Fortune Whelan stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in the Dorseys of Conception Bay series, One Night with You!
Where did you get the inspiration for One Night with You?
Cheramie is inspired by everyone I know that has ever been under the thumb of a controlling parent. Relationships between parents and children are so varied and often complicated. I always feel it’s important to try and understand the other person’s point of view.
But the main external plot about development in a tourist town was very much inspired by a controversial issue currently happening in the town where I live. I won’t go into details here, but there was a week-long public hearing where proponents and opponents gave impassioned but fact-based statements about where they stood on the issue and why. It was absolutely riveting. I lost a week of my life because I was glued to this hearing.
Your setting, Conception Bay, seems like such a fun place to be. If you could visit, what’s the first thing you would do?
Ferris Wheel for sure! I’m an amusement park junkie. One of my favorite things about being a mom is riding all the rides with my child.
What song would be in the soundtrack to Cheramie and Deacon’s love story? Why?
Fever by Peggy Lee, hands down. Despite their ages, they are both a little old fashioned, especially Cheramie even though she’s the younger one. But as soon as they get together, they are both lit on fire, and that’s just the first few chapters!
What was your favorite scene to write and why?
By far, my most favorite scene to write was the one where Cheramie and Cameron first see Deacon in the hotel bar. I love Cheramie so much, she’s endearingly naïve, and we’re already rooting for her. We want her to get hers.
“Him? He’s the one?”
Cheramie and Cameron sat at a high top in the shadows next to the hotel lounge’s entrance. A strategic placement for the two of them to get a close-up of everyone entering and exiting without being seen.
“You’re sure,” Cameron asked. “Because you have other options. Two o’clock looks about our age. Decent looking. You’ll have lots to talk about and an easy escape if he turns out weird. Eleven o’clock looks like he’s here for a good time and not a long time.”
Cheramie shot him a look. “Not a glowing endorsement.” She didn’t want decent or a quickie. She only had one night. What she needed was quality.
“I mean. He’ll be fun, and you won’t have to worry about exchanging numbers or names.”
She tilted her ear to one shoulder to fully absorb what he’d just said. Cheramie hadn’t considered not exchanging vital information, assuming fling assessment was akin to speed dating. Not that she’d participated in any of those either. But she might have watched a show or two about it. “Give a fake name? I can’t do that. I can’t lie.” She physically couldn’t. Her stomach gurgled at the thought. So, what if she came off too direct? At least she was honest. “I won’t lie. You know I won’t.” Seriously, she might puke first.
Cameron shook his head. “Just no names. And you don’t have to lie. But definitely don’t tell him anything about yourself—where you live, where you work. Just no. That could turn into trouble. At best, you’ll have someone who won’t leave you alone, and at worst, true-crime podcast. Tell him you’re originally from Boston, if that makes you feel better. Tell him you’re in the middle of moving. That’s not lying.¬¬”
Cheramie’s index finger tapped the tabletop rhythmically as she crammed these new rules along with glaring red flags into her head for future reference.
Cameron’s hand covered hers. “Look. You’re overthinking this. If the weathered old guy standing at the bar is the one, then fine. Let’s go with him. He looks harmless enough.”
Cheramie clutched at her chest like she’d been stabbed in the heart. Sure, his car had gotten her attention. What was the point of driving a car like that otherwise? A cherry-red blossom in a sea of black, boxy, monster-sized SUVs. Sport utility vehicle. Made for strapping kayaks or bicycles to the roofs. Except none of those men carted around more sports gear than racquets, sneakers with non-marking soles, and goggles to protect their eyes from balls.
He wasn’t weathered. Just older. Experienced. Quality. Not still figuring out who he was and what he wanted out of life. Cheramie wanted the guy who knew exactly what he was—a lightly stubbled, salt-and-peppered haired gentleman in the Loro Piana threads she’d spotted as soon as he’d stepped out of his car. She nipped at her thumbnail, daydreaming about the soft kiss of fine knit wool against her fingers, but dropped her hand under the table when her gaze met Cameron’s shaking head and pursed lips.
“You’re caressing his turtleneck with your eyes.”
“I’m not.” She was.
“You’re a horrible liar.”
Also, true. Cheramie stood and took a step before Cameron caught her by the wrist.
“Wait. Where are you going?”
“To proposition this guy.” That was the reason they were here. “I want to be direct and clear. No strings. I’m marrying someone else.” She tapped her temple with her finger. “And, I didn’t forget, I won’t tell him my name.”
Cameron grabbed her finger. “No.”
“What do you mean no?”
“I mean no. That’s not how you seduce a person. That’s how you send them screaming into the forest, never to be seen again.”
Cheramie’s entire body slacked in defeat.
“Also, you might want to leave the cardigan.”
“No.” Today, this cardigan was her superhero cape. A shield against passive-aggressive barbs and rejection.
“Say, Hello. I like your sweater. Start there. And don’t mention you’re marrying someone else. He doesn’t need to know that. It’s not lying. It’s just not relevant.”
“It’s lying by omission.” Technically.
“Are you going to tell him you hate the dentist because the tools are too loud, and you physically cringe every time said tools touch your teeth?”
“That’s clearly not relevant.”
“Neither is telling him you’re almost engaged. Especially since you don’t plan on dating him or even seeing him again.”
Touché. She ran her tongue over her teeth, deciding whether she could go through with chatting up this guy with relevant facts with the aim of losing her virginity. But concluded she could. She had to. It was necessary. She needed to get her first sexual experience out of her system, and if all it took was a few practice rounds to level up her nonexistent sex skill set, then it was worth the time.
The alternative of being alone with her feelings to process them made her panicky. She started to sweat just thinking about it.
Cheramie sipped her old-fashioned until her teeth hurt from the sugar, increased the ring volume on her phone to max like she and Cameron discussed, and strutted away from the table.
“Break a leg,” he called out just as she tripped over a ripple in the carpet, sending the sticky remains of her glass, including the bourbon-soaked orange peel, into the air and against the man’s beautiful knit wool turtleneck, staining it an orangey-brown mess.
Mortified, Cheramie tried to smile as he turned toward her. Honestly, she did. But her legs crossed at the ankles, and any second, she’d hit the floor face first at his feet. What an introduction!
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I’m reading Brooke Shield’s memoir, There was a Little Girl and Shania Twain’s From This Moment On.
Thanks for reading, everyone!
About the Author
Fortune’s stories are “charming, silly and emotionally fraught” with “fast-paced plot[s] that keep pages flying”. When she’s not at her standing desk fending off feline invaders, you can find her on her yoga mat, or shelving books at the local library. Keep up with her @fortunewhelan everywhere.