Tuesday, August 20, 2013

(Second) Chance of a Lifetime 

My love affair with California began at the tender age of fifteen and continues today, three decades later. So it should come as no surprise that the book of my heart, which somehow turned into a trilogy, is set there.
Maybe it was the indescribable thrill of a Midwestern girl seeing the ocean for the first time (we have a lake in Chicago, but it's not the same). Or the sight of unapologetically bronzed coeds with movie-star teeth driving silver metallic convertibles and playing volleyball in the sand. Perhaps the towering palm trees swaying against the impossibly blue sky?  But that was in Southern Cal; my Chances trilogy takes place in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, hundreds of miles north.
I was an unassuming only child of the 70's, growing up in a place where a short, precious summer turned into a long, cold winter seemingly overnight. What else was I to do but read (thanks, Carolyn Keene)?
In high school, I often opted for the city bus because it stopped in front of the library. Just a branch, mind you, but they had loads of paperback books. And no matter the inventory du jour, I was drawn to the revolving wire rack of romance novels. Harlequin Presents, Danielle Steel and later on, Nora Roberts.
The books took me to places all over the world where effortlessly beautiful, wonderfully flawed heroines were swept off their feet by dynamic, irresistible heroes. I preferred the books to the afternoon soaps because I could imagine the characters in my mind’s eye. And if I found the ending disappointing or abrupt, I would simply continue the story in my head.
Writing such ideas down, however, took another thirty years.
In the interim, I went to college and met my own prince charming. And he took me to San Francisco on our honeymoon.
And, as cliché as it sounds, that’s where I left my heart. Well, part of it anyway. Because eight years and two babies later, he took me to Lake Tahoe for the very first time.
And my frisson with California moved even farther north.
I hope my books will take you there. And you’ll leave a little piece of yours behind too.

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations, Martha, on the release of your irresistible Chances trilogy. I highly recommend your novels to anyone who is longing for a romantic and adventurous escape. Once I started reading, I could not stop! Thank you for sharing your talent with the rest of the world. I can't wait to read your next novel.
    -Jane Brownlow Findley