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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Claire Ashgrove

A Chain of Bad Valentines

Timeless Valentine, of all the books I’ve written, comes the closest to resembling parts of my reality. Rest assured, the people I’m closest to can pick out the truth from fiction in a heartbeat. Hee!

Let’s start with the only exception – Lucas has nothing to do with my life in any way, shape, or form. He is strictly and utterly a figment of my imagination.

Which leaves Olivia who’s never experienced a Valentine’s Day as they are supposed to happen. Neither have I. So for me, the holiday has no great charm; I don’t care about it one way or the other.

Let’s make a list:
  • Discovered a significant other’s affair on Valentines? Yup.
  • Delivered flowers to my high school boyfriend’s other girlfriend? Yup.
  • Had a significant other who wanted every woman but me? Yup.
  • Had a boyfriend leave a dance with someone else? Well, not exactly, but close.
  • Had a cheating significant other thank me for showing him how to love someone else? Yup too.
I think that’s enough for now, but it should show that Olivia’s past markedly resembles mine. Convincing someone who doesn’t believe in Valentine’s Day that it’s something of merit was a fun challenge. Let me restate that – having Lucas bend-over backwards to try to convince Olivia was a fun challenge. I did use Kansas City this time and one of my favorite places, The Country Club Plaza. One of the antagonists manages a retail store there and, while I didn’t manage the store, I worked at one and spent enough hours there doing management work, I feel like I did. The snake who tries to take Lucas for a ride in business is modeled after a horse-trader I knew years ago. Then there’s Olivia’s puppy. He was a direct copy/paste of the Labrador I owned. Four weeks after making my home his, he made it clear the depths he’d go to for his newfound family when an intruder entered the home in the middle of the night. I had never seen (and hope to never see) a rabid dog. Charley was so intent on protecting us that he epitomized Old Yeller that night. He brought home (literally) a girlfriend the following summer, and promptly became the father to six adorable puppies. At eleven years old, my neighbor shot him, (We’ll not discuss that – my best friend put it best, “Hillbillies with guns.”) and blew a hole out the top of his back that required 17 stitches. The tops of all his vertebrae were knocked off, and he was filled with shot. When he failed to come to breakfast, his girlfriend led me to where he was hiding in the grass, splayed open and bleeding all over the lawn, looking at me with, “Will you please help me?” He pulled through, miraculously, with no critical injuries. A year later, he was diagnosed with cancer. Of all the dogs I’ve owned, Charley is one who deserves to romp in green pastures and chase rabbits. Letting him go after nursing him through such a devastating disease was very difficult. I hung on by adding him into three books. One as the adult dog I knew. Two as the puppy I imagined he might have been. More to come tomorrow, with A Christmas To Believe In.
When Lucas Benning relocated to Kansas City, his best friend’s sister became his roommate. Problem is, they’ve despised each other since he cut off her hair when she was fifteen. But with Valentines Day looming, his sentimental side can’t accept Olivia’s jaded perspective the holiday’s for fools. He vows to prove romance doesn’t go hand-in-hand with sex. Except, a game he starts to prove a point awakens a frightening passion he can’t escape. Eccentric artist, Olivia McDaniels, finds Lucas’ proposal laughable. Yet, when her brother commissions a portrait of Lucas, she sees a different side of the man--tender and selfless. To her horror, he chips away at the walls around her heart. Only, Lucas belongs to another woman, and the feelings he stirs can only lead to pain. As the holiday arrives, will Cupid's arrows forge a timeless bridge between their differences, or will they eternally miss their mark?

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