Of course I mean my fictional Manhattan holiday romance in my new ebook novella, STERLING & SLOANE, available starting today at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for just .99. As a novella, it’s a short read – just long enough to drink a couple glasses of wine by a roaring fire. Hot cocoa with whipped cream also acceptable.
Sharing 5 fun facts about the story and where the inspiration came from.
1. The Origin – Likely I was inspired by two of my favorite holiday flicks: The Holiday and Love Actually. I wrote about twenty pages and abandoned it for another project. The characters had different names but they had their current occupations – a marriage counselor and a divorce attorney for the “opposites attract” storyline. Several months ago the hook and solution hit so I rewrote it, only keeping their occupations and the NYC setting.
2. On naming the characters – Sterling was named after Roger Sterling on Mad Men, one of my favorite shows, and Sterling Shepard, a football player at my alma mater, University of Oklahoma. Every time I watched a game, I’d think, “I must name a character after that someday.” On Twitter, I began following a woman named Sloane. I loved the alliteration. Sloane’s last name, Cruisie, comes from the romance author Jennifer Cruisie and Tom Cruise because the story is about Sloane getting through the final days before her divorce to action star Ben Cruisie. Ben is a lot younger than Tom, but he does share his size stature and charm and box office appeal. The little person elf Quentin provides a bit of comic relief and magic in the story and leads to a big a-ha moment for both the hero and heroine. The name Quentin popped into my head and seems un-elf-like which is probably why I chose it.
3. The Neo-gothic locale is real. Christmas in New York is something I have on my bucket list so I got to live vicariously through my characters. When researching posh apartments that had fireplaces, I discovered The Studio, which is across the street from the Museum of Modern Art. So check out Ben and Sloane’s apartment here. Most of the story takes place in the apartment, but Sterling’s apartment is one floor below. My friend Tina McGarry visited NYC for her birthday a year ago and one of her must sees was a stop into Serendipity. (Actually Serendipity 3 in real life.) The definition: the art of making happy discoveries so it’s fitting for the book that it’s their first sort-of date in the restaurant.
4. Antiques and symbolism. I use a lot of symbolism in my stories so I didn’t feel I should treat a romance any differently. The story is about Sloane letting go of her past and I needed something that anchored her in the past physically while something secretive anchors Sterling to his past. I decided her love for antiques and that neo gothic apartment would help accomplish that. The fact her apartment is across from the modern art museum also played with the past/future theme. She finds her precious antiques in a moving truck as Ben has hired movers to move out the antiques he never liked to replace them with contemporary furniture just as he’s replacing Sloane for a new lover. When she sees Sterling’s apartment, she finds it full of antiques – a passion they could share. Note, The Antiques Diva in the book is real. Toma Clark Haines married a high school friend, BJ Haines, and I keep up with them on Facebook. Toma really does European antiques tours and I had Sterling find out about Toma through Sloane mentioning she’d toured with her in the press years before. I got permission from Toma to use her name and business in the book and BONUS! she gave me advice on what furniture to include in the book. She had read and loved my novel Dating da Vinci, so that inspired her to include a da Vinci bed in her recommendations, which OF COURSE I used. In the book I call it the Vitruvian Man bed and fun things happen there. Go read for yourself!
5. Pillow Talk and my Rock Hudson and Doris Day. My husband and I watched Rock Hudson and Doris Day’s movie Pillow Talk which heavily inspired the book. I wanted a vintage romantic comedy feel to it, which is where some of Sterling’s old-fashioned charm comes in. I wanted the exchanges between Sterling and Sloane to be snippy and flirty and for Sterling to be seen as smooth even though he’s secretly petrified of Sloane because he’s had a crush on her for so long. I did my own twist on the bathtub scene (two!) for some frothy fun. Here’s the scene in the movie. The part where their feet touch? Lordy. Sterling is a modern-day Rock Hudson, 6’4″ of tall, dark and sexy.
If you read it and enjoy it, I hope you’ll consider leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads. Thanks so much for your support and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. xo