If I could’ve gotten away with it, I would’ve put twenty exclamation marks at the end of my post’s title. Sooo many people ask where my inspiration comes from, and sooo many times I simply don’t know. It happens, okay? But this time, this one book, I know the answer. Therefore, I am trumpeting it to the sky. It’s a two-parter, so bear with me.
My husband and I love to picnic – probably because we adore food and spending time together. When we lived in Chicago, we’d head to the lake shore and the beautiful grounds around Buckingham Fountain, lugging our filled-to the brim picnic basket. Filled by me, mind you. Lots of cooking and planning time expended by yours truly. And plenty of my friends quite simply said they couldn’t spare the time to do it.
That led to a germ of an idea. Everyone deserves romance in their lives. How to get it to them? As I noticed the vibrant downtown neighborhoods open with every sort of retail day and night, I got the idea for a romance store. At the time, I was a wedding planner, and thought it would be terrific to have a place people could duck into to grab a picnic basket full of treats, a card, and a heart shaped blanket to turn a ho-hum Wednesday into a special date night. I even came up with a name for it: A Fine Romance. Fun idea, huh? I’m sure you’d shop there….
Creating the store in my book required far less start-up capital than creating it for real. When my editor put out a call for contemporary trilogies, I got excited. I had a finished book that—in theory—was the start of a trilogy. I say in theory, because I’d never written a sequel, let alone three connected books. Sure, when I wrote that first one, I planned enough secondary characters to sprinkle throughout a trilogy. But all I had was a vague plan. And, when I submitted my manuscript to her, this single, additional sentence: I plan for book two, A FINE ROMANCE, to focus on a sexy male chocolatier fighting his attraction to a romance store manager who hates chocolate. And voila – my inspiration turned into chocolate-flavored reality.
To learn more about the entire Aisle Bound series, come visit me at www.christibarth.com