Extra Type: Author Notes

I don’t always get to write a Dear Reader letter, but I invariably have something I wish I could say to you about each book. Here it is.

Notes on Wedding Night with the Wrong Billionaire

When I first began structuring this series, I knew the first book would be a secret baby ruining a wedding. (See Cinderella’s Secret Baby.)

I liked the idea of the second one being the jilted bride running away with the best man, but that’s one of those ideas that looks great as a one-line pitch, but when it comes time to execute, I had to ask myself why she runs away with him. How well does she know him? Were they actually involved in the past? Then why did he let her almost marry his best friend? It’s very tricky!

Pretty soon I realized there would have to be a family feud, something that makes it near impossible for them to be together no matter how strongly they’re drawn. It made for all sorts of lovely angst as these two star-crossed lovers (Yep, they became loves the minute they got the chance) as they try to resist what is fated for them. Also, it help me set up the third book, about the bride’s half-brother and the maid-of-honor (Yay!)

Five years ago, Remy kissed Eden in Paris only to have Eden’s brother break them apart. He told her Remy was using her to get at him. She was young, impressionable, heartbroken, and hasn’t felt the same for any man since.

Remy didn’t know Eden was related to the Gould family, but he’s carrying a family secret they can never learn. Five years after their one passionate kiss, he still hasn’t forgotten her. It took all his strength to stand by as she prepares to marry his best friend, but when the wedding falls apart, it’s his one chance to catch her.

I hope you enjoy this series of weddings, secrets, drama, more weddings, and yes, at least one baby!

Notes on Cinderella’s Secret Baby

When I pitched this concept, I knew it would have a wedding interrupted by the groom learning he has a baby by another woman. I knew the bride would then fall for the best man and the rest of the wedding party would find love.

As I was chatting it out with my editor, I said, “I could put a wedding in all four books and we could play on Four Weddings and a Funeral.”

Welcome to Four Weddings and a Baby!

In this first book, Hunter’s arranged marriage falls apart when Amelia’s father crashes the society wedding to reveal Hunter is a father. Hunter recognizes Amelia as the waitress he slept with once last summer–in fact, she’s been impossible to forget–but why did she wait until now to tell him?

I wanted to use a lot of Canadian settings so I staged the wedding in a vineyard at Niagara-on-the-Lake. They quickly return to Toronto, then are whisked to Banff for their honeymoon and settle in Hunter’s North Vancouver mansion. And of course there is the wonderful Cinderella aspect of Amelia being unprepared for Hunter’s lavish lifestyle. Don’t worry, she rises to the occasion while he rises to the responsibilities of fatherhood.

I love this pair. They’re strangers who are stuck in a tough situation, but they love their baby and are kind to one another. Amelia is cheeky and vulnerable and steely when she has to be. Hunter falls for her like a ton of bricks (even though he swore he wouldn’t!)

Happy reading!

Notes on Innocent in Her Enemy’s Bed

You’ll notice that I write a lot of linked books, which I love, but occasionally I like to write one that stands alone. I knew I would be starting Four Weddings and a Baby next so I wanted to keep this one simple. (I always think it will be simple.)

It wound up with a complicated back story, as usual, but a good old-fashioned enemies-to-lovers has built-in conflict. Ilona is very sweet and very self-protect and Leander really lets her down at the wedding. (I love that awful, awful scene.)

I didn’t know how she would flower into such a strong heroine, one who outsmarts Leander in the best possible way, but I was so proud of her when she did! And I love that Leander finds his own way past darkness and thirst for vengeance to love and Happily Ever After. Enjoy!

Notes on Cinderella for the Miami Playboy

When I opened Confessions of an Italian Marriage, I needed someone to trigger Freja into running away from the wedding shop. It couldn’t be the hero, Giovanni. He uses a wheelchair so he couldn’t very well chase her down on busy Milan streets. In fact, Giovanni needed someone who drew him into the underworld of espionage and represented the pull that Giovanni still had to that life.

Enter Everett. He was only supposed to hang around for a few key scenes, but he and Giovanni had such a fun dynamic, I wound up making him into hero material. In fact, I broke convention for the epilogue for Confessions. It was in Everett’s point of view!

As soon as it hit the shelves, I began getting inquiries. Would Everett get his own story?

Heck yes. Here it is. But boy was he troublesome to write. Not only was he very mysterious, requiring three heavy rewrites, his heroine Bianca has a very complicated life. Oh, and of course I had to bring Giovanni and Freja onto the page. And my editors had to gently suggest I not write a book about them and maybe stick to Everett and Bianca. (Three rewrites. I wish I was joking.)

But I’m so happy with the result. I hope you will be too!

Notes on One Snowbound New Year’s Night

When my editor asked if I would like to do a ‘snowed in for twenty-four hours in Canada over New Year’s Eve,’ I said, “Sure!” That’s what I always say when she saves me the trouble of coming up with my own concepts. Besides, it sounds like a riot, doesn’t it?

Then I started to wade into the reality of writing two characters–*only* two characters–in a single setting for a single day and… (GIF of head exploding.) It was definitely a challenge to find those high-concept glamorous moments that Presents readers love so much, especially that global feel of visiting far-flung places.

At the same time, I had So.Much.Fun with Van and Becca. They got married too young and both had these messy back stories that kept them from talking to each other when it really, really mattered. If your pet peeve is the sort of story where you keep thinking, If only they would just sit down and talk things out, well, good news! This is your dream come true because there is nothing else they can do as they rattle around in the house that was their home until they fell apart.

