Jules and Tyler

Catch, the thirteenth Love Story is out today.

This one took forever, but life was complicated for all of us, so I’m cutting myself extra slack.

While I was writing Blow, Tyler and Jules were fun secondary characters. After the boat-building scene, we never looked back. Jules is complicated or frustrating, depending on perspective.

Writing multifaceted women is still a slippery slope in romance. As I’m sure readers know, women are not all badasses out of the gate. Sadly, we don’t always give them the room afforded to the initially jerky guy or the bad guy who needs redemption.

Female characters are still held to a different standard even in the genre that empowers them.

Heroines are often labeled “difficult” or “unlikable” in under three chapters if they’re still struggling. “Whiny” or “doormat” if they question themselves for a paragraph too long. And yet heroes are given the leeway of nearly half a book to “heal their pain” or “learn to give their heart.”

I love Jules. I love her because she is complicated. She has lived some life and been knocked around a bit. It has been the making of her, and her reluctance to love Tyler, to trust him, was something I understood on a deep-in-my-bones level. I hope readers do too.

Jules finds her way. I always knew she would, even when Tyler and the rest of Bodega Bay weren’t so sure. It was an honor to tell her story.

Regardless of gender or label, I am forever interested in how the joy and the pain of growing up shape us. The twists and turns that either sink or propel people forward into better versions. Yeah, that’s my happy place.

Best: Tyler’s love and devotion. It was fun writing how he saw Jules from her “sexy” fishing pants to her “gorgeous” athletic frame. He is a man in love with the whole woman, and that was a blast and love-affirming. And the fight scene when he’s finally had enough of apologizing for himself. Tyler standing up for himself was great too.

Hardest: Jules’s relationship with her ex. It would have been so easy to make Wayne a complete asshole, but people, even cheaters, are rarely all one thing. They are several years away from their divorce, but their daughter is a bond that will never go away. I needed to honor that, the good remaining in the rubble. That was hard but ultimately so rewarding and a service to both characters.

Worst: Writing a love story after surgery, family drama, and the pandemic. Writing and reading are often an escape from reality for me, but damn, reality held on tight while writing this one. There’s been so much pain and loss over the last year and a half for everyone, so having to finish my book instead of popcorn and other authors’ wonderful stories to ease my own hurt was probably the worst part of this process.

Fun Fact: The first line of the book—Jules Bartlett hosed blood off the bow of the Ginsberg— almost didn’t make the final draft. Thankfully, my editor Sarah patiently waited for me to figure out that there was only ever one opening line for CATCH.

I hope you enjoy this Love Story. Happy Reading!