This week is extra special for me because in addition to celebrating the release of TELL ME AGAIN, my fifteenth published book, I’m also celebrating my fifteenth wedding anniversary. My hero and heroine, Trevor and Sam, have a lot to get through before they arrive at their happily ever after so I’ve been thinking about all the smart and silly (the word stupid is so harsh, right?) things I’ve done for love over the years. Probably the smartest was marrying my husband, who loved me just the way I am long before Mark Darcy uttered that line in Bridget Jones’ Diary.
And as for silly…well, there was the time it seemed like a good idea to fly half way across the country to visit my boyfriend who lived in a teepee in the Colorado mountains. In my defense, I was young and in love. You know how that clouds the normally sound judgment! We had a mostly long-distance relationships, phone calls and actual hand-written letters – it was the olden days (as my kids like to call it).
He was tall and handsome and wore his blond hair in a (gasp) ponytail, which made him seem like a bad boy to me. Turns out there’s a difference between bad boy and mean boy. Because by the time I’d saved enough for the ticket from Ohio to Colorado, he’d kind of gotten tired of having a girlfriend. He just forgot to tell me until I arrived in Denver. Quite the romantic reunion…not!
But we were going to make the best of it and see if there was any spark left to rekindle. He worked for forest service outside of Steamboat Springs so we drove high into beautiful Colorado mountains. What I didn’t know about the teepee situation was that it was set up about a quarter mile from the road in the middle of a horse pasture. I made the trek in the dark in my cute dress and strappy sandals and only fell about a half dozen times. Turns out a teepee in a professionally styled layout in a travel magazine is different than the reality. Then my (soon to be ex) boyfriend mentioned that he had to leave for a few days for remote trail work. So there I was in the teepee. Me and the horses.
But I love horses. And I loved being in Colorado. So I took my biodegradable soap and headed for the nearby stream for a bath. I borrowed his junker car and drove into Steamboat and discovered a bookstore that remains my favorite in the world to this day–it’s called Off The Beaten Path if you’re ever out this way. I also wandered down to Boulder for a night and, again, it’s a place I still love and the town makes a cameo appearance in TELL ME AGAIN.
I dumped the boyfriend…because at least I’m smart enough to want to be with a guy who wants to be with me. But I kept my love for mountains (which is where many of my books are set) and the trip taught me that I’m pretty capable on my own. As soon as I graduated from college, I moved to Colorado and I’ve been here ever since. I met my husband a few years later and we have been happily together ever since. We have young-ish kids so our Valentine’s celebrations these days tend to involve a heart shaped pizza and catching up on the shows clogging the DVR because we’re normally too tired to watch. But I wouldn’t trade those quiet nights at home—or him—for anything.
That’s my happily ever after and I hope readers enjoy the journey Sam and Trevor go on to earn theirs!