Stay, the fourteenth Love Story is out today.
The first time Dylan showed up at The Roastery to meet Tyler (Catch), I knew he needed his book. Brooding and kinda angry in Catch, Dylan blossoms from adversity and the unexpected in Stay.
Clara was a character the minute Drake (Blow) gives Millie a tour of the town and mentions the Inn by the Bay. She didn’t play the cello back then and had no back story, but I knew she was on her way.
Stay started as a fake fiancé trope. Her fiancé dumped Clara, and a friend from the orchestra agreed to be her fake fiancé to secure her inheritance. Levinson had left her the inn on the stipulation that she be engaged. When her first fake fiancé has a performance he can’t turn down, Clara arrives in Bodega Bay with no fiancé.
Mr. Hill was super grumpy in this first draft, and Dylan, who was working on fixing up things around the inn with Rusty, agrees to be her fill-in. There were so many problems with this version that finally, with the help of my fabulous editor, Sarah, I put it to bed and started over. Clara and Dylan’s final story works so much for them, although I am still searching for my perfect fake fiancé Love Story.
Here are my thoughts as I send Stay out into the world.
Best: Rusty and his Rusty-isms. It was so fun digging up some of my grandparents’ old gems for Rusty. He was comic relief and so sweet—the perfect side character.
Hardest: Tyler’s relationship with his father. His dad caused so much pain in their family. Initially, he was going to heal himself and finally get sober. Still, as the story progressed, there was something in Tyler’s character, whether he’d admit it or not, that needed to see his father survive and have the potential to thrive. Their relationship, and his father as a man, was a complicated balance.
Worst: Once you read the book, this one will be obvious—Clara’s mother. Millie’s father was an ass, but he had pain he refused to face. Clara’s mother and father are just… well, I’ll let you read but know they were the worst part of the writing process.
Fun Fact: Bach – Cello Suite No. 1, Prelude (the Call Me Maybe of cello pieces) played at my wedding as the guests were seated. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cello pieces and incredibly simple to play. It is my favorite? No. There are so many gorgeous cello pieces. The hours of music I collected while I wrote Clara, is a gift I will forever cherish.
I hope you enjoy this Love Story. Happy Reading!