Back in my early writing days, I always told myself that once I was published, I’d never read reviews on my book. That I wouldn’t be one of those authors that constantly refreshed GoodReads and checked her Amazon sales rank every hour. Instead, I’d keep my chin up, and my eye on what mattered: writing.
. . .
When my first review of After the Kiss went up on GoodReads, you couldn’t have paid me not to look. A month after release, I’ve relaxed a little on my diligent watching of reviews, but I’ve got a pretty good sense of what readers think of my debut book. The reviews are positive. They like it. Yay! But there’s one very consistent element that comes up in about 90% of reviews:
Comparison to the movie How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
I’m not going to lie. This comparison kills me a little. Not because I have anything against the movie. I really don’t. And I watched it after the references started rolling in, and I totally see the similarity. In both, the heroine writes for a woman’s magazine, and the hero finds himself involved in a dumb bet. Lying ensues. So yes, there are definitely parallels.
But the honest-to-God truth is that the movie wasn’t even remotely on my radar when I planned out the Stiletto series. Truly. However, I did have an on-screen inspiration for Stiletto . . .
Sex and the City.
I put a fair amount of effort into making sure my series was very different from its muse, and it must have paid off judging from the fact that people are accusing me of drawing inspiration from the wrong movie ;)
So why Sex and the CIty? Partially, because I was intrigued by the idea of women (like Carrie Bradshaw) who made a career out of being “experts” on men in general, only to find out that they’re completely clueless when it comes to their own love life. But even that wasn’t the primary reason.
As a romance author, the “sex” was a given. But what really drew me in was the city part of Sex and the City.
See, New York City was every bit as much of a secondary character in SATC as Miranda and Big. Manhattan was at times Carrie’s best friend and worst enemy. The city is sometimes fickle, occasionally cruel, but always, always inspiring. And though I loved the TV series before I ever visited New York, it wasn’t until I actually moved there that I “got it.” The sheer number of restaurants and bars and pizza stands, hell, the sheer number of people, fills the city with this sort of restless energy and makes you want to well, write books about it.
So yes, After the Kiss is about Julie’s magazine article, and it’s Mitchell’s bet and the fireworks that happen when those two catalysts collide. It’s about love catching you by surprise, and first kisses and taking chances, and all the good stuff that comes with the romance genre.
But it’s also about the city in which all of that happens. It’s Julie’s disastrous run in Central Park, and making out at the Metropolitan Opera House. It’s the sexy night clubs, and tiny kitchens and endless amounts of takeout food because New Yorkers really do use their oven for storage.
I’ve been out of New York for two months now and I’ve been missing it every day, but never so much as this week as we dip our toe into Fall, which is what got me thinking about the city’s influence on my work. Autumn is NYC’s most perfect season, and I hate not being there for it. Carrie Bradshaw perhaps said it best in the season finale of episode four:
There is a time of year in New York when, even before the first leaf falls, you can feel the seasons click. The air is crisp, the summer is gone. And for the first night in a long time, you need a blanket on your bed.
It’s moments like this that make New York New York, and that I think—I hope—make Stiletto, Stiletto. At the end of the day, After the Kiss and the rest of my series isn’t a cheap knock-off of any romantic comedy. It’s about people falling in love in one of the country’s most fabulous cities.
About After the Kiss
In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love.
Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.
Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.
Lauren Layne graduated from Santa Clara University with a B.S. in political science that she has yet to put to good use. After a few years in Manhattan, Lauren is now a recovering city-girl, adjusting to a slower pace in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with her husband and badly behaved dog, both who get neglected for days at a time when she’s drafting a new book. Lauren will, however, happily break for wine.