Dear Walker Hayes, On Friday night, I get to see you perform in Boston and I am beyond excited. I'm hoping I might get to share this story in person, but in the event I don't, I'm putting it here for the world to see. As an artist myself, I know how much it means to me when someone tells me the impact my books have had on them, so I figured you might feel the same.
Last year was really rough. My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor right before Thanksgiving 2016, which happened to be a few weeks after I signed a contract to produce both book 3 in my Calling It series of romance novels and a holiday novella. He passed away in March--six weeks before the first draft of the novella was due--and, let me tell you, writing the happily-ever-after ending that all good romance novels require was pretty freaking hard. It was damn near impossible, in fact, and for the first time in my life, I was afraid I was going to miss a deadline I had committed to. (Given the circumstances, that would have been understandable, I think. But since my dad is the man who drilled things into my head like responsibility and sticking-to-your-word, well, it felt like I'd be letting him down. And I just couldn't do that.)
When I'm writing, I find it very difficult to write without having a picture of my hero and heroine in my head. And Tuck, the hero of Holiday House Call, wasn't clear enough to work through the murkiness of my head space given what was going on in the life of my family. But then I happened upon the video for "You Broke Up With Me."
I had already heard the song and loved it--I liked the play of the words, the bounciness of the melody, and although being a happily-ever-after girl myself I wasn't sure I could get behind the sentiment (I did a complete turnaround when I heard what the song was actually about, but that's another story), I couldn't stop listening to it. But the video provided the inspiration I desperately needed--that whole chiseled jaw thing you have going on, arms to swoon over, and a real life love for your wife and family that comes across in your music and interviews. Not only was I able to find a guy for my heroine to swoon over, but one who personifies some of the things that make Tuck who he is: someone who goes after his dreams while at the same time staying grounded by the friends and family who make up his world. The words began to flow.
Thank you so much for not only creating some wonderful music--"You Broke Up With Me" being my favorite, of course, along with "Craig," "Beautiful," and "Shut Up, Kenny" but I'm pretty much loving all of boom. (not to mention "Reason to Rhyme" and "Pants" [because, really, what's a strong hero without a kickass heroine?])--but also for helping this romance author come up with Holiday House Call, a happily-ever-after I am intensely proud of.