As I write this blog for The Good, The Bad and the Unread, I’m looking forward to the release of Claiming Colleen, the third book in the Home to Harbor Town series, while at the same time, doing edits for One in a Billion—Deidre’s story and book four in the series—and writing the fifth book—Ryan’s story. It’s one of those strange experiences that an author has, that by the time a book is ready to make its debut, the writer’s mind is months or years later in the character’s journey. But it’s a wonderful perspective, too, sort of like sharing familiar photographs with a friend or family member who hasn’t yet seen them and experiencing them fresh through another’s eyes.
Claiming Colleen is Eric Reyes’ and Colleen Kavanaugh’s love story—one I’ve been looking forward to telling since book one. The heat, conflict, and attraction between the two has been simmering just below the surface for two books, so it was so much fun for me to finally give these two special characters the full spotlight and their own unique romance.
One of the fun things about Eric and Colleen’s story is that the two have knowledge of things going on behind the scenes that other characters in the books (and thus, the reader) haven’t had thus far. Perhaps there’s a reason Colleen acted so uncharacteristically and slugged Eric in book one, and maybe there’s a thread of common history beyond their family tragedy that makes Eric always remember her with warmth and a touch of regret, despite their apparent coolness toward one another? These are the little elements that get to be brought to the surface as these two take the stage for their own passionate romance. One of the things that’s nice about this is that old readers can peek into formerly obscured events going on in the background of former books, while new readers can experience it new, fresh, and complete.
I noticed that as I wrote Claiming Colleen that the tone of the story was different than the two former books—a little lighter, less somber, and a bit more tongue in cheek. Eric’s and Colleen’s dialogue flowed in a quick, familiar rhythm, highlighting these two individuals’ inherent confidence, intelligence…and, of course, stubborn streaks that go miles deep. Their chemistry provided a nice alteration in the flow of the series. Yes, this couple has also been touched by past tragedy and their lives today show undeniable marks of it. But they are also both intensely vibrant and present individuals, and thus their romance has an active, vigorous feel to it.
I suppose some people might think it was strange that I came up with a romance series that was at least partially inspired by news articles of the Taconic Parkway crash. For whatever reason, I was deeply moved by this heart-rending story about senseless death, multiple families’ losses, and the inevitable grinding pain of the survivors. Romance novels are, at their essence, books about love, though; the power of love to transform, grow, and eventually heal our flawed human selves. What’s more, Harlequin Special Edition is an imprint that focuses on families. I thought it was a perfect home for this story about three very different families, their journey to forgiveness and acceptance, and, finally, happiness within the arms of the one they love.
For the giveaway today: Thank you to The Good, The Bad and the Unread for hosting me here today! I’ll give two randomly chosen commenters their choice of two books from the Home to Harbor Town series, The Hometown Hero Returns, Liam’s Perfect Woman, or Claiming Colleen.