Feb 10, 2016

A Deal to Mend their Marriage—behind the book

The first frisson of inspiration for Caro and Jack’s story came when I started playing around with the idea of writing a caper story. That spark might’ve ignited when a few writing friends of mine waxed lyrical about the movie To Catch a Thief when we were having lunch one day. It’s a movie I’ve never seen, but have always meant to watch.

I still haven’t seen it. But I will. Soon!

It also strikes me that, not long before this discussion of To Catch a Thief, I’d read Anne Stuart’s PRINCE OF SWORDS, which also happens to feature a cat burglar as a hero.

So…I’m guessing that between them, this is what influenced my book. :-)

To be fair, unlike Cary Grant, my hero isn’t a cat burglar, but a security specialist who has a certain…ahem, talent for retrieving lost items. My heroine, however, just like Grace Kelly, is an heiress. And rather than missing jewels we have a missing antique snuffbox. Just to make things more interesting I made them husband and wife…who've been estranged for the past five years. I find it hard to resist a reunion story, don't you?

That’s perhaps why this became my theme song for A DEAL TO MEND THEIR MARRIAGE….

Gorgeous, isn’t it?

And just for fun, here’s an except: Caro and Jack’s first meeting after five years apart…

Despite the loss of the snuffbox and all the morning’s kerfuffle, it was Jack’s face that rose in her mind and memories of the past that invaded Caro, chasing her other concerns aside, as she trudged across Westminster Bridge.
  So when she first saw his face in the midst of the crowd moving towards her on the bridge Caro dismissed it as a flight of fancy, a figment of her imagination. Until she realised that blinking hadn’t made the image fade. It had only made the features of that face clearer—a face that was burned onto her soul.
  She stopped dead. Jack was in London?
  The crowd surged around her, but she couldn’t move. All she could do was stare.
  Jack! Jack! Jack!
  His name pounded at her as waves of first cold and then heat washed over her. The ache to run to him nearly undid her. And then his gaze landed on her and he stopped dead too.
  She couldn’t see the extraordinary cobalt blue of his eyes at this distance, but she recognised the way they narrowed, noted the way his nostrils flared. She’d always wondered what would happen if they should accidentally meet on the street. Walking past each other without so much as an acknowledgement obviously wasn’t an option, and she was fiercely glad about that.
  Hauling in a breath, she tilted her head to the left a fraction and started towards the railing of the bridge. She leaned against it, staring down at the brown water swirling in swift currents below. He came to stand beside her, but she kept her gaze on the water.
  ‘Hello, Jack.’
  She couldn’t look at him. Not yet. She stared at the Houses of Parliament and then at the façade of the aquarium on the other side of the river. ‘Have you been in London long?’
  Finally she turned to meet his gaze and her heart tried to grow bigger and smaller in the same moment. She read intent in his eyes and slowly straightened. ‘You’re here to see me?’
  His demeanour confirmed it, but he nodded anyway. ‘Yes.’
  ‘I see.’ She turned to stare back down at the river. ‘Actually…’ She frowned and sent him a sidelong glance. ‘I don’t see.’
  He folded his tall frame and leaned on the railing too. She dragged her gaze from his strong, hawk-like profile, afraid that if she didn’t she might reach across and kiss him.
  ‘I heard about your father.’
  She pursed her lips, her stomach churning like the currents below. ‘You didn’t send a card.’
  He didn’t say anything for a moment. ‘You send me a Christmas card every year…’
  He never sent her one.
  ‘Do you send all your ex-lovers Christmas cards?’
  She straightened. ‘Only the ones I marry.’

Can you tell I had a lot of fun writing A DEAL TO MEND THEIR MARRIAGE?

