A long time ago I was driving around in my green Volvo station wagon in Columbus, Ohio.
There are ten million stories that could start this way, but the story born that rainy morning would become an entire book, the first book of a series of books, and I would write a blog post about this book on Random House’s romance blog and people everywhere would read it and love it or hate and talk about it and buy it for themselves or their sisters, meanwhile, I would be little embarrassed but also, so glad and happy and proud.
I am getting ahead of this story.
I was in the green Volvo, and it was rainy, and it was Columbus, Ohio, so people are objectively horrible drivers, so I am paying attention more than usual, and so I see it.
A navy blue, early model limousine, rusty and peeling, with a darker square where the service sign used to be on the side, and a young woman driving.
I wanted to pull over, I was so overcome with this sudden idea, this vision, of a young woman at some low point of her life, who has been forced to requisition an old limousine for her daily transportation.
I could see her, so clearly – in my imagination I made her a skinny redhead like my kid, and I gave her the name that I was named for the first few days of my life before it was changed – Destiny.
I hardly ever talk about the stories I’m thinking of or writing, (except now, with other writer friends who understand while I can’t stop talking about imaginary people), so my husband was kind of bemused when I started talking endlessly about this heroine and her limo.
At first, I imagined this story as a screenplay.
Which, I have never written a screenplay, and have few connections to movie people, but that’s where I started, and I think it’s because the vision of these characters and where they lived and how they talked and what they thought about, how they moved was so crystalline I couldn’t think about the story, except visually.
Then there was this moment where I was drafting this story as something like a Young Adult book, and I think it’s because I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the other people that would populate this world and this book.
By the time I knew it was a romance, but still felt like I didn’t have it in the right frame, my editor had bought THE STORY GUY and was asking me for a series, and just like the whole book came to me when I saw that limo through the windshield of the Volvo, I suddenly saw the entire family. Their neighbors. Where they came from.
Who they loved.
I sat down and wrote the entire series treatment all at once, and it was right. These were the books I wanted to keep imagining.
Destiny Burnside has always been the heroine, but I had a strong sense of her hero, as well. Years ago I had visited Wales, and besides being beautiful, I was amazed at how well their culture and language was preserved and celebrated. I knew Destiny was a woman who valued her home, her family, her neighborhood, her friends, and I wanted her hero to share that value. Hefin is a Welshman, stranded in the US, who longs for his home.
Writing a “bad timing” romance means that you have to get deep with the reasons people make dozens of very small decisions and how they reflect on their decisions. In the case of LIVE, it also meant that the characters would need to see their decisions mirrored back to them by all the people they loved.
This was the joy in writing this book. I spent time with how good people with good lives change their lives. It meant looking over the course of my own life and the lives of those that I loved, and thinking about what happens at a cross roads.
I am so excited for everyone to read LIVE – to fall in love with Destiny and Hefin’s story. What happens when you meet someone at the worst possible time in your life?
Enter to win a Net Galley Preview copy here – a Rafflecopter giveaway
About the author:
Mary Ann Rivers was an English and music major and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing, publishing poetry in journals and leading creative-writing workshops for at-risk youth. While training for her day job as a nurse practitioner, she rediscovered romance on the bedside tables of her favorite patients. Now she writes smart and emotional contemporary romance, imagining stories featuring the heroes and heroines just ahead of her in the coffee line. Mary Ann Rivers lives in the Midwest with her handsome professor husband and their imaginative school-aged son.
Look for Laugh, coming in May 6, 2014.