What is it that moves our creative needle from inspiration, past procrastination, to plot, setting, and characters captured on a few hundred pages?
For me, it was HGTV.
My fan fascination with the double-your-pleasure, dual-hotness Property Brothers spiked up a notch after I read an interview with Jonathan Scott in “Dog Fancy” magazine.
There he was on the cover, in full color image glory, a tiny fur ball under each arm. The interviewee described him as “uncomfortably good looking” with a long rap sheet of entrepreneurial success. Real estate. Television. High-tech magic performed on a Las Vegas stage. But under all this glitz and glam, his regrets were showing. A failed marriage. A longing for happily-ever after.
What an interesting and frustrating problem that most of us may never have to solve. In the enviable world of having it all, how difficult must it be to find that special someone who doesn’t need the sizzle but wants the steak as is, bone and all, the tough and tender bits, rare to well done?
“Reservations,” as all three novels in my New Life and Love romance series have and all future novels will, began with the characters. Darien McKenna, the uncomfortably good looking executive chef with a Michelin star, goes home to his empty Manhattan apartment every night. He desperately wants to be more than eye and arm candy for the parade of beautiful women who revel in his star status. Who would she be? Intelligent. Successful. Self-assured. Sophisticated. Mature. Enter Alison Clarke. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Self-made millionaire owner of an established, thriving media consulting business.
I traveled to Brooklyn, walked the street where I imagined she would work and live, made reservations at the Manhattan restaurant where Chef Darien would command the kitchen. My developing story surrounded the couple with snippets of personalities I’ve known in my lifetime. Quirky David, Ali’s fun-loving gay friend. Jack, the stoic brother who followed all the rules Darien broke. Patrice, Ali’s cousin loosely patterned after my own family member by birth and friend by choice living in San Francisco.
Ask anyone who knows me, but hasn’t read my books, what genre I would write. They’ll guess true crime. Mystery. But not romance. Apparently, I keep my romantic side hidden.
The characters in my next series of novels will solve mysteries. But my stories will always weave in subplots with a romantic twist.
Teresa LaBella published her first contemporary romance novel “Reservations” in 2013. The big city story continued in “Heartland” set in small town Iowa. “Belonging,” the final novel in the New Life in Love trilogy, moved the McKenna family saga to the west coast of Scotland. A freelance writer and consultant, Teresa resides in her Iowa hometown with her husband John and three rescued Husky fur kids