I’ve been a novelist for many years now – but that was not the path I started out on. I began my career with a degree in journalism and worked for many years in radio, television and film both behind and in front of the camera. (My claim to fame during this time was hosting a live radio show called ‘Desperate & Dateless’ back when I was both!)
If you had asked me at 18 where I saw myself as an adult it would have been somewhere in the world of broadcasting. But life almost never takes us where we think it will. For me, there was no catastrophic event that made me change course. Instead, as I started a family and moved with my husband, I realized that my love of reading and books and the passion I always had for writing might actually be a valid career choice and not just a pastime or an out of reach dream.
When we first meet Maddie, Nicole and Avery in TEN BEACH ROAD, they’re forced from their paths by a Bernie Madoff style Ponzi scheme that leaves them in financial ruin. The three of them, who start out as strangers, are left with only co-ownership of a dilapidated beachfront mansion on Pass-a-Grille in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. With no other paths open, the three take what they think will be a detour in their lives to spend one sweat-soaked summer renovating the once fabulous Mediterranean Revival style home that’s all they have left. But as in my own life, sometimes the detour becomes the better road.
In my first ever sequel, OCEAN BEACH, Maddie, Nicole and Avery are back and what started as a one-time thing, a minor detour, appears to be a truly viable path. Now the women are asked to renovate another home, this time an Art Deco Streamline on Miami’s South Beach that belongs to an aging former Vaudeville star with a tragic past and a secret agenda. But when they arrive to get their first glimpse of the house they’ll be working on, they discover that the network has changed its focus. Their new program, Do Over, isn’t a renovation series but a reality TV show and the cameras are aimed at them. The bonds they formed with each other and the new careers they fell into have become not just something to cope with, but something to embrace, and nurture and grow.
I think I was drawn to write about women who are forced down a new path for financial reasons because I’ve seen it happen to so many of my friends throughout this tough economic environment. And because I’ve seen so many of them turn what could have been a disaster into a dream come true. I truly believe that if you keep an open mind and allow yourself to see the detours and paths that are open to you, you will find the right road, even though it may not be the one you thought you were looking for.
For the women of TEN BEACH ROAD and OCEAN BEACH, this is not just true in their working lives, but in their personal lives as well. The men they thought they wanted might not be the right ones, and the ones they didn’t even notice might be. The mother-daughter relationships they thought of one way have the ability to grow and change and the women they thought so different from themselves could turn out to their best friends in life. Of course, the internal struggle for each of them is to learn to be open to all those possibilities.
For me, writing a sequel to TEN BEACH ROAD was a detour. OCEAN BEACH was not originally planned – and in fact I had to put down another book I was working on to write it. But like most of my little detours, it’s turned into a wonderful experience. So who knows, maybe writing an ongoing series is my new path!
How about you? Are you where you thought you’d be when you were first starting out? Did some of life’s curveballs send you off on a detour that changed your life? Or are you just now considering a new path that has opened up before you? Share your thoughts for a chance to win an autographed copy of TEN BEACH ROAD and OCEAN BEACH!
***Wendy's winner is Jencey Gortney!! Please email email@example.com with your mailing information! Thanks!***