still manages to incorporate a good romance into her novels.

Her latest work, Deadline, is no exception. It is the story of Dawson Scott, a respected journalist, who is back from Afghanistan trying to recover from his experiences, when he gets a call from a source inside the FBI that sets him hot on the trail of domestic terrorists who have eluded capture for decades. Along the way, he finds himself developing feelings for the ex-wife of one of the subjects of his investigation and her two young sons, even as he becomes a suspect himself.

As the author of 62 New York Times bestsellers, Brown has had a lot of time to write on the subject of love. But more importantly, she has lived it, having been married to husband Michael Brown (with whom she has two children and four grandchildren) for 45 years.

In this exclusive interview for eHarmony, the winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Lifetime Achievement Award shares what she has learned about love.

eH: What do you love most about your life now?

SB: I’m in a good place all around. Career-wise, I work just as hard as ever, but I love the work. I have four grandsons, and grandchildren are a special blessing of being this age. I’m enjoying my children now as adults. We can be friends, and I’m best friends with both, as well as with their spouses. My husband, Michael, and I don’t have to account to anyone except each other. We have a freedom we didn’t have when we were younger.

eH: Is it more important to be loved or to love?

SB: Loving and being loved are equally important. You might not recognize love when it’s extended to you if you’ve never extended it to someone else.

eH: What is the hardest thing about love?

SB: The hardest thing about love is accepting how imperfect human love is. It’s wonderful! Glorious! Blissful! But it’s always going to be flawed because people are flawed. Only God’s love is perfect and absolute.

eH: When would you say was the first time you really found love?

SB: I remember a moment: Michael and I had met over the summer while working together. In the fall, we returned to our respective colleges, which were in separate states. For the next couple of months, we wrote letters. (This was long before email and texting. We actually used the U.S. postal service!) I counted the days until I could see him again. I opened the door to him, saw his smile, and felt this burst of joy. I knew I would be crushed if he wasn’t in my life for good.

eH: How do you know if someone is The One?

SB: I advise anyone not to look for a partner that you want to be with when everything is happy and sunny. Instead, seek the person you want with you when times are the darkest. He/she is The One.

eH: What do you think one needs in a partner to make the relationship successful?

SB: Humor. Be lovers, but also be good friends.

eH: What advice would you give to those struggling with self-love — and those who are still looking for love?

SB: I know of many relationships that failed because one partner tried to make the other happy. It’s exhausting to keep your head above water while trying to buoy someone else. It’s also impossible.  You flounder in disappointment until you drown. So I would advise that one not enter into a relationship where one partner is dependent on the other for happiness, or – worse – where you’re co-dependent. Each individual is responsible for his/her own happiness, and that’s found within, not without.

eH: Did becoming a mother deepen your ability to love?

SB: Parenthood taught me patience to an extent that it had never been tested before! I learned that it’s okay to be mad at someone you love to distraction and would lay down your life for. I would go so far as to say that if a parent doesn’t get angry at a child for breaking rules or for behaving irresponsibly, then maybe that parent doesn’t love the child quite enough.

eH: How do you think being a public figure has affected your ability to find love and be loved?

SB: I wasn’t a public figure when I met my husband and had my children. But I credit my family for helping me realize my dream. My husband was 100 percent supportive when I began writing, and he continues to be. To my children, I was and still am “mom,” not Sandra Brown. They’re not nearly as impressed by the name and photo on the book jackets as they are by the amount of hard work I had to do to get here. They continue to be my staunchest fans, who love me no matter what.


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Image courtesy: Andrew Eccles