And of course they have always loved one another and simply don’t see it. They’re flawed and hurt and good and deserving of the love they finally get around to digging from the deep freeze. I hope you adore them as much as I do!

Notes on Scandal Befitting a Princess

When I wrote Ways to Ruin a Royal Reputation, I was dying to explore Luca’s relationship with his sister more. You don’t sacrifice a throne for someone who isn’t worthy so I wanted to know her better.

Thankfully, my editor suggested I write this novella where Sofia reacts to Luca’s scandal and takes the throne. And thankfully, I had had her make what I thought was a throw-away comment about sitting in a hotel room worried about a possible pregnancy. When did that happen? Who was the potential father?

I got to answer all those questions in this very fast-paced novella. I hope you enjoy it!

Notes on Manhattan’s Most Scandalous Reunion

I’ve written a few duets and the challenge is always to find two stories that are complimentary, take place in the same world, but are different enough to be interesting.

It’s especially hard when the main characters are siblings or, in this case, identical twins. In Book One, Married for One Reason Only, Oriel knows she’s adopted. When she learned the truth about her birth mother, it’s a shock, but she’s always had questions in the back of her mind.

When I came to write Nina’s story, I needed a fresh angle. Even though she knows of Oriel and has been told she looks like her, it never occurs to her to think, “Maybe she’s my twin.” As far as Nina knows, she is a blood relation to the family she’s always known. Once she learns she was given to strangers in secret, her entire sense of self is shaken.

And even though she and Reve ended their brief affair on a very sour note, she barges back into his life as hers is falling apart. He’s very cynical and guarded, but he couldn’t help but step in and step up to help her–which endeared him to me so much! I hope you love him as much as I do.

I hope you enjoy the unraveling of the mystery in my Secret Sisters duet!

Notes on Married for One Reason Only

For a long time, I had a phrase on my whiteboard that read Secret Royal Baby Twins. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it until my editor asked if I had any duet ideas and I started to pitch that to her.

But I was coming off of Ways to Ruin a Royal Reputation and I wasn’t ready to invent another fictitious kingdom (or two.)

My brain hopped around other types of pseudo-royalty–Hollywood? Bollywood. I was picturing a beloved Julie Andrews type of actor who couldn’t possibly have a baby out of wedlock without losing her career. At least, her manager convinces her that she will be ruined if she does. Of course, he’s more worried about his own golden egg, but he whisks Lakshmi to a discrete clinic in Europe to have her baby and pressures her to give it up. She winds up needing surgery and he forges her signature while she’s unconscious. The baby is gone when she wakes up.

I wish I could tell you how hard I laughed when I began telling my husband about this premise. He was very supportive and said, “Well, that has lots of meat. You can–”

“Wait,” I said. “There’s a second baby.”

He was so taken aback he staggered into the cupboard, saying, “Whaat?” It was priceless. I mean, it’s a duet, dude. Of course there’s a second baby.

This first book, however, is about the baby everyone knows about. Except they don’t. Oriel knows she was adopted, but she was given misinformation. She’s shocked when Vijay turns up as an emissary for her birth family–especially since they had a one-night affair and she’s just discovered she’s pregnant!

I hope you enjoy all the twists and turns and surprises in my Secret Sisters duet. Be sure to read Manhattan’s Most Scandalous Reunion for the story of the double-secret twin, Nina.

Notes on Her Impossible Baby Bombshell

The germ of this idea began when a reader asked if I had written any Canadian heroes. I knew my next book would be set in Asia and that made me start thinking about our huge population of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver.

At first, I thought Jun Li would be Canadian, but we also have a huge number of foreign students of all ages who come to study in Canada and I liked the idea of him having come over quite young. He was homesick and accosted by culture shock and never really enjoyed his time in Canada. This made for a nice contrast with Ivy who is a second generation Chinese Canadian who regards Vancouver as home.

The larger conflict is, of course, the fact she gets pregnant after he told her he had a vasectomy. What I loved most about this idea was the flip of an unplanned pregnancy. Ivy is definitely reeling from the shock, but so is Jun Li. He really feels ambushed by the news and by his sudden paternal instincts which he absolutely never expected to experience.

From there, they’re strangers trying to get through the first weeks of marriage and a very serious pregnancy complication, taking their time realizing they are actually perfect for one another. I hope you enjoy their journey to HEA!

Notes on Ways to Ruin a Royal Reputation

I can’t take credit for the wonderful set up in this book. My editor asked if I’d like to be part of a trilogy with two other authors (the incomparable Clair Connelly and the tremendously talented Tara Pammi.

I always say YES! to these opportunities. Writing is a lonely business so having an excuse to email my writing pals and call it ‘work’ is awesome.

The project was pitched as ‘three friends from boarding school now run a wildly successful PR firm called London Connection.’ It sounded like a hoot and it’s always nice to be presented with an outline for a story rather than stumbling through on my best by golly. I’ve always enjoyed the stories I’ve been assigned, but this one was particularly fun.

Luca is very restrained and Amy is outgoing and sparky and blurts out some of the worst things at the very worst time. I had a riot with that and hope you enjoy the sundial scene especially. ~wink!~

Alas, I’m back to writing alone in my fortress of literature, but Clare, Tara and I–like our heroines–will always have London Connection.