So tell me, are you a fan of a caper story? Do you like a little mystery mixed in with your romance? And do you love all of that delicious angsty history of a reunion story? Or maybe you prefer something altogether different—like a Cinderella rags-to-riches tale? Hmm…maybe I should write one of those next. ;-)


  1. Hi Michelle

    Loved that song and I loved this story and for me yes I do love a bit of suspense mixed in with my romance I always think it spices things up and truly this story did it for me I loved how Caro and Jack fired up that spark again :)

    Have Fun

    1. Oh, Helen, there are days when I just can't get enough of that song! Glad you love it too. As for suspense adding an extra little spark to a story, I totally agree. :-) Can't tell you how pleased I am that you enjoyed Caro and Jack's story!

  2. Lovely song, Michelle! I'm always curious about musical influences on stories, I know some authors have whole playlists for their books. But i love the idea of a single song soundtrack :)

    I love a little mystery/caper with my romance. Charade with Audrey Hepburn springs to mind as one of my favourites, I watched it years ago and totally fell in love with it.

    1. Oh, I LOVE Charade, Stef! It's one of my favourite Audrey Hepburn movies -- great dialogue. :-)

      Having a soundtrack for a book is great. It helps me find the tone I want to capture (sometimes for the whole book and sometimes just for an element of the story). I have created entire playlists for books in the past, but not very often. That said, I did find it to be a nice way to channel some inspiration. Whatever works, I say. :-)

  3. Love that song, love a reunion romance! Not so fond of those old time movie capers though. They tend to be a little OTT for my liking...

    1. Amy -- what's happening? We're only twinning on two out of three here. ;-)

      I do know what you mean, though. While I think them loads of fun, capers can definitely be a little OTT. Obviously mine's not... ;-)

    2. Was only talking about the movies, I promise x

    3. LOL. I didn't doubt it for a moment. ;-)

  4. Loved reading about the story behind this story. I like all stories just need to be in the right headspace and mood for them sometimes. Have tried starting 3 since the one that absorbed me the day after reading Caro and Jack's story and just can't seem to connect!

    1. I think it's the variety of the stories in the romance genre, Lyn, that make it so appealing. Though, like you, I sometimes need to be in the right mood for certain types of stories.

      I hope you get your reading mojo back soon! I can be like that too after having read a really compelling book...can take me a few days before I'm ready to pick up something new. Also, thank you for the review on GoodReads -- very chuffed that you picked up on the snuffbox symbolism. :-)

  5. Michelle, I'm not a great fan of the old-fashioned caper movies either -- for the same OTT reasons as Amy -- but I LOVE LOVE LOVE reunion romances AND romances with a dash of suspense. Also London, your song and excerpt.

    Looking forward to immersing myself in Caro and Jack's story. Am sure if anyone can sell me a caper, it's you!

    1. Ah, Bron, another who isn't a fan of the caper! Though you're a doll for thinking that I could sell you on one. :-) Jack and Caro's story is primarily a romance (obviously) with a light caper element, so it's not really all that OTT. Plus it IS a reunion story and it IS set in London. Two elements definitely in its favour. ;-)

  6. I love a bit of mystery with my romance, Michelle. Caro and Jack’s story sounds fantastic.

    1. Having a little bit of mystery in the story made it a hoot to write, Jen! And I love Caro and Jack -- hopefully readers will too. :-)

  7. Michelle, I'm so looking forward to reading this book! I love a bit of action and suspense in my romances. And yes, you do need to see 'To Catch a Thief' sometime soon!

    1. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you enjoy it, Annie. As for 'To Catch a Thief,' we might have to have a movie day sometime soon...with popcorn and wine and all good things. :-)

  8. Oooo, I love the excerpt from Jack and Caro's story, Michelle! And it's fun to read the background. I'll have to put this book on my shopping list. Reunion stories rock!

    I've seen To Catch A Thief - many years ago now but it was fun and what's not to like about Cary Grant as the hero!

    I'll have to listen to that song when our connection is a bit better! This morning was a challenge just to get to the blog!

    1. Hugs, Sharon, I hope you get all your services back soon!

      So glad you enjoyed the excerpt. And I totally agree about reunion stories! I think they may in fact be my very favourite trope. :-)

      Off now to dream of Cary Grant. ;-)

  9. I love mystery in any story I read, and prefer reunion stories too. All that history that's got to be sorted through - fun.