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In case there’s someone out there who didn’t know, my big sis, Lucy Blue, is a much better writer than me. So much better that I’ve let her take over my blog today to talk about her new release, Alpha Romeo. It’s a scintillating tell-all book written in the style of a Hollywood memoir. Think about it this way– it’s the book about Angelina Jolie that you’ve always wanted to read. Lucy herself describes the book as being throwback to the old Danielle Steele/ Sidney Sheldon days. Anyway, today she’s taking over to talk about how she came to write Alpha Romeo and why it’s such an important book for her.
When I was a teen-ager, my mother’s favorite writer was Danielle Steele. It was one of the many things we fought about. “Those books are just garbage,” I would tell her. “They all have the same stupid, melodramatic plot. The characters are paper dolls. They read like the back of a cake mix. You read Thomas Hardy for fun, for heaven’s sake. How can you read that crap?”
As I recall, her defense usually ran along the lines of different strokes for different folks. But if I’d been particularly obnoxious, she might point out that she couldn’t understand how her beautiful daughter could enjoy “sickness” like Stephen King and Anne Rice, either, but she still loved me.
As I got older and started writing fiction of my own, she read every word I wrote. She was what that sicko Stephen King would call my “first reader,” and she praised it all, even the stuff outside her comfort zone, even the stuff I never finished. She encouraged me every step of the way, and when I sold my first book, a horror opus about vampires, consumptive whores, and Shakespeare, no one could have been more proud.
Mama’s health was never great, but about ten years ago, she took a definite turn for the worse. I was in the midst of writing about medieval vampires for Pocket Books. I actually made my first draft deadline for The Devil’s Knight during a two-week leave of absence I had taken from my day job to take care of her after her second open heart surgery. I don’t remember ever having the conscious thought to write a “Mama book.” I was very happy with my vamps. But right around that same time, reading a tabloid account of a celebrity divorce, I got the idea for Scarlett Cross, a movie star who’s been haunted her whole life by the violent death of her mother. I started writing about her in first person, a technique I hadn’t used for anything but short stories since college, because that was just how she came out of my head.
There are no supernatural monsters in Scarlett’s world. Maybe at that point in my life, the real world seemed a lot scarier than any horror I could think up. Maybe I lost the knack for believing in fairies and witches and vamps for a while. I know I made Scarlett a movie star to keep the fantasy, to keep that distance–the same reason, I suspect, that all of Danielle Steele’s heroines in those days were fashion models and lady business magnates and the daughters of Russian nobility. Those women go through hell, but they look fabulous doing it, and they never have to worry about stuff like money or bad plumbing (at least not after the first fifty pages). I know for me at that time, the story of an ordinary woman watching her mother waste away was beyond my talent and strength. But I could write the outlandish trials and tribulations of Scarlett Cross at lightning speed, wallowing in her pain. I wrote her made-up memoir right alongside my paranormals, hundreds and hundreds of pages of her voice telling the lurid story of her life while my own life as I had always known it fell apart.
And out of that came my latest book, Alpha Romeo, the story of Scarlett’s first love. Mama passed away in 2008, years before my notebooks full of Scarlett gelled into anything like an actual book, but sections of that manuscript were the last of my writing she ever read. “I love this one,” she told me. “This one is you. This is the one.” And while I know my vamps are as much me as Scarlett, and I still think Danielle Steele’s writing kind of sucks, I love this story in a way I’ve never loved anything else I’ve written. Because I know she would love it, not because her daughter wrote it, but because it’s her kind of book.
Our poor mother always wondered how she ended up with two daughters who liked to hide in a fantasy world. I think it’s safe to say that we are exactly what she made us. Here’s more about the book:
If the tabloids only knew.
Scarlett Cross is the classic Hollywood princess. Daddy is a movie star; Mama was a supermodel murdered when Scarlett was only four years old. Now she’s eighteen pretending to be younger for the sake of her father’s image and starting her own career as the muse of a famous European auteur. But bad boy actor Romeo Kidd is everything she’s ever wanted. He makes her feel safe and loved and wanted for the first time in her life, and she’ll do anything to keep from letting him go.
If Alpha sounds like your kind of book too, you can click the image above and zoom right over to buy it! It’s also available from Purple Sword Publications and All Romance if you prefer a different format. They also have nifty-neato excerpts so you can test drive first!!