Fiction from Reality
For me, some of the best ideas come from my everyday life. Sometimes, an entire character or scene can come from something I see or hear. Today, I was sitting outside of my daughter’s dance studio when I overhead a mom talking to her 4 year old son, asking him to be patient while she found her phone. The poor kid was moaning and cupping his man-parts, hopping back and forth on both feet. Now I don’t have boys, but I was pretty darn sure he was flashing her the universal sign for “I gotta go bathroom.”
Mom, still looking for her cell, didn’t act fast enough, and the kid just dropped trou. Right there in the middle of the parking lot. The mom looked up and, she didn’t yell or even scramble to get him to a bathroom, she just let out a tired sigh and said, “Come on, Connor, don’t pee by the car door. If you have to, then pee on the back tire.”
Obedient Connor waddled, pants around his ankles, to the back of the car and did as mom asked. Connor found his relief, and I found the beginnings Nicholas Reese, my heroine’s four year old son in the fourth book of the St. Helena Vineyard series.
The idea for the St. Helena Vineyard series itself came in a similar way. Years ago my husband invited his cousin to Thanksgiving dinner, who in turn invited her aunt, who invited another aunt, who invited an uncle and in the end I was responsible for roasting turkey for 13 Italians—let me clarify, I put the turkey in the oven and as soon as his family learned I was A) NOT Italian and B) a vegetarian, I was promptly kicked out of the kitchen and given a glass of wine. The dinner was loud and long and we consumed 25lbs of Turkey, 14 bottles of wine, and I knew that someday I would have to capture this kind of crazy love on paper. Seven years later the DeLuca family was created and I was finally able to write my scene. And here is a snip of it…
In this scene, the heroine, Lexi Moreau, is in the bathroom, trying to have a private conversation with her best friend, Abby, when the door explodes in. Poor Lexi discovers that, bathroom or not, private and the DeLuca’s do not co-exist.
Excerpt from SUMMER IN NAPA
There was rustling as though some brotherly shoving and maybe a noogie was taking place on the other side of the door. Then Marc spoke. “She’s in there with Abby.”
“Doing what?” Trey sounded completely confused.
“They’re either sharing secrets or they’re trying to sneak out the window above the commode again,” Nonna ChiChi said a moment before the door shot open.
Dressed in an apron that read Got Cannoli? and a pair of red kitten heels that cost more than Lexi’s entire wardrobe, stood Marc’s nonna ChiChi. Beside her was Pricilla, looking stunning in her teal slacks and a tucked-in David Hasselhoff T-shirt with a seascape of gems bedazzled around the neckline, making the ensemble evening appropriate. At least in Pricilla’s mind.
“We weren’t trying to sneak out,” Abby defended, standing up.
“Of course you weren’t, dear,” Pricilla said, stepping into the bathroom and sitting on the commode. She held a covered dish in her right hand and her crocheted bag of treats in her left. She was smiling and in arm’s reach of both Abby’s and Lexi’s mouths. Most grannies discouraged lying with a mouthful of soap; Pricilla believed more in the if-your-mouth-is-too-full-of-chocolate-the-lie-can’t-come-out method.
“That’s exactly what you told me the last time, right before Mr. Patterson caught you two skinny-dipping in his pool,” ChiChi accused.
Abby was about to say something when Marc peeked his head over ChiChi’s. “You went skinny-dipping?”
“The night she stole my car,” Pricilla added.
“I had on underwear,” Lexi clarified, forcing her shoulders back but failing to hide the embarrassment creeping up her face. “And I just borrowed it.”
“What color was the underwear?” Trey wanted to know, popping his head in.
Marc elbowed his brother in the ribs and saved Lexi from answering.
“She hasn’t even had dinner and you’re going to scare her away.” A petite woman with striking blue eyes pushed her way in the room. One hand was securely tangled with Gabe’s, and the other rubbed back and forth over her pregnant belly. “The DeLucas are still learning the concept of personal space and that a bathroom isn’t the place for a family reunion.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Gabe said right as Nate and Tanner came through the door.
“Is it true you’re shacking up with this guy?” Trey wanted to know. Marc slugged him in the arm, and Trey slugged back when Nate pushed his way into the room and between the two brothers.
“Leave the poor thing alone,” Regan said with a reprimanding swat to Trey’s gut.
“I never really knew,” Lexi whispered to Abby.
“Oh, this is nothing,” she whispered back. “Wait until one of them questions the other’s manliness. Then it is on.”
“Shame on you, Trey. Where are your manners? Sleeping in sin is one thing.” ChiChi shook her head and made the sign of the cross. “Making her admit it in front her grandmother is plain rude.”
Lexi felt the blush rise even higher in her cheeks. Did they know about last night? Making people think they were having sex was part of the original plan, but that was before they had done the pantry-floor shuffle.
Marc ran a hand through his hair. “Christ, Nonna—”
Pricilla shoved a summer fiesta cake ball in Marc’s mouth and scolded, “Language. Plus, I don’t think he’s eaten the apple.” Her eyes narrowed, assessing Lexi and then Marc before frowning. “Tart, pie, or strudel. What’s wrong with you, son?”
Summer in Napa Blurb:
When Alexis “Lexi” Moreau caught her husband, Jeff, sampling the sous-chef’s more intimate wares in their New York restaurant, she ran—all the way back to her hometown of St. Helena, California. Six months later, Lexi has no husband and no restaurant. But she does have a three-step plan: First, convert her grandmother’s bakery into her dream bistro. Second, ignore Grandma’s matchmaking attempts. And third, avoid Marco DeLuca, her ex’s commitment-phobic, distractingly sexy best friend.
In school Lexi was off-limits for Marco. After all, she was his buddy’s girl. But she’s still as smart and as gorgeous—and apparently as immune to his charms—as she used to be. Yet the simple fake romance they agree upon to dodge Lexi’s grandmother’s matchmaking plans soon turns deliciously complicated. And the sultry summer might bring together all the right ingredients for Marco to win the only woman he’s ever wanted.
Marina Adair is a National bestselling author of romance novels. Along with the St. Helena Vineyard series, she is also the author of Tucker’s Crossing, part of the Sweet Plains series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and three neurotic cats in Northern California.
Twitter: @MarinaEAdair https://twitter.com/MarinaEAdair
GIVEAWAY – Marina has graciously offered up one ARC of Summer In Napa to a US winner. To enter simply answer this question:
*Do you enjoy small town romances?*
Giveaway open until May 24th @ 11:59pm EST with winner announced shortly after!