Thursday, February 08, 2007


Whew! I’ve finally made it to My Tote Bag. It’s been on my must-do list for weeks, but the work-in progress-wasn’t -- progressing that is – and everything has gone by the board in the meantime.

But I delivered my manuscript on Monday and I’m here just in time to wish you all your heart’s desire for Valentine Day, which rather wonderfully is also the US publication date for my latest book, THE VALENTINE BRIDE.

This is the final book in a series set around the family who founded and run the fabulous BELLA LUCIA restaurants. They have been set in the US, Europe and Australia and now the moment has come for both Max and Louise, who have a rather stormy history, to confront the past, look to the future – the future of Bella Lucia and their future together.

It won’t be easy. Louise has just discovered that she was adopted and that everything she believed about herself was a lie. But angry as she is, she knows how much she owes her family and she’ll use her PR skills to help launch the Bella Lucia restaurants into a new era before she walks away to build a new life with her newly discovered half-sister in Australia. A relationship with her birth mother.

That means working with Max and the last time they worked together, he sacked her very publicly, in front of a restaurant full of diners. Right after she threw a fully loaded vase at his head.

Their relationship has always been, well, let’s listen in on them for a moment...

“Dammit, Louise, you haven’t changed one bit –”

“Dammit, Max, neither have you!” She was on her feet, in his face. “You’re still the same arrogant, over-bearing, despotic, pig-headed idiot you always were!”, explosive.

She’ll work with him. But it’s going to cost him. And she’s going to name her own price!

* * *

It was a very challenging experience to take on characters and a back story that were not my own, but part of an ongoing series. It took me a while to get to know Max and Louise and I have to admit that my first reaction on being given my story brief was that Max needed to get himself PDA and Louise needed to grow up and get over it.

But of course things are never that simple and, a writer I’m aware that people don’t always act rationally – we’d be very short of inspiration if they did! And so I began to dig for the “what’s driving them” answers. Search for the reason why Max would put the restaurant ahead of everything, everyone. To have real respect Louise for what she’d achieved entirely on her own – once Max had thrown her out of the family business. Feel her pain when she finally admits that her feelings for Max had ruined her chance of a fulfilling relationship with any other man.

* * *

This was my first “continuity” and writing with seven other authors was huge fun. From the beginning we bounced ideas of each other, talked through scenes – especially the Christmas party where all the characters were together. Louise’s bad-girl Christmas outfit was born out of an hilarious exchange with Linda Goodnight who wrote Married Under the Mistletoe – Daniel and Stephanie story.

And Ally Blake (Wanted; Outback Wife -- the story of Louise’s half sister, Jodie and Heath) and I became really close as we exchanged scenes; she sent me hers with Louise, I send her mine, with Heath’s half brother, Cal – making sure that we got the “voices” right.

It wasn’t all plain sailing. There was my big scene where Louise was talking up an upcoming royal wedding, only for my editor to inform me that the wedding had happened in a previous book. I’d checked with Raye Morgan (The Rebel Prince), and she’d left it with the Prince showing his future bride to his people. It was Teresa Southwick (Crazy About the Boss) who had them appear at that Christmas party already married, sending me back to the drawing board. This was a steep learning curve!

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat.


Jennifer Y. said...

I can't wait to read this book!

Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

I'm with Jennifer, I'm really looking forward to it!

liz said...


Congrats on the book and the end of a series. You must be excited to finish it and sad to see it end?


Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, guys! And yes, Liz, it is sad to see the end of a series, but thrilling to have the book out there at last!

Anne McAllister said...

Max is great! Everyone should snap up a copy of Max and Louise's book as soon as it comes out. I loved that book, Liz!

Lee Hyat said...

It's a fantastic series and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Loved the book, Liz!

Jennifer Y. said...

I have always been curious about how continuities work. It sounds like a fun, but challenging undertaking...especially trying to keep everything straight for consistency across books.

ChristyJan said...

This book sounds great