You've found the home on the net for romance writer, LaVerne Clark. Thanks for visiting! :)

I write suspense and light fantasy/paranormal set in the beautiful country of New Zealand. A land of myths and magic, Aotearoa (Maori for Long White Cloud) has always been a storytelling nation and it is my pleasure to share mine with you.

Make yourself your drink of choice, stay a while and feel free to leave comments. I love to meet new friends.

Heartpounding suspense and fantasy Downunder

Monday, August 15, 2011

True Love Stories

For a shy person, the thought of big, social occasions can be daunting, causing sweaty palms and a racing heart. I considered myself to be one of those, until I realised that for the writer, they are a wonderful way to glean fresh ideas and learn about conversation, body language and human nature. I found the best way to interact with people is to get them to talk about themselves - and lets face it - a lot of us like to do that : )

My favourite question of all to ask is: How did you and (insert partner's name here) meet?
It never fails to amaze me the myriad ways people connect and fall in love. And for a romance writer, this is sheer gold, not to mention fascinating stuff - plus it has the added bonus of potentially making some new friends. Suddenly, the social occasion became something for me to look forward to instead of dread.

My own story is a little like a romance novel: Girl falls in love with big brother's best friend, he ignores her for years. She blossoms into a woman and he finally notices her - but does nothing about it. Girl gets engaged to another even though she still loves brother's friend. He realises he's made the worst mistake in his life and has lost her. Girl has car crash, totals car and our hero declares undying love to her with the thought of really nearly losing her. And as you can see from the picture below - they live happily ever after (most of the time!)  : )  - Oh, and if you're wondering about the jilted fiance, don't worry - he was the toad ; )

I'd love to hear your own stories if you'd like to share them.


  1. I was in a blue funk when I decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my divorce. I bought Chinese take-out, a bag of chocolate cookies and a bottle of wine. Yes, I was determined to have one last pity party. I was alone, the kids grown and my ex-husband just married to the best friend of "lady" with whom he had a child during our marriage. Yes, it was complicated. I was stuck in the pain phase and not moving on. Later that night in the middle of a crying jag and a wine-induced, sugar-hazed moment, I went online and filled out a profile for

    The next morning I sat straight up in bed, hands over ears so they wouldn't fall off my hung-over head and I mumbled, "That had to be a dream. Surely I didn't put myself out on the internet for all the wackos to find...surely..."

    Yes, ladies, I had. At the age of 55, you'd think I'd know better. Sadly, no. And did the wackos find me? They came in droves. Oh, the horrors!!!

    Then, a gentleman sashayed into my mailbox on a jazzbeat and a smile. "I see by your profile that you majored in English in college. So did I. I taught English for 40 years. I see you like to write. I'm finishing my second novel. I see you enjoy used bookstores and flea markets, as do I. Would you be interested in striking up a dialog?

    At last, thinks I, a sensible introduction. We emailed for a month and then moved onto instant messaging. Then one night, he asked for my phone number so he could call and talk. As soon as I heard his deep voice, like dark velvet, with a tint of Southern accent, I was lost.

    We met for the first time at a Barnes and Noble bookstore. He was standing by the door, holding a bouquet of red roses. I was charmed. We were mearried a year to the day of his first email. That was 8 years ago...and life just keeps getting better.

  2. I love your story, LaVerne! It WOULD make a great book. And your family picture is much better than Beckham's! (the one Posh twittered) - though that was really sweet, too.
    OK, back on topic.
    I'd given up on finding anyone - EVER! Started my first job as a registered nurse and needed to do one week of orientation. First day of orientation the leader asked me if I was dating anyone. I said I'd kissed enough frogs, no not dating. She kept on me all week - I've got a guy for you. I said no thanks. No. Thank you very much, but no. Uh, that's a no. By the end of the week she got me to agree to talk to him on the phone. We did, but it was the night before he left to ride his bicycle from BC, Canada to So. Cal. I thought, hmm, that's interesting. Weeks later, we talked more and agreed to meet for pizza. I wanted an easy out, if I didn't like him. Finally met. No fireworks or bells and whistles BUT throughout dinner I kept thinking I knew him from somewhere. He felt familiar. The only way I can describe it was - I recognized him.
    Never met. Grew up on different coasts of US. By the end of the evening I thought - I'd go out with him again. We did. Got married one year later.
    I think what I recognized about him was - he was supposed to be my future husband!
    And yes, that orientation nurse went on to think of herself as a master matchmaker, however we were her only success story. Ever.
    30 years later... : )

  3. Laverne How brave of you!

    To put your personal life out there for everyone to read about.
    Every relationship has its ups and downs and testing times. And mine was no different.

    I met my husband when he and his father came out to our farm in the boondocks to fix our water bore.... wait for it the boondocks in question was Clevedon in South Auckland... I know you have to be a millionaire to own a few square metres of that soil now but then people actually felt sorry for those of us who lived there. How times change.

    Back to the story...The old saying the road to true love is often rocky would apply to us. As we watched Tangiwhai we looked at each other and laughed...oh brother did that story line sound so familiar.
    At 14 and 16 our families decided we were far too young to be "going steady"...young love never're too young to know your are not going out 16 DH wanted to take me to the father's response..."she's too young. Give her time to grow up."
    The pressure was intense. Both families did everything in their power to break us up. In my late teens I succumbed to the pressure and went out with other guys...but when I found myself comparing these poor guys to my young love realised I was being so unfair.

    When we were of age, we thumbed out noses and said we're getting married. We were as poor as church mice but we were happy. I made a vow then that I've never matter who my children chose as partners I would never interfere.

    The families eventually came around but it took a while. My late father n law had the grace to apologise to me 30 years later. I nearly died of shock...I didn't think he had it in him.

