The Memory of Roses is now out in both e-book format and in paperback. It’s been a long journey and I’ve had a lot of help along the way.
In my previous life, I had a successful career as a university professor. I wrote six professional books and countless articles in my field and had no difficulty finding a publisher for any of these. Somehow I thought when I retired and turned to something I had always wanted to do—writing romantic fiction—it would be the same. I would write my book, send it off to one of the big five publishers in New York and they would send me a letter full of praise and a contract by return mail.
A friend of mine, a long time writer of fiction, said, “I hope you’re into rejection.”
My first book was rejected, as it should have been. I knew nothing about the craft of writing fiction. Of staying within my character’s point of view, writing believable dialogue, pacing and plotting so that crisis points happened neither too soon nor too late, developing characters that lived and breathed; my ignorance of all these things was abysmal. I somehow thought that all my years as a voracious reader of fiction would enable me to write it.
That’s rather like thinking that years of attending symphony concerts would enable one to play the French Horn.
I knew I had to go back and acquire the skills necessary to writing fiction. I took courses, read books on craft, and joined the Romance Writers of America, devouring every issue of their journal, Romance Writer’s Report, from cover to cover. I entered contests and used the judges’ comments in revising my work. I put my works-in-progress in the hands of critique groups. And I kept writing and rewriting.
Finally all the blood, sweat and tears paid off. Elizabeth Carr of Rebel Ink Press liked The Memory of Roses. I remember when she emailed me that she had read half of the book and wanted to publish it, my first reaction was to wish she would read the rest just to be sure. I had become so accustomed to rejection that I hardly knew how to handle acceptance.
In The Memory of Roses, I trace the physical and emotional voyage of a young woman, Brit McQuaid, trying to come to grips with her father’s past. Brit’s journey takes her to the Greek island of Corfu, where she meets a sizzling young Greek archaeologist, Andreas Leandros.
Below is a scene between Brit and Andreas from The Memory of Roses:
She looked at the lines of strain etched on his face. “You know you don’t really have to help tomorrow. Daphne and I can manage the last of the painting. You’re under no obligation to keep coming all this way just to help me.”
“I thought we’d resolved that. I don’t ever do anything out of some mistaken sense of obligation. What I do, I do because I want to.”
He paused, placing his hands on her arms in a grip that brooked no interference. “And right at this moment what I want to do is kiss you.”
Before Brit could react to his words Andreas brought his mouth down to hers. His lips touched hers softly at first, then his arms went around her and he buried himself in her mouth, his tongue caressing hers, hunger driven. He groaned, wordlessly declaring his need.
Brit had never in her life experienced such a torrent of desire as swept through her at this moment for this man. She tried to gather her scattered thoughts. Shaken, using every ounce of strength she could muster, she pushed him away.
“Stop! We mustn’t do this,”
Andreas looked at her, dazed.
“You’re too young for me,” Brit blurted out before she could stop herself. “Just how old are you?
“Twenty-six. And you’re thirty-two. Daphne told me. A difference of six years. Would it matter to you if I were six years older than you?”
“Of course not.”
“You’re just twisting things around. You know it’s not the same.”
“I believe that it is exactly the same, and I assure you that I’m not in the least too young for what I have in mind.”
Andreas brought his mouth down again to hers and Brit’s last conscious thought was what the hell! Why not? Why shouldn’t I have this brief interlude? Andreas will return to Santorini in January, and I’m only here for a year. I’ll be sensible later.