A little over a year ago, Jeannie Moon invited Jennifer Gracen, Jolyse Barnett, and me to write a continuity series together that would eventually be called Christmas in New York. I was all for it. But there was just one problem.
I’d never written grown up romance before. My forte was in the YA space.
With Jeannie’s encouragement, I began to brainstorm ideas. At the time, my son and I were planning a trip to Manhattan’s September 11th Memorial and I became consumed with the idea of writing a story about two people whose losses that day left them each deeply scarred. Since I recently lost my mom to breast cancer, I ended up writing that loss into the story — hero and heroine both lost moms. The story, A Match Made at Christmas, was well received and nearly every reader who left a review asked for the same thing: When will you tell Kara’s story? Kara was introduced in the Christmas book as Elena’s older sister. Abandoned by her baby’s father, Kara is nearing the end of her pregnancy and Elena returns to New York to help her sister cope, where she finds true love with the help of a little matchmaking from her mom in heaven. My sister authors wrote their Christmas stories on the same timeline so all of the friends in Kara’s and Elena’s circle found true love that holiday.
Except for Kara.
So when we decided to write a Summer in New York series, I knew immediately whose story I’d be telling.
My mom was always dumping guilt on me — “You’ll miss this when I’m gone!” she’d say. Another favorite was “Just wait until you have kids of your own; then you’ll understand.” Two years after her death, I was a mess — missing her more than ever and wishing beyond reason I could call her to ask advice about my sons.
Kara’s daughter is eighteen months old and rambunctious, making Kara doubt her abilities and second-guess her decisions. She misses the mom she lost more than ever. Since I could so thoroughly identify with those feelings, the writing came fast and easy and the story started taking shape.
Reid Bennett was harder to develop. I wanted someone who understood the kind of loss Kara was struggling to deal with but he also had to be someone who could help her handle that rambunctious toddler. I actually DID lose my toddler twice in the same day — once in a department store, and once in a park. So that ended up in the story, too. But in this case, I had Reid be the hero both times, just for the sake of being able to add that little touch of magic again….could this be Mom sending another sign from heaven?
It’s entirely up to you to believe it or not.
Patty Blount writes instruction guides by day and novels by night. On a dare by her oldest son, she wrote her first novel in an ice rink. Though never published, Penalty Killer was the subject of so many seventh grade book reports, the English teacher requested a copy and later returned it, covered in red ink. Patty is always looking for great story ideas. Her debut novel, Send, was conceived after her boss suggested she learn about social networks. Patty lives on Long Island with her family, a fish, and lots of books.
Of course I knew the story behind the book before I read your post, but I’m always amazed by the gift you have. Your stories are succinct, emotional, and real. Love you!
I’m blessed to have a friend in you!