Where did the idea for California Sunset come from?
A few years ago I saw a book called “How to Write a Book in a Month.” Since I wanted to write a novel, I thought, “Goody!” and bought the book.
It took somewhat more than 30 days to write the book. In fact, it was closer to two years before I was finally satisfied with it. But that book was the original inspiration – or challenge – to write and finish a novel.
I like reading books by authors like Susan Wiggs, Debbie Macomber, and Sheryl Woods, so I modeled my book after their style, while developing my own, of course! I definitely knew about the pain of loving the wrong man—I’ve been divorced more than once. So that was an easy place to start.
But I wanted my characters to have real struggles that they would have to deal with before getting what they deserved. Since I knew about living with an alcoholic and how to get beyond it (Thank you Al-Anon!), I knew that could be part of the story. The same with the pain of seeing a child in custody after they’ve done something wrong.
So lots of pain to give my characters. But how to bring in the sunlight?
When I finally decided I wanted to stop having pain in my relationships, I figured out I needed to work on myself. After all, that was the common denominator, and, as someone helpfully pointed out, the only thing I could change was myself. I worked with therapists and coaches to figure out why I kept attracting men who hurt me.
Annie, the heroine of California Sunset, has more than a man problem on her hands. She’s being laid off from her job. She definitely needs support to help her figure out a new direction. The question is, will she have the courage to make the changes she needs to make to get the love and happiness she deserves?
You’ll have to read the book to find out.
Title: California Sunset by Casey Dawes
Publisher: Crimson Romance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 259 pages
Divorced mother Annie Gerhard meets rugged new bookstore owner John Johnson at the worst possible time in her life. Her high tech company is threatening to lay her off if she doesn’t move from California to New Jersey and her 15-year-old son David is causing trouble. The recession has hit Silicon Valley hard and there are no jobs for a middle manager, even if she hates what she does. And this is no time for romance, no matter how good the man looks in his jeans.
John has escaped Montana memories of a deceased wife and betraying girlfriend by buying an independent bookstore in California. He’s got bigger problems than falling for a spunky woman with control issues. Keeping a bookstore afloat in a recession and finding a home where he can stable his horse are all he can handle right now.
Unless . . .
John and Annie must both face their pasts in order to greet the future. Can they risk it?
Sensuality Level: Behind Closed Doors
Annie opened her eyes and stared out the plane window, shifting to relieve the stiffness in her neck. “Want anything?” a voice thundered in her ear.
“What?” Annie asked.
“Food. It’s eight dollars,” Carol, the woman sitting next to her said, gesturing to the aisle. A flight attendant was leaning over holding a paper box.
“I guess.” She fished out a ten-dollar bill from her purse, exchanging it for the box and change.
“Anything to drink? That appears to be free.”
“Good thing they don’t charge us for going to the bathroom…yet.”
Annie chuckled. “Actually, I just read that Ryan Air is going to charge to use the toilet.”
“Really?” Carol gasped. “Obviously the airline is run by a man with a big bladder.”
Annie’s chuckle turned into a laugh. She managed to get the tray table down before the attendant handed her the hot coffee. She opened the box and poked at the skinny egg burrito.
“I’ll try mine first,” Carol said. “If I don’t gag, you’ll know it’s safe.”
Annie had to grin. “Okay.” She watched as Carol unwrapped the paper from the burrito and took a bite.
“Safe,” she declared after she finished chewing. “I suppose now that we have to pay for it, they have to give us better food.” Annie bit into her own burrito.
“Why are you flying to Philly?” Carol asked.
“Opportunity or necessity?”
God, this woman was nosy. “Necessity.”
Carol’s laugh startled her. “Sorry. Occupational hazard. I’m a life coach—we’re trained to ask lots of questions. I should start every conversation by saying, ‘I ask too many questions. You don’t have to answer me!’” She laughed again.
“What’s a life coach?”
“Someone who asks lots of questions to help you realize that you have to do some work if you want to change your life. Then we hold you accountable for doing it.”
“Sometimes it is, but I love it. Watching people change is quite amazing. I guess I love it so much that I never quite leave it behind. I’ve become sensitive to people who hedge what they’re saying, trying not to reveal too much.”
“Could be. We’ve got a long flight. What’s the story?”
For more info, excerpts, and a book group guide, check out Casey’s website at www.stories-about-love.com.
Let me know who has helped you make the changes you needed to make in your life in the comments below. One lucky person will get a copy of California Sunset!
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