Your wish is granted!
Hello all my friends – I’m so excited to be a “guest” at this blog where I feel so utterly at home. I miss you guys! Since I stepped away from the blog a few months ago, I’d love to tell you I squeezed in an extra book, launched a new series, finally mastered Facebook, and decimated my TBR pile. Uh, not yet. However, I did finish a draft of the third Barefoot Bay novel, finalized plans for a new romantic suspense series (ahemGabe’sbookahem), snagged a few new FB friends, and read some amazing books. (Highly recommending Gena Showalter’s upcoming YA, Alice in Zombieland – amazing!)
But mostly, I’ve been hanging out with my teenage daughter, Mia. We’ve spent hours in the pool teaching Ginger to swim, mastered a new Wii game or six, and devoured every episode of the Bachelorette. We also took a trip to New York together and had an absolute blast!
During my years as a regular blogger here, I didn’t talk too much about Mia. I tended to keep her in the background since she’s not quite 15 years old and I preferred to pepper my posts with mentions of my son, Dante. I don’t worry about Dante. If some stranger decided to stalk him, Dante would argue them to death. But Mia is my girl, and I protect her privacy. However, she’s a regular here, and has read every blog post I’ve ever written prior to my publishing it, often lamenting that she didn’t get enough air time. I promised her a post…when the time was right.
I think that as I celebrate this week’s release of my first young adult novel, the time couldn’t be more right to also celebrate the girl who inspired it. Everyone asks us where we get our ideas, and this time I have a fun and true story that some of you may have heard. One night a few years ago, I stumbled upon (translation: was googling ex-boyfriends) an Architectural Digest article featuring the 25,000 square foot home of a man I’d dated quite seriously back in the ’80’s, and Mia walked into my office.
Once she unhinged her jaw and managed to breathe, she hit me with: “You mean if you’d have married him, I’d be living there? Mom! What is wrong with you???”
I explained that she not only wouldn’t be living there (because, trust me, this relationship wasn’t destined for an HEA) but she might not be living at all. Still, the conversation electrified my imagination and my first young adult novel was born.
Don’t You Wish came out yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited to dedicate the story to my daughter and recognize her role in helping it come to life.
Not only did Mia give me the idea for the book, she read every page (multiple times), offered feedback, corrected my teenspeak, held my hand when it was rejected, and rejoiced when we sold to Random House/Delacorte. And, last week, between shopping and sightseeing fun in New York, Mia accompanied me to meet the book’s editor and publisher, and found herself in the hot seat answering questions about YA reading habits and the books she loved. (They were awesome and showered her with free books, too!)
You’ve probably heard writers talk about the “book of their heart” — meaning a book that for some reason touches a personal chord and makes the writing all that more profound. This is one of those books. I’ve always been intrigued by the road not taken, the unanswered prayer, the big question of “what if I had done that instead of this?” The “be careful what you wish for” theme is the heart and soul of my newest book, and I hope the story resonates with young (and adult) readers.
In Don’t You Wish, average and unpopular Annie Nutter gets transported to a parallel universe where her life is picture perfect. As Ayla Monroe — daughter of the same mother but a different, multi-millionaire father — she is gorgeous, rich, the Queen Bee of her private school, sitting pretty at the very top of the high school food chain. But it doesn’t take Annie long to learn that the price for perfection is very, very high. Will she pay it and stay in the universe where she has everything she thought she wanted but nothing she really values? Or will she try and get back to her dreary, if content and solid, former life? Of course you have to read it to find out! (Or you could wait for the movie — Don’t You Wish has been optioned for film and the screenplay is done and being shopped. No news yet, but believe me, you’ll hear me scream when there is!)
I hope readers find my debut young adult novel as adorable, surprising, endearing, delightful, ahhh-inducing, and flat out fun as the girl who inspired the story!
Of course, Mia and I want to give away a copy! So…answer one question: Have you ever Googled an ex and gotten a surprise? Share!! C’mon, I did! Or just say hello – I miss you all and love to see the familiar names of the MSW community and some new ones, too.
One randomly-selected commenter wins a copy of Don’t You Wish signed by both of Mia and me!