Friday, February 6, 2009

Love at First Flight

By: Marie Force

Hello, Casa friends! It's been a while since I visited with you all, and I've missed you! Since we last chatted, I've gotten great news on my second book. First, it has a new title, which I love, and a cover that I adore! This was the third book I ever wrote, and I finished it just about three years ago. I'm very excited to see it as a real, live book in July! While of course I loved my debut novel Line of Scrimmage, I'll let you in on a little secret. I love this second one even more.

My characters, Michael Maguire and Juliana Gregorio, meet at the Baltimore/Washington International Airport on a Friday evening when they are on their way to visit their significant others in Florida. He's engaged to Paige, a high-maintenance yet lovable woman he's dated for four years. Juliana is looking forward to seeing Jeremy, her boyfriend of ten years who has seemed distant lately on the phone. During the flight, Michael and Juliana commiserate on the pitfalls of long-distance relationships and both are anxious about the weekend ahead. A Baltimore prosecutor about to begin the murder trial of his career, Michael has better things to do than attend the over-the-top engagement party Paige and her parents have planned for that weekend. Juliana is anxious to know what's bugging Jeremy lately.

After Michael and Juliana each endure a disastrous weekend, they meet up again on the flight home, striking up an unlikely friendship that leads to love. Michael's trial spins out of control, endangering both of them as they deal with an ex-fiancée and ex-boyfriend who refuse to go quietly. One of the things I love best about this book is the way Michael and Juliana are friends first and lovers second. Their love blossoms slowly and sweetly as they support each other through difficult breakups and challenging work and family situations.

Line of Scrimmage fans can expect something a little different from this book. For one thing, Michael is nothing like Ryan Sanderson. Whereas Ryan was a swaggering alpha, Michael's style is quieter and steadier. He experiences a startling moment of clarity the first time he ever sees Juliana and never gives up on their love despite the many twists and turns their relationship takes. I find that kind of quiet confidence to be every bit as sexy as Ryan's in-your-face swagger and bluster. What do you think? And unlike Susannah, who led a somewhat pampered life, Juliana has taken a lot of knocks. Her family is a mess, her mother a disaster, and the bright light in her life is her long-term relationship with Jeremy. But the longer he's away on a one-year assignment, the more she begins to question their failure to take the next step in their life together. I admire her gritty moxy and the way she has survived in spite of a messy upbringing during which she couldn't count on anyone but herself.

The idea for this book came from a conversation overheard in the BWI airport about ten years ago when I was waiting for a delayed flight back to Jacksonville where I lived at the time. Two 20-somethings were commiserating on their troubled long-distance relationships and later realized they were on the same flight home. I imagined them falling for each other, and a novel idea was born. I carried that idea around with me for about seven years before I wrote Michael and Juliana's story.

I had a really special experience writing the end of this book. I was getting very close to the finish and had just the last chapter to go. It was a Sunday evening, and I had to work the next day, so I went to bed around midnight only to get up again fifteen minutes later to write down something I didn't want to forget. Went back to bed. Got up again twenty minutes later to make another note. Went back to bed. Got up a third time and said, "To hell with it!" I stayed up and finished the book at 5:30 a.m., just as the sun crested over the horizon. I was dead tired the next day but euphoric about the way that last chapter came together. I've written quite a few books, but this one has my favorite ending. I'll look forward to hearing what readers think!

Naming the book turned out to be a lot more difficult than writing it ever was. It's had three different names, but the one on the cover is the absolute perfect name. One more note of irony... You all heard me talk about how disdainful I was toward football until the muse delivered Ryan and the idea for Line of Scrimmage. Guess what my absolute least favorite thing in the world is? FLYING!!! I hate to fly so passionately that I'd rather do just about anything else than get on an airplane (even more so since plane + birds = river). So of course I had to write a book about a couple who meet on an airplane, right?

As we count down to July 1, tell me, have you ever had a close encounter of the romantic kind on a flight? Are you a member of the mile high club? LOL! I'm not, and don't worry, neither are Michael and Juliana...

40 comments:

  1. Hmm, I got to sleep with my own Greek some years ago on a flight! Okay, so I didn't know him and he didn't know me and when I asked him how to use the tv controls, he said something back that was all Greek to me. :) But that's the closest I've come to romance on a plane. LOL! Great post, Marie, and I'm linked so now I can get the emails about everyone's posts!!!

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  2. Ooooh, Terry! A Greek! How fabulous!!

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  3. First Flight sounds like the kind of romance I like the very best--one in which I can savor the developing relationship as well as the external plot.

    Can't wait!

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  4. Thanks, Mary Margaret. There's a lot going on in this book, that's for sure!! :-)

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  5. You know how I feel about alpha males, so this hero sounds perfect!
    And, no, I am not in the mile high club and have never met anyone on a plane--but there's still time!
    Sounds like a great book, Marie. I'm ready to read it right now!

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  6. Yes, Cheryl, alphas have their place in romance, but I'm a much bigger fan of the steady, quiet hero who takes care of the people he loves and is willing to do anything for his woman. Ryan is the only true alpha I've ever written. He was big fun of course, but I couldn't live with him (even if he's one sexy dude). Michael Maguire is much more my type.

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  7. Marie, there's more to being Alpha than swagger, IMHO. It's every bit as much about taking care of those you love. I adore a man with quiet strength. This sounds like a great read. As for the rest? I plead the fifth....of Scotch. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

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  8. Ooooh, Penny, you dirty girl, you! Come on! Do tell!

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  9. My lips are sealed. At least until I check the statute of limitations.

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  10. Marie, what a wonderful idea. Take something you hate and build a story around it.

    Alpha males have their place in fiction, but as you mentioned, alpha doesn't always mean swaggering and smart-ass. Quiet and steady is attractive too.

