Over the 4th of July weekend, my husband and I packed the kids in the minivan and headed off through West Virginia to the Lexington, Kentucky area to have a mini family reunion for his side of the family. One of his cousins was celebrating their 10th Wedding Anniversary, and as real Maddreys (vs. those of us who married in and might lean more toward introversion than those with the actual DNA) are never shy about finding a reason to party, everyone converged to attend the shindig they’d planned.
During the weekend, I began to play a little game with myself about who was going to ask if I’d written my second book yet. See, I made a bit of a big deal about the first book. I was so excited that Wisdom to Know was being published that, in behavior very contrary to how I normally am, I told everyone I could think of about it. And…as I think most authors would admit, their debut novel doesn’t go on to represent the quality of their writing forever. We improve. We work at it. And as much as I love Wisdom to Know, I also recognize that there were some pieces of it that could have used some improvement. And after a number of reviewers said the same thing…I kind of stopped making such a big deal about new releases when it came to family members.
So when the question arose (first to the gate was Uncle Johnny, published in non-fiction, so it made sense that he asked) he was chagrined to hear that I just released my 10th book at the beginning of June. His mouth flopped open and shut for a few minutes and then he said, “So I guess you’re enjoying writing?” We had a good chuckle. I asked if he thought he’d write a third book and his response was, “Not if I can help it.” So, yeah, our enjoyment of the writing life is somewhat different.
Next to ask was Aunt Betty Ann, though she knew I’d finished the first trilogy and wanted me to autograph her kindle. (And seriously, that made my day.) But the number ten still left her a little flabbergasted. So we chatted a bit about Courage to Change and Serenity to Accept. And she mentioned how much she enjoyed Matt and Laura, a recurring couple throughout those first three books. Did she know, I wondered, that I’d written a novella about those two?
Nope. No idea that Joint Venture was out there, a prequel to the Grant Us Grace series (and quite a deal at $0.99, if I say so myself.) She wondered why I’d gone back to write about them and it was fun to talk about how much I fell in love with Matt and Laura as they were friends and mentors, first to Kevin and Lydia, then to Phil and Allison, and finally to Jason and Karin. I wasn’t ready to let them fade off into the sunset without us first getting a glimpse at how they turned their long-time friendship into a solid marriage and family.
And I loved them so much, that they cropped up (as do the other six friends) in the Remnants series. While technically women’s fiction (and so not a series that I talk much about here on InspyRomance, since the main character sisters are already married and dealing with difficulty starting their own families), there’s still romance, even if it’s married couple romance as June and July (pronounced Julie) and their respective hubbies struggle to start families.
Finally was cousin Emily, who’d read the first and knew about the second, but not much more. We talked for quite a bit about all the books and how the characters are still very intertwined across the series. Pastor Brown crops up in all but Kinsale Kisses and A Pinch of Promise. The Taste of Romance books start out with Jackson Trent who was a bit-player in the first three, as a house sitter for Kevin and apartment sitter for Lydia who then, in turn, ended up renting the house of Jason Garcia (the hero of Serenity to Accept). And it’s that same house where Jackson, Ben, and Zach – the three heroes of books one through three of the Taste of Romance series – still live.
And while Colin and Rachel (from Kinsale Kisses) were originally completely stand alone, Colin crops up in A Pinch of Promise, so we get to catch up a bit with him and Rach…I suspect we’ll be seeing a bit more of them in future books as well, now that I’ve realized who their friends are and how they intersect.
And maybe, just maybe, having realized that there’s more than just passing interest from the extended family, I’ll try to be a little better about making sure people I really know know about my books. (Although then I’m not sure what we’ll talk about at the next reunion. :) )
So, I’m curious – do you have something that’s become a major part of your life that your family thinks was just a passing hobby? I’d love to hear about it!