We’re so pleased to welcome author Mary Calmes to The Novel Approach today to chat a bit about her upcoming novella Lay It Down. Enjoy and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win an e-copy of the book. See below for details.
Inspiration Comes in Weird Ways
There are those stories that roll around in your head for literally years. All authors have them, the ones where you’re not quite sure of the specifics, or even the characters, but you have that one scene that holds you in thrall, and a general idea of how you want things to work out.
I have two and Lay It Down is one of them.
Years ago (and I do mean years—1985, which TOTALLY dates me), I watched this movie—with Stephanie Powers—called Deceptions. In it she plays twins (Sabrina Longworth/Stephanie Roberts) and they switch places. Now, in the movie the rich twin goes to live with her sister’s family in suburbia, and the poor twin ends up shacked up with a millionaire on his yacht. Of course, the poor twin dies, blown up if I’m remembering correctly, because the bad guys are really after the good one for art smuggling or drug trafficking or something like that. But it’s a romance, so the family wants the aunt when all is said and done—Mom was no good at that point—which, as a mother now, makes me really sad because hello, replaceable, but that’s a whole other blog post. The point is the twin thing and how long this idea has been rattling around in my head.
So, originally I was going to write a book where the twins switched and we’d get both stories. And the rich twin was going to be my focus—having him learn what things are really important and all that—but somewhere along the line, that changed. And because this is me, no one can die because if his brother dies, in real life that would kill the other twin and cast a shadow over the entire book. So my brain is kicking this around, and I was going to call it Switcheroo, and the rich twin gets stranded and has to deal with poor twin’s life. But how would that work? Maybe poor twin was failing all his classes, life is going down the toilet, so rich twin sweeps in and takes over his college coursework as well as his job…and that could be fun, the whole rich twin sort of floundering in poor twin’s life, waiting tables, dealing with homework etc. But if rich twin is a pampered princess, is he the smart one? If the kept one is smart, why is he content to just be kept? It’s like Jory and Aaron Sutter; that was never going to work. Jory’s too bright to hang out at the pool all day. So again, more churning in my brain, and I get to it being the poor twin who has the business savvy and the rich one who’s tired of his life and wanting to run away. But why? If you’re living in the lap of luxury, what do you get tired of?
Last year I watched Sense8 on Netflix and if you haven’t watched it, I would recommend it. Just the details they’ve included are glorious if nothing else grabs you. A few of the people in there I knew from other things, one of them being Miguel Ángel Silvestre. He plays Lito, and suddenly my brain had the romantic secondary character for my twin story. I have no idea why that story, why not something else? But my brain is a dark, scary place, so suddenly there is Miguel, fully realized, and I needed to figure out what his story was and why he’d have a twin in his life.
Sometimes the secondary character gets filled in first, and then the main character grows out of my need to find a mate for this glorious creature I created. I need someone who deserves the love interest, who would be his match in every way, and who would inspire him to be an even better person than he already is. With Miguel, who is passionate and smart and loyal and kind, maybe he made a mistake on the first twin—but the second twin, that’s the one he needs because they’d have the same drive to create something and drive business and help others. So out popped Hudson, who has gotten the shaft for most of his life, is prideful, helped to inadvertently nurture selfishness in his own brother by doing everything for him, and who doesn’t realize when he’s the only one needed. Miguel needs to be truly loved, Hudson needs to lay down his armor and allow himself to be loved. That sounded interesting. I hope it’s interesting to others as well.
Blurb: Paradise can be hell.
Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.
Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.
Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.
About the Author: Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.
**Contest Deadline: 11:59pm Eastern time on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. One winner will be selected on the 16th, release day, and the book will be delivered directly to the winner’s Dreamspinner Press bookshelf**
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