Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a father-daughter scene featuring Mads and his youngest daughter, Freya, from Maybe Forever.

Photo credit: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock.
Photo credit: rSnapshotPhotos/Shutterstock.

Once Anton and I rang off, I took Freya into the bathroom and cooled off her skin with a cold compress. The aloe vera gel came next. Freya whimpered at first but as the gel soothed away the heat she settled down and a tiny smile emerged again. I hated seeing her like this. How did Laney deal with this all the time? All I knew was I wanted to make everything better for my little girl.
She was growing so fast–just yesterday she’d managed to pull herself up on her own and balance for a few moments. Laney and I had watched, mesmerized, as our youngest daughter planted her hands onto the sofa cushion to brace herself and try to stand. In a few days she would be eight months old. Would she be an early bloomer and begin walking before she was even ten months old? Or would she be more like Liv, who’d taken her time about walking and explored every inch of the apartment crawling or scooting, only to take us by surprise on her first birthday by standing and taking off almost immediately in a wobbly run.
After a sleepless night thanks to her sunburn, Freya was more subdued than usual, which was understandable. Hell, I was pretty exhausted too. If anything I wanted to take a nap and I’d barely been out of bed for more two or three hours. Picking up Freya again, I asked her, “What do you think, lille ven? Shall we take a nap?”
My daughter yawned, her sleepy green eyes struggling to remain open. We retraced the path to the bedroom Laney and I had been sharing. The bedroom faced the back garden and was shaded by most of the morning sun thanks to the lush canopy of a marbleberry tree. It cast swaying shadows on the wall as a breeze caught its branches. Freya and I watched the shadows dance. She giggled and pointed at the tree. I kept my arm protectively around her as I began to drift off. It wasn’t long until even Freya settled down and her tiny sighs let me know she’d fallen asleep.
The air conditioner’s hum formed a cloud of white noise that lulled me even deeper into sleep. Freya planted her thumb in her mouth. I wondered if she was dreaming of penguins. Don’t grow up too quickly, I thought as my eyelids grew heavy. Stay my baby girl for just a little while longer.

Earlier this week, we caught up with Laney. Now let’s have a sit-down with Benny, the saucy intern who seems to have a thing for Mads. She’s been pretty forthright about her interest in him. Let’s see what she has to say for herself. 


Me: So tell it to me straight, Benny. Why did you start making moves on Mads? You knew he was married–

Benny: (laughs) You’ve seen him. You know how gorgeous he is. And I liked what I saw, so I went for it.

Me: It can’t be so shallow as that.

Benny: Look, I don’t know what you expect me to say. I’m not really into relationships. I suppose I’m like a guy in that way… I like to hit it and quit it. I know it sounds vulgar, but I don’t have any hang-ups when it comes to sex. If I want it, I want it. And Mads…well, he’s insanely hot.

Me: But is that a reason to go after a man you know is married?

Benny: You know what I wanted? I just wanted to see if I could do it. Turn his head. Get him interested. See where it went. I knew it was a long shot. And, no, I was not interested in being the next Mrs. Rasmussen or being the mother of his children. I just wanted a taste of him.

Me: You’ve been interning at the collective. How did you end up there?

Brazilian Cinita Dicker, inspiration for Benny.
Brazilian Cinita Dicker, inspiration for Benny.

Benny: I heard about it through the grapevine. Morten and Mads came to my design seminar at Designhøjskole and I really liked how mellow they were. They didn’t act like they were too good to be there, they didn’t blather on like they were saying oh-so-very important words that didn’t really mean anything. They seemed real, you know? And I had total respect for that. I’m a designer too. I wanted to be a part of this–work together with some guys who seemed really cool and whose work was well and truly kick-ass. And then I heard Willem talking about how he’d applied, but I’d missed the application deadline. So I just went there and pretended I’d applied. Mads wasn’t there that day. It was Jonas and Morten who ended up interviewing me. I guess they liked my portfolio.

Me: What are you plans now? Are you going to continue trying to get Mads?

Benny: (shrugging) If he shows an interest, then why should I turn him down?

Me: And has he shown an interest?

Benny: Not yet…but it’s only a matter of time. And his wife isn’t around, so I’m guessing he might be more interested now.

Me: What about your position at the collective? Shouldn’t you be more focused on your career and getting work experience?

Benny: I know I’m good already. I’m the best intern there. And I do a damned good job, so nobody can complain. I go in, I work…I finish my projects on time. Yes, I flirt. I think any woman in my position would do the same.

Me: Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Benny (laughs again): I don’t know…but wherever I am, I’ll be enjoying myself. Maybe I’ll have my own collective. Maybe they’ll take me on full-time. I guess we’ll just to wait and see.


Get your copy of Maybe Forever – available for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo. Coming soon in trade paperback.


magic size (1)Fellow author Caroline Bell Foster and I are on simultaneous blog tours this week! 😀

I’ll be sharing insight into Maybe Baby and Maybe Tonight, and Caroline will be giving us the scoop on Call Me Lucky! Get to know us, our books and our characters a little better, and find out what we’ll be up to next. 🙂 We always love to hear from our readers, so check out our tour schedules and pop by!

Here’s my schedule  and here’s Caroline’s. Many thanks to the team at Diverse Book Tours for helping us arrange our mini-tours!