    Almost 50 years later...I guess we've proved them wrong.
    We have faced some pretty daunting road blocks during the years...even a period where...but I won't go there. The rough spots evened out. We've faced incredible sorrow and it's been my husbands strong shoulder that's carried us through.
    I have no regrets.

  4. Amazing love story, LaVerne. And the pic of husband and child are adorable!
    I met my husband in a bar. He made a pass. I turned him down. He asked to take me home. I told him I didn't know him but if he was serious about seeing where I lived, he could follow me home and come in to meet my mother. He did. He asked me out the next night but couldn't remember how to get to my house (which was in the boonies) My dad took me to a store to meet him. He didn't show. And just as I was about to admit to my dad that I'd been stood up, my hero rode up in the passenger side of a beat=up pick up. His car had broken down and he'd hitch-hiked to the store. My dad then took my hero and me to the spot where his car broke down. My dad found a busted radiator hose. While hero & dad are fixing car, I'm handed a jug to fill with water from a creek on the side of the rode. I fell in.Dad fixed hero's car. Then hero and I went to his house to borrow his dad's car. I met his parents with one wet, muddy, pants leg. 18 months later, we were married. And this past June, we celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary.
    Who says you can't meet a nice guy in a bar? lol!

  5. Vonnie, sigh... I love your story. And you and Calvin truly sound like a match made in heaven. I'm so glad you found each other - and what a way to do it! : ) I reckon your story would make a great book!

    Hi Lynne - lovely to see you here and thanks for loving my photo - it's one of my favourites too. Gabrielle is such a daddy's girl - only now she's almost 3, she and her brother prefer to play-fight with their dad. It is a VERY noisy household now! Your story is beautiful. Do you still see the orientation nurse who brought you together? I bet yours is a story she loves to repeat to a lot of people!

    Hi Shirley - thanks so much for sharing your story. True love really does stand the test of time doesn't it? And its always a work in progress. My hubby and I have been married almost 13 years and the future still excites me with him at my side. I hope our marriage remains as strong as yours. Almost 50 years! Wow - I'm in awe. What a celebration you two have coming up!
    Oh - and I saw the Tangiwai movie the other night too. Heartbreaking stuff. I bawled like a baby. I thought the actor did a fantastic job as Bob, and as a cricket nut, I loved the cameo roles from a couple of current Black Caps as the South African bowlers.
    Do you still live in Clevedon? I love it there - used to graze my horse there and part of my current WIP is set by the river on McNicholl Road. Beautiful spot.

  6. Hi Lilly, wow - what a way to meet the in-laws - both of you! hehehe. At least you had a great ice-breaker to giggle about at his parents place. And your dad sounds like a real hero too. They say we often try to find a man to equal the good qualities in our fathers. My own father is a kind, gentle man - but wouldn't know what to do in that situation. He's pretty handy at calling a garage though!

    Your own hero was persistant wasn't he? He knew a good thing when he saw it obviously and didn't want you slipping the net!

    Congratulations on a wonderful achievement of 31 years! Woohoo! We'll be celebrating the reverse of your numbers - 13 - in November.

  7. I don't live in Clevedon but if you drive to the end of Ness Valley you will see a grove of mother planted the acorns for those.
    So your story is set in McNicholl Road...did you know Sandra Hyatt lives on that road?

    In my day it was called Settlement Road and the house on the corner by the bridge was the Presbyterian Manse...and two doors up in the old two storey house lived Old Doc Cheeseman...he was a great old guy.
    When my mother had a poisoned leg Dad asked him to visit.
    He asked "Is she in bed?"
    When dad said she'd taken food down to the haymakers...his response. "She's not sick enough call me when she's in bed."

    In the Hauraki Gulf we were first in line for an expected Japanese Invasion... the threat was so real that family legend goes that on the Christmas night when mum was in labour with me and Dad dropped the other children at a her house she woke her husband screeching. "Jack! Jack! The Japs are here!"

    I was about 8 when the memorial Cairn by the river was unveiled.

    For years there was an wooden house boat moored by the old river bridge. Old Mr Coutts lived on it and everyday he fed the eels. People would come for miles to watch the spectacle... then one day while he went to town a group of young men caught all his eels and killed them and left them lying dead on the created such a furore you have no idea... locals put up a huge reward to catch the culprits... the old man died of a broken heart so if you're looking for a ghost...
    Did you know Prince Charles played polo on the grounds past McNicholl Road on his first visit to NZ as a young man.

    And when I eventually go to meet my maker my kids have promised to spread my ashes under the oaks of home.

  8. Actually - the era you grew up in Clevedon would be a wonderful one to write about wouldn't it Shirley? I now live in the South Island, but go up to Auckland every Christmas to visit family. I adore Clevedon and we often go for a family day trip to the waterfall for a picnic lunch.
    I'll make sure I head to Ness Valley to check out that grove of Oaks - what a romantic story that is!

  9. You are so right LaVerne. Until I started writing about it I'd forgotten so much. When I've finished with my current project I may just revisit this earlier time.

  10. I believe Jessie Munro is in the process of writing a history of Clevedon. She also wrote the Biography of Sister Mary Aubert the nun who pioneered the settlement of Jerusalem on the Wanganui River. I was Jessie's reading mentor at primary school.

  11. Your story is very romantic :) Thanks so much for visiting and commenting today at Under the Tiki Hut. And for following. I'm going to follow you as well as soon as this comment posts.

  12. Hi Carol! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love your place Under the Tiki Hut. What a great place to hang out : ) Did you know we call the greenstone carving of a taniwha - or monster) with his tongue sticking out a "tiki". Its a common necklace here in NZ. Does it mean something else to you? How cool is that if so!