When I first entertained the notion of writing a romance, I joined the Mid-Michigan chapter of the Romance Writers of America. I discovered a wonderful group of supportive people, so full of encouragement. Several were published authors, and I sought out their books so that I could emulate them. Maris Soule was one of the successful authors I followed. She had several books in the Silhouette line at Harlequin, and I read most of her paperbacks. Recently, Maris has been taking some of her paperbacks and re-releasing them as ebooks. This is a very time consuming effort, so when she announced her most recent project, I asked her to tell us about it!
Thank you, Patty, for inviting me to talk about HEIRESS SEEKING PERFECT HUSBAND. This book was created back in 1997 when Silhouette tried a new line of romances called Yours Truly. My editor said, “The idea is that sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince Charming. These books will feature women in the process of finding Mr. Right.”
I loved the idea. I didn’t get married until my late twenties. During those pre-marriage years, I dated and kissed a lot of men. They might not have been frogs, but they also weren’t Mr. Right. And then I met Bill.
Actually, I’d dreamed about Bill as a child. Before I was even a teenager, I knew I wanted to marry a redhead with blue eyes. And there he was…dating my upstairs neighbor. I believe in Fate, Kismet, Divine Guidance, whatever you want to call it, and my upstairs neighbor was often late. So, while Bill waited for her to show up, he and I would often talk…about everything from the art professor who was driving me crazy to the work he was doing with mentally challenged students. And then, one day he came to see me, not my neighbor. They’d broken up, and he was asking me out.
That was 50 years ago. We’ve been together ever since.
Now, Bill was an active Marine during the Korean war (I’ve been told, over and over, once a Marine always a Marine), is muscular, and (from what I’ve heard) was in a few bar fights in his younger years. In other words, he’s no wimp. So, when I was writing HEIRESS SEEKING PERFECT HUSBAND, I decided I needed to visit the Detroit, Michigan area to visualize exactly where my hero Clint had lived and my heroine Shannon now lived. I asked Bill to drive me over there. Our first shock was how downtown Detroit looked like a war zone: empty buildings, boarded up windows and doors, and rubble everywhere. (I understand it’s improved somewhat.) From there we drove north to Grosse Point, where I’d placed Shannon’s home. There I saw gated estates with large expanses of lawn and huge houses. Definitely a contrast. (Which is one reason why Clint, in the story, doesn’t feel worthy of Shannon.)
In one scene, Shannon drives herself from her estate to a building in Detroit where Clint works with at risk students on his day off. It’s not a safe area, and one Clint has warned her to stay away from. I wanted to see what the drive would be like and what the area would be like. All I can say is I scared my husband…and me. As we drove through rundown neighborhoods with groups of young men hanging out on the corners and in front of bars, Bill kept saying, “We need to get out of here.” And when we turned onto a dead-end street by mistake, he made the fastest, tightest U-turn I’d ever seen that car make. I don’t think either of us gave a sigh of relief until we were back on the freeway, heading for our home in southwest Michigan.
Now when I ask Bill to help me research a book, he gives me this questioning look, and I have to assure him we won’t be going anywhere dangerous.
Last year I released HEIRESS SEEKING PERFECT HUSBAND as an e-book. Here’s a bit from the story.
No,” she began, then stopped, the pieces falling into place. One piece stormed through the door. Motorcycle helmet in hand, his white shirt open at the neck and the sleeves rolled to his elbows, Clint strode toward her. His look was fierce. “What in the hell are you doing here!”
Shannon wanted to step back, but forced herself to stand where she was. Boldly, she lifted her chin and looked him straight in the eyes. “I’m talking to Don. What are you doing here?”
“I told you to stay away from this place.”
“And I told you I would go anywhere I pleased. You are not my father or my husband. You are not even my lover. You’re my chauffeur.” She lifted her eyebrows. “Or are you?”
He stood directly in front of her, his chest expanding with each breath he took and a muscle along the side of his jaw twitching with his anger.
“Just what exactly did John hire you to do, Clint? And this time I want the truth, not another lie.”