Other news? I should be getting Maybe Forever back from the editor tomorrow, so soon I’ll now how much of a rewrite is necessary. 🙂 Once that’s done, I’ll finally be able to share a release date with you. 🙂

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The Writing Process Blog Tour

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 06.27.54I’ve been tagged!
Before I delve into my post, I’d like to thank multi-genre author Rae Lori for inviting me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour.
I usually don’t think very much about my writing process, so this will be an interesting exercise for me. So let’s get started, otherwise I might end up writing a blog post about my favorite Danish actor or where I think you can get the best cup of coffee in Stockholm. I might even go into a long diatribe about why the cheese steak is so important to Philadelphians.

 

1. What am I working on? 

I’m working on quite a few projects at the same time. I’ve got a serial novella called Maybe Tonight, which tells the story of Mads (the love interest from my latest novel, Maybe Baby) and what happens to him just before he meets Laney and how his life changes when they embark upon their relationship. I’m also working on a follow-up full-length novel to Maybe Baby that is called Maybe Tomorrow. This time the focus will be on Eddy (Laney’s cousin) and Henrik (Mads’s cousin) and what happens when they meet. Mads, Laney and a few other characters from Maybe Baby will be there as well. And then there are two novellas I am working on set in the fictional town of Hunters Grove, the setting for my debut novel, Snowbound. I’ve got a few other WIPs that need a bit of tweaking. I can’t work on one project at a time. 🙂

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, lately I’ve been writing about the expat experience. And my expat experience is based here in Scandinavia, so that seems to be bleeding into my writing a lot. And this, I think, is unique because you don’t get a lot of romantic fiction written in English that is told from a black woman’s point of view and set in Sweden. Even though the opening scene in Maybe Baby is set in New York, the rest of the story takes place in Stockholm, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark. It deals with the cultural differences, the feeling of rootlessness one develops as an expat, searching for love in a foreign language, the “Lost in Translation” moments, the assumptions we arrive with and learn to leave behind.

3. Why do I write what I do? 

I think I’ve always written about interracial couples. Back when I was in high school, all of the books about couples never seemed to reflect what was my reality. I didn’t have a segregated group of friends. I didn’t go to a segregated school. I went to a magnet school in Philadelphia that attracted kids of every ethnicity and walk of life and I liked being in multiracial/multicultural environment. But a lot of the novels I read only featured an all-white or all-black cast with the occasional walk-in part by a minority, and this bothered me. I wanted to read books that were similar to what was my everyday experience, and I had a hard time finding them. And then I began to wonder why so few writers were featuring interracial couples in their fiction. I started to write more about them once I was part of an interracial relationship. Some books featured them but either turned their reason for being together into a fetish or an issue. So I continued writing about interracial couples because I wanted to write the books I wanted to read. And I continue to write about them because I like writing about love in all its messy, complicated, blissful, wonderful, infuriating, extraordinary forms.

4. How does my writing process work? 

It depends on when I start writing. If it’s November and it’s NaNoWriMo time, I start from chapter one and just write and don’t stop until I have at least 50,000 words of a first draft. I usually spend October preparing for NaNoWriMo. That’s when I decide who my characters will be, write bios for them and interview them so I know them backwards and forwards, and then I write down an outline for the story. That’s how I wrote Snowbound and Maybe Baby. I don’t always follow the outline. It’s just a guideline. If I start a writing project at any other point in the year, I usually spend more time doing things like making an inspiration board on Pinterest (though I did this with Snowbound and Maybe Baby as well), making Spotify writing playlists, procrastinating on Facebook or Tumblr and then I sit down and write. I try to write at least 500 words a day. Sometimes I end up with 2000, sometimes zilch. But the important thing is that I block time in my schedule to write. And I usually get a lot of writing done when I am on vacation.
That’s it for me. Keep following the Writing Process Blog Tour next week when three other writers share their secrets with us. Our next three writers are:

Nia Forrester
Here’s Nia’s bio from her blog: “I live in Washington D.C. where I am a public policy attorney, spending much of my time mining my experiences for material to write about. My intended audience is anyone who likes what I write, but one of my missions is to speak directly to the experiences of women of color who don’t fit the mold and don’t see themselves represented in gritty urban novels about drugs, guns and the ghetto, but who occasionally want to read something a little more accessible than the lyrical but complex prose of some of our best poets and writers.”

Claire Duffy
Here’s Claire’s bio from her blog: “Hello! I’m Claire. Writer & all round professional daydreamer currently living in Sweden for no particular reason. Yes that is a rainbow coming out of my head. I write for film and TV – my feature film Guilty is currently in development with Formosa Films – and indie publish fiction series online to my heart’s content! THE MONDAY COLUMN (why yes, I did use the word column because it makes me feel fancy, thank you for asking), where I blog about writing, ex pat life, and other random bits and pieces, posts about when you might expect. SEX, DRUGS & SWING, a blog about the scandals of 1920s Hollywood, posts on Wednesdays. LOVE REFUGEE is a fiction serial which runs on Your Living City, Stockholm (I post the links here!) It tells the story of Ellie, a British ex pat in Stockholm, who is determined to stay single but discovers she has a weakness for Swedish men… (It’s not at all autobiographical. Honest.) You can find completed series Life is Swede, about a woman who moves to Stockholm only to discover that her boyfriend may be a killer, and Identity Part 1, the story of a troubled psychologist who goes undercover to catch a serial killer, on Amazon.”

Tia Kelly
Here’s Tia’s bio from her blog: “Tia Kelly may be witty and feisty on the outside, but she is a diehard romantic at heart. She likes to bring ‘life moments… one character at a time’ in the contemporary action and is the author of nine books. In addition to her love for writing, reading, playing chef in her own kitchen and traveling, Tia loves to kick back with a glass of wine and a good game on her television screen. And if it’s baseball season, you will probably hear Tia shouting the loudest (or checking out the cuties in the dugout)!”