Remember Kris Allen? He was the winner of the 8th season of American Idol. Kris did that amazing rendition of Kanye West’s Heartless. It was the same year that Adam Lambert was the runner-up, in an upset that I think surprised everyone.
January 2009, my daughter had just been born and if American Idol isn’t tailor made for weepy, breast-feeding women, I don’t know what is. Because watching that season I was obsessed with the fact that Kris Allen – 23 year old Kris Allen had JUST GOTTEN MARRIED. Yes, his age was mystifying to me (which is weird because I was 25 when I got married, but maybe it was just because he and his wife looked so young, so wide-eyed). But that he’d just gotten married to his long-time sweetheart no-less, and his life was about to radically change – worrying about them kept me up nights. Well, that and the newborn. But still, lots to think about as I rocked in a dark room.
Was this marriage going to work? Could it handle the sudden wild trajectory his life was going to take? Could it handle the highs and lows of this kind of career? Could she push aside the things she wanted to do in order to travel with him? What kind of compromise would this ask of her? Would he realize what she was giving up? How were they ever going to find balance or equality in this relationship?
And Kris was a handsome guy, with a sweet grin – girls everywhere LOVED him. That added a whole new dimension to my worries.
Anyway, years later when I started to think about writing a book about a couple who had gotten married too young and divorced soon after only to meet ten years later under radically different circumstances – I thought about Kris Allen. (This is a lesson in how television watching isn’t always a waste of time).
That book turned into Crazy Thing Called Love. Billy Wilkins is a young hockey player who, just after getting married, get’s drafted to an NHL team and his childhood sweetheart and new wife, Maddy gets swept under the tsunami wave of his career taking off.
They break up because the balance of power is totally off in their relationship. She’s sacrificed too much, he doesn’t see that and they are just too young to understand how to make it work. And when they reunite ten years later – she holds all the power because he needs her. Not just to save his career, but his thread-bare soul. The road is bumpy and windy as they figure out how to forgive and find not just the love they’ve always shared but equality and happiness.
When I started telling people how those long nights worrying about Kris Allen’s marriage inspired Crazy Thing Called Love – I had to find out what happened to them. And they’re fine! They are, in fact, about to have their first child. So, Happily Ever Afters’ for everyone!
Check out an excerpt of Crazy Thing Called Love below!
Molly O’Keefe published her first Harlequin romance at age twenty-five and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring each character’s road toward happily ever after. She’s won two Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice awards and the RITA for Best Novella in 2010. Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she now lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband, two kids, and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America.