    Best of luck with this. I like the premise and what you showed of your characters.

    sigh...that TBR pile is getting higher and higher, but I love reading new things...

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  11. LOL on the statute of limitations, Penny. Sounds like you've got a book you need to write!!

    Thanks, Sia. We are thrilled to have new readers, so thanks for coming by and for your kind words about LaFF. I think the ladies will love my Michael Maguire as much as they loved Ryan!

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  12. I'm with Sia and Penny in that alpha males do not always have to be in-your-face male. My hero certainly is manly in all ways that count, but is reserved and steady. I like them with a nice mixture of both.

    I am very excited about LAFS Marie. LOS was great and I have no doubt that anything you write will be wonderful. Reading more of the plot just enforces what I already assumed!

    As for romance on a plane? No, unless holding hands and stealing a kiss with my hubby counts. :)

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  13. Oops! Wrote the acronym wrong! LaFF - got it!

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  14. Hi Sharon,
    I'm glad the book appeals to you and thanks for the kind words on LOS. This one is very near and dear to me for a lot of reasons, but it's also a lot of fun. Lots of crazy stuff happens to my fearless couple! Why is it so fun to put our characters thru the wringer?
    :-)

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  15. Usually a lurker, I'm popping in today. This sounds like a great book, Marie - and it's going on my "To Buy" list. Don't get me wrong, I love an alpha male - but I would rather read about the strong, quiet MEN who claim their heroines' hearts with love and tenderness. The HEA ends up being much sweeter, much more permanent - a much bigger sigh factor.

    K, back to lurking.

    Janet

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  16. Hi Janet,
    Thanks for coming out of lurk mode to drop in today! If you like a sigh-worthy HEA, this one will definitely do it for you. He does something for her at the end that still makes me swoon even after having read the book a 100 times! LOL (And don't read ahead, you hear me? HAHA!)

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  17. Is this where I'm supposed to fess up to reading the last page before I read the book? Oh, I can hear the naysayers already. I'll make a promise not to do that when I pick up your book, Marie.

    Janet

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  18. You really don't want to read the end first on this one, Janet. I promise!

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  19. Ooh, Marie--can't wait for this one! I loved LoS, but I really like the sound of LaFF. Like Mary Margret said, I like those romances where you can watch things unfold... And no real-life airplane romance or nooky for me! ;) Ah well!

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  20. Hi Fedora,
    Glad you are enticed by LaFF! It seems that only Penny (who isn't talking) has had mile high action. Perhaps if she won't tell us, we'll have to make something up, huh??

    Nice to hear from you as always, g'friend!

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  21. I've been looking forward to reading LAFF since you first told me about it, Marie. I'm going to pre-order it.

    Hugs...Robin

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  22. Thanks, Robin! Amazon still has the old name with the new cover. Sigh.... Not sure what you'll get but hopefully it will be Love at First Flight!

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  23. No not a member of the mile high club. This books sounds great Marie, of course you know I loved Line of Scrimage so I'll be in line waiting to get my copy :)

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  24. Mile High Club? Not me. But someone I know...

    You know this is on my TBR pile, Marie. I'm hoping I'll get it at a book signing at RWA this year - you know, when we'll sit right next to each other. LOL.

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  25. love the premise for the book and if it's anything as good as your first book I know it'll be fabulous!

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  26. Okay...well...see...It's like this...

    I had to change the name to protect the sinnocent. And there's not much to tell. He was a corporate pilot with the keys to the Lear. Which had auto pilot. And...Scotch.

    That's still the story I'm sticking to. *dies laughing* My verification word is "filled" I certainly was.

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  27. Yay, Judi! Fennell and Force--look out world!

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  28. Hi Jenny,
    Thanks so much!! Ward Cleaver is on my TBR. Can't wait to read it. Glad you came by today!

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  29. Oh my, Silver James--and what a name you have for someone who has had mile high love. I, as a freak out flyer, would've been a spaz about the plane dive bombing while we were, um... indisposed. I'd be like, um, this is nice and everything, but are you SURE the plane is still in the sky?

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  30. Thanks so much, Beth. Anyone who loved LOS will love this one, too. I promise! :-)

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  31. Marie, I'd like to blame it on a split personality, LOL, but I must confess that I finally got around to getting the blogger profile set up with my pen name: Silver James.

    See, Penny can blame Silver for her misspent youth.

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  32. Ahhh, I see. Penny and Silver, one in the same. I was worried that we were starting a full on scandal here today! LOL! That story of yours would make for a cute scene in a book!

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  33. This sounds like my kind of story, Marie...almost like an awesome romantic movie! Ooh...I smell film option coming:-)

    I always wind up sitting next to, um, well, eccentric sorts of people on planes. So no, sadly, no Mile High Club for me. Though honestly, a cramped little bathroom would probably kill most of my mojo anyway!

    Can't wait to read it, Marie!

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  34. Sheesh, Kendra, you disappoint me. You're married to a pilot. I figured you for a certain yes on the MHC! You must rectify that soon! :-)

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  35. Hi Marie--
    I love this storyline and cannot wait to read it :) Planes scare me half to death, too, and I pretty much drug myself so I stay asleep...which probable explains why I'm definitely NOT a member of the Mile High Club...

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  36. LOL, Danielle, I'm all about the drugs, too. However, now that I need to worry about birds, I might need something stronger!

    YAY! So glad you're looking forward to reading the book.

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  37. Fantastic post, Marie!

    Alphas are always fun. Especially when you see them fall in love.

    Linda

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  38. Thanks, Linda, I couldn't agree more!

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  39. This book sounds great! I've added it to my list of books to buy.

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  40. Hi Jen,
    Thanks so much for adding LaFF to your TBR list. I can't wait to hear what you think of it. July will be here before we know it!!

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