I’m currently going back and reading this book again, and since it’s fresh in my mind, I figured I’d do trivia on it today.
The idea for the book came to me because I thought it’d be fun to write a “marriage by proxy” story. In order to have a plot (because every book needs conflict somewhere), one of the characters had to be an unwilling participant. Hence Amy’s resistance to the marriage for a good portion of the book.
I wrote most of this book at the school playground in town while my kids (4, 5, 6, and 8 at the time) would play. So whenever I go back to this book, I remember sitting on the ground with my laptop with my back pressed up against the side of the school. This was during the summer. I wrote this book within a month. This was one of those books that pretty much wrote itself. Most books take about 2 months.
There is a real building in downtown Omaha that serves as the inspiration for the building in the story where Nathan works. Every time I drove by it, I would think, “That’s a fancy building. What kind of person might be the head of that company?” This is also how Nathan’s character was born. And, if memory serves, the building was for an insurance company, not a travel one.
For some time, I did live in Florida in the Fort Walton Beach area which is along the Emerald Coast (aka the Gulf of Mexico). So the way Amy describes the beach and the water reflect my opinion of that part of the country. While it was beautiful down there, my heart is in the western part of the US, hence why I write so many historical western romances and currently live in Montana. I love the open landscapes in the Dakotas, Wyoming, and Montana. It’s been that way since I went to visit a friend who lived in North Dakota during my college years. Once I saw that state, I was hooked and began to read and do some writing in the historical western romance world.
Danielle was my favorite character in the book. Actually, she’s one of my all-time favorite secondary characters. In my opinion, she had the best lines of any character I’ve ever done. She is the reason the book is as funny as it is. Nathan had some good lines, too, but no one comes close to Danielle. Her character was also named after a good friend I had in high school who was a lot of fun to be around.
The funny events in Amy’s life that her parents told Nathan about also happened to me. For example, I used to pretend I was Wonder Woman when I was a kid. I was born in the 70s but was in elementary school and junior high (that’s what middle school was called back then) in the 80s. I used to watch Wonder Woman (starring Linda Carter) reruns on the TV every day after school when I was in the first and second grade. When the show was over, I’d put aluminum foil around my wrists for the bands she wore to ward off bullets, put my headband over my forehead, and use my jump rope for the lasso of truth. Then I’d pretend to go around and catch the bad guys. As another example, when I was in the 7th grade (or 8th), I did leave the curling iron too long in my hair and ended up burning my bangs. There are a couple of other examples that go back to childhood, but off the top of my head, that’s all I can remember.
Some men won’t change their children’s diapers, but my husband was one of those who did, which is something I totally love him for. I have a soft spot for a man who will help his wife out.
In this story, Elizabeth (aka Beth) had a c-section. I didn’t have twins, but I had a c-section with each of my kids. In the story, Ryan said this about the c-section: “I’m not saying it made me pass out, but I never realized Beth’s insides were that colorful.” My husband told me that after our first kid was born, and I’ve never forgotten it.
Danielle’s thoughts of being pregnant are mine, too. “I enjoyed being pregnant after the morning sickness phase passed. There are no real benefits to the first trimester, except for being able to see that positive reading on the pregnancy stick. The second trimester is a lot of fun. That’s when you first feel the baby kick and start to show. I know some women complain about the last month, but I still enjoyed it. I know I can’t explain what it’s like to carry another human being and feel him moving around, but it was probably the most amazing thing I will ever experience.” One of the best things that ever happened to me was having the privilege of bringing a human being into the world.
Shady Forest is based on a real place my family and I went to quite a bit while we lived in the Omaha area, and there was a spot to sit where you could look out at the Missouri River and see downtown Omaha. And yes, I even saw that large building that made me come up with Nathan’s character.
The mini-golf course Nathan plays at with Amy’s dad is one that really exists in Fort Walton Beach. I went to it once.
Nathan and Amy named their daughter Amber. Amber was another good friend I had in high school. In case someone is wondering, the reason a writer will pick names of people they like in real life is so that the memory of those people will live on in their work. We might adjust the spelling of the name or give the character different features, but we know who the person really is, and we put that person in the story as a testament to the relationship we have or had with them. Since I’ve moved around so much in my life, I have lost touch with 90% of the people I used to know. But when I put them in my story, they are still with me, and it makes me smile to remember them and the joy they brought to my life.