Like most writers, I spend a lot of time making things up. I never had a cluelessly-hot boss proposition me in a private plane. (I wish…!) Never been anywhere near a hike through the wilds of Nova Scotia (though my atlas and I were good friends while I was getting the geography right). I don’t know anyone whose father was a sperm donor and I don’t travel in the same social circles as self-made billionaires. But sometimes, just sometimes, I don’t have to look to my imagination to get creative in a book. That’s how the Anderson family found its way into Tempting the New Boss. A big, Irish Catholic family…now that’s something I don’t have to make up.
I’m the eighth child (seventh daughter) in a family of ten kids. So most of the things I put in the book about the heroine Camilla’s family were really about my own. I did grow up in Detroit in a sprawling, rundown Victorian (well, Tudor, but same difference). We did have so many pets that once our cat delivered mice-size kittens in the basement before we even knew she was pregnant. My family really did talk a mile a minute in a way that seemed overwhelming to outsiders (still does). In fact, the sheer decibel of my immediate family in one large room (if we can find one that fits us all) necessitates shouting just to be heard, which only exacerbates the problem. Add brothers-in-law and kids of our own as we grew up and my family can be downright deafening. So I’m in sympathy with Mason, the hero in Tempting the New Boss, when he finds breakfast with the Andersons more like watching a volleyball tournament than holding a conversation. But by now I’m so used to the congenial chaos that it’s hard to remember how crazy it seems to others.
The sister-to-sister talks in the book are true to life too, at least in tone if not content. A sister really will never forget anything. Once I stole my little sister’s diary (not sure how old we were, but definitely pre-teen) and she continues to bring it up, decades later, at the oddest times. At a recent Fourth of July picnic, apropos of nothing, she launched into an in-depth discussion of how I read aloud from the most soul-baring pages (which was obnoxious I know, but she was kind of a tattle-tale, so I’m sure it was in retribution for something she’d gotten me into trouble for). Patterns developed at an early age tend to always hover with sisters. When I was a baby, apparently I cried all the time (no documentation or visual evidence for that, by the way) and only my oldest sister could calm me. So it’s not surprising that even now she’s the one I turn to most for advice and talk to on the phone every Sunday. Needless to say, the older generation/younger generation patter between the sisters in Tempting the New Boss wasn’t much of a stretch for me.
But I left out of the book my favorite anecdote about growing up in a large family. This was primarily because nobody would believe it anyway and even if they did, I wouldn’t be able to get the tone right. When I was five years old, I fell out of a car (a station wagon of course) driven by my Dad and filled with most of my siblings. This was before seatbelts and the door hadn’t closed properly etc. etc. and was packed wall to wall with kids. But the amazing thing was nobody noticed! It wasn’t until the car was stopped at a light and Dad saw me in the rear view mirror running toward him that they even realized I’d been gone. I swear to God, that’s a true story. What I wouldn’t be able to get across to a wider audience, though, was how funny my Dad could tell that tale. And, just as importantly, how sincerely he could follow it up with how scared he had been. He’d always take my face in his hands and kiss my forehead and say something like “When I think about what could have happened…” And in that one moment, my Dad could convey just the right mixture of absolute love and absolute craziness that was and is the family I grew up in.
No matter how many books my family might slip into, I could never do that justice!
Tempting the Corporate Spy (Sleeping with the Enemy) | Alone with An Escort
Hidden Depths | Heart of Stone (Siren Publishing Classic)
An Earl of Her Own (BookStrand Publishing Romance) | Saving McCade (Siren Publishing Classic)
Mastering Lady Macalister (Siren Publishing Classic) | Drilling Down Deep