September 3, 2014

Had to Be You Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the HAD TO BE YOU blog tour! Today I have a guest post by the author to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow along with the tour, click on the banner above.

Had To Be You
Author: Juliet Chatham
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Swoon Romance  


HAD TO BE YOU is a contemporary new adult romance set in a small Massachusetts beach town in the days leading up to a summer wedding. At its heart, this is a story about first love, but as it also carries over into post-college years, spanning that decade and touching upon more mature themes. It does not shy away from erotic description, but only as it reflects and reinforces the deep connection and passion defining the relationship.

When Rory Finn first left behind the familiarity of her quiet, picturesque hometown to pursue a professional career in the city after college, her intention was to focus on the future—until a jarring bit of unwelcome news forces her to face the past. What if her first love could actually still be the true love of her life? There’s just one little problem with the timing of this revelation. He is about to marry someone else.

As she embarks upon an impulsive, desperate bid to win him back, her mission turns into an unexpected and emotional journey of rediscovery. With both humor and heartbreak, the story itself transitions from past to present, exploring a small history of love from its tentative beginnings to what may just turned out to be its final bittersweet end.
While HAD TO BE YOU is a romance novel that fits best in the New Adult genre, there is an entire reveal in flashback that could almost be a Young Adult story on its own. (A bargain deal—two for one!)

As I was writing Matt and Rory’s story in current day time, I wanted to include these glimpses into their past relationship. I felt it was really important to know the background of these two characters if you’re ever going to fully understand their actions and motivations. Each time I reached a certain point, there would be a “trigger” moment for me, whether it be a place or event or conversation. While some might not be as obvious as others, if you look carefully enough you will generally find something in the present day scene that is bringing us back to the moment in the past.

In the revisions process, the question was raised as to whether the flashback scenes should be reorganized into chronological order. The reader would then be following the current day story, seeing how the history of Matt and Rory unfolded from day one to present. Essentially, it would then truly be a story within a story.

I carefully considered this option, and understood its effectiveness, but ultimately decided to go with my original instinct. I wanted the story develop in gradual reveals, pulling back each layer. It’s like getting to know someone in real life, where your perception of character might change as you get to know more about them, where they came from, things that happened to them in their past, etc. This shapes a person until you eventually have a more complete view of them, as a whole, and this is how I wanted it to be for those reading the story.

I think Rory should be seen as a little selfish, emotionally immature and self-involved in the beginning—because she is! I wanted a little bit of that “I can’t believe she’s actually doing this” reaction. Here’s this beautiful 24-year-old girl, great job, living in the heart of NYC and dating hot, successful guys. Who’s really going to feel bad for her, especially knowing that she may have already given up her chance? The journey in this story was always hers to make, and I wanted the reader to be able to make it with her. It’s only as Rory starts to learn and grow from her mistakes and setbacks, gaining more perspective and maturity, that we see how her early years may have affected her ability to fully trust anyone with her heart.

While Matt is more of an open book, heart-on-his-sleeve kind of guy, I think his motivations and choices also become clearer with each scene from the past. If you had any question as to what his character might do in the end, in going back to the very beginning with the last two flashback reveals, you have a pretty good idea of the answer by the final chapter.

Matt and Rory’s history is so much a part of who they are to one another, where ten years’ worth of memories can be exchanged in a ten second glance. Hopefully, the flashback scenes not only help to fully develop the characters, but give more heart and depth to the story itself.
A lifelong New Englander, I divide my time between the North Shore and Cape Cod. My favorite things are beaches, boats, books, bars, the Boston Red Sox and boys, but not necessarily in that order. Consequently, you’ll probably find that these are the things I write about, too.

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