Thank you very much, Sophie, for hosting me today. It’s the fourth stop of my blog tour for my book Avalanche. As usual, I will start with a short blurb to introduce my book to those who are joining us for the first time and then I will move on to today’s topic.
Blurb for Avalanche
This is a novel about friendship, maybe in its unusual, extreme form. The two main characters, Mike and Nick, meet in the Alps on a scientific expedition. They become very close, but struggle to place their relationship in the context of their lives. They fear that the bond between them will not survive outside their research hut, and that the outside world will present challenges impossible to overcome. But then a tragic accident changes their lives forever... This story is an investigation into the nature of ties between people, the limits of loyalty and the power of conventions.
A Quest for Emotional Maturity
Today I will consider whether or not the ability to love, the ability to forge a strong connection with a fellow human being is something we are born with, or rather something we have to learn and nourish. First of all let us define emotional immaturity, and not in abstract terms, but in two examples.
If you are ill, or have other problems in your life, and your partner is seriously concerned over it, what do you feel about it? Do you cheer it, because it shows that he/she cares? Are you anxious because he/she is troubled? The first one is usually a sign of emotional immaturity, because in effect your partner’s anguish makes you happy. What you’re doing here is using your partner’s emotions as means to your emotional ends, which can never be a good thing in a relationship.
When you are emotionally involved with someone, you do your best to keep this person in your life. Have you ever found yourself taking positive steps towards it, particularly at early stages of a relationship, when nothing’s set in stone yet? Steps like accompanying this person whenever you can, just to stay together, or trying to please this person by doing things you believe he or she likes. When you do things like these, what is your motivation behind it? In the vast majority of cases we’re driven by the fear to be hurt. We know that a break-up will cause us pain and we’re doing our best to cling on. The bottom line is that all such actions are self-serving. None of it is actually done to accommodate your loved one’s emotional needs. In fact, when we’re obsessed with someone we rarely consider his or her conveniences or fears. We just come and take and we call it love. Caring about your own pain alone in a relationship is usually a sign of emotional immaturity and one of the reasons why relationships break up in the first place.
This is exactly the mental state my characters are in in the first part of the book. They act out of fear to be hurt, rarely considering the impact their actions will have on the other party in the relationship. All their respective decisions are aimed at minimising their own pain, and by doing so they inevitably inflict pain on each other.
Nick’s and Mike’s spell in Chamonix ends in disaster for both of them and both end up in hospital, Mike - with heart problems; Nick - with a broken leg. But when in Mike’s case a simple surgical procedure solves the problem, Nick is rendered incapacitated for months to come. It puts an enormous strain on their relationship. Mike is torn between his duties to his family and his duties to Nick. Caught in a whirl that is his London life, Mike eventually comes to realise that he craves Nick’s company only in those rare moments when the fear to lose Nick gets hold of him. Despite all the practical help Mike provides Nick with, Nick feels used. In this state of impaired mobility Nick experiences everything in a more acute form. Eventually he decides that he’s suffered enough and opts to part ways with Mike, believing that their break-up can give him a long-welcome relief. This break-up leaves Mike in an absolute mess that gradually drives him to a psychological deadlock he cannot come out of.
When they meet again and reconcile they tread very carefully, doing their best not to repeat their past mistakes. It is in this state of emotional maturity that they are able to start building their relationship. The roller-coaster they had to go through no longer seems to be idle sufferings, but challenges they had to overcome in order to grow emotionally.
Avalanche is available on Amazon US at $2.90 - http://www.amazon.com/Avalanche-Xena-Semikina-ebook/dp/B00J2XS6FC; and on Amazon UK at £1.81 http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00J2XS6FC. ePub is available at the Apple store and Kobo at £1.99 and the equivalent in $ (sorry, don’t know the exact price as I have never caught a glimpse of the US respective stores).
Blog tour stops for Avalanche
1) 20 November 2014 Lane Hayes https://lanehayes.wordpress.com/blog/
2) 22 November 2014 Kim Fielding http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/category/blog/
3) 24 November 2014 Anne Barwell http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/
4) 26 November 2014 Sophie Bonaste http://sophiebonaste.blogspot.co.uk/
5) 28 November 2014 Shae Connor http://shaeconnorwrites.com
About Xena Semikina
Xena is a novelist and a lawyer in criminal practice, with a distant background in computer science. Writing has always been her passion, which she has been pursuing actively for well over a decade. She has written four novels and has published one, entitled Avalanche. She lives in London with occasional trips to the South of France and the North of Russia.
Xena can be found on Twitter at Xena5000 and Facebook as Xena Semikina. Her blog can be found here: http://xenasemikina.wordpress.com/