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The Story of Unwritten
In high school I had the idea of wanting to write a book. I shared this idea with my friend, Allison Baker (hence the name Allison), and she encouraged me saying she thought I could do it. Years later, the thought of someday writing a book still in my head, I finally got an idea and started writing. Once I started I could not stop.
I was a little embarrassed to share my desire to become an author because let’s be honest, I never read! I was actually quoted on my first “real job’s” website as saying, “Reading was the biggest time waster.” Funny right?!
Now all I do is read. I can’t get enough of it. I sadly blame this on the education system and being forced to read books growing up that I did not care about. I was not a strong reader to begin with and couple that with books I could care less about and there you have it, reading, to me, was a chore. Not something I enjoyed doing.
Once I had kids and settled down with my husband, my friends would recommend books and some I would try and some I had no interest in at all. One friend finally got me to read Fifty Shades of Grey years after it initially came out. After I read it I was hooked. I knew this was my genre and loved every second. I couldn’t get enough! Once I finished all three I was talking to that same friend who suggested I read the series again when I said I was sad it was over. That’s when it came to me. I did not want to read the series over; I wanted to write a story myself.
So one day, in the shower (of course) I came up with the idea of Charlie Ashley. Yes, there is a purpose to his name being Mr. Ashley, but that’s a secret joke between my husband and I, and I will touch on all of the names used later.
I mulled over the story line for a few days then one night, sitting on my couch after I put the kids to bed I started writing on my laptop. This carried on for a few more days, late at night, typing away. My husband and I publish a community magazine where I did a lot of work at night after the kids went to bed but after a while he was on to me. Finally one night he asked what was going on because he knew I couldn’t be answering that many emails.
I laughed and blushed big time as I told him what I was doing. He’s always been super supportive of my ideas (come on, we started our own community magazine) so he just smiled and said, “What’s it going to be about, your four friends who get together and CrossFit while listening to Unwritten Law?”
I about died laughing when I said, “Well, yeah, kind of.” I love how he knows me so well!
So the story began. I finished the first (of many) drafts in a little over a month and loved every second of the process. Some things took time while other parts came so fast I couldn’t type fast enough to keep up with my brain!
Finally, I was ready to share my story so of course I told my best friend in the world, Sonia Aguero. She laughed and said, “But you don’t read!” But then continued saying, “You amaze me as most people think they have a ceiling to what then can achieve and you keep breaking through them.”
Now you see why I love her so much! She was extremely instrumental to this entire process. She’s an avid reader so having her as my first beta reader couldn’t have been more perfect. She would make suggestions and I would run with them. You can thank her for the phone sex scene. When I sent the written scene to her she laughed saying, “Wow, I’ve had phone sex before but now I see I’m doing it all wrong!”
She is also my fashionista friend so she planned all of the outfits for me, except the opening scene at the Unwritten Law concert. I actually own that shirt. Sonia added the Red Bottom heels though! In other scenes I would literally write the scene and put (Sonia, insert outfit here) in the middle of the sentence.
Once the first draft was final, I had my mother-in-law Judy help me edit it. She helps us with the magazine so it seemed fitting. She came back with, “Girl, where do you find the time? Where did you get this imagination? And I want to ask you something else but it’s my son!”
I laughed so hard and agreed that she shouldn’t ask.
Next came my first “official” book club. I asked my dearest friends, Lacy Pryde, Allison Baker and of course Sonia (see a connection with all of the names) to all get together one night to go over the details over dinner. We have all been best friends since seventh grade and their support through this entire process has been amazing!
Getting people to read the book was sometimes harder than actually writing it! I swear! Some people would say, “Yes, send it! I would love to read it!” and then they never would. I even had someone say I just sent it to her just for praise. I was like, “Thank you – I think…” But no, that was far from what I wanted from my beta readers. When people read it, I asked them to be honest and rip it apart. If I couldn’t take criticism from my closest friends then I shouldn’t be writing. I made every suggestion that anyone made and completely agreed with their edits.
Once I felt it was complete I started the whole “Query” process. Man. That. Was. Intense. Talk about ups and downs! I was a wreck. I jumped up and down when I got my first request from an agent. Then came Autumn Hull. She took a chance on an unknown author and I can’t thank her enough! She made suggestions that made the book what it is today. I owe her everything and could never express my gratitude enough!
Then there was the idea of the cover. My background is in design so I sent Autumn a mocked up idea for the cover and she turned it down, asking if I had money to pay a graphic designer. I had to laugh since I was normally the person people hired to do graphic design. I worked with the photographers of the magazine, Ryan and Angie Bates, on ideas. But I did not want to “typical” erotic guy with a muscular chest with a naked woman on my cover. They suggested maybe doing an illustration or something and when I told Sonia the idea she knew the perfect person. Enter Dallin Stuber. Painter extraordinaire! His vision for the cover was nothing short of amazing and I hope to use his amazing talent for all of my covers to come.
Tasked with making the cover more "contemporary" I contacted my graphic designer friend, Brianne Leymaster (www.beldesigner.com), who took my idea of combining a sexy photo with the painting and made it what it is today.
That leads to where we are now, with the book out there, in the world for everyone to enjoy. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and making my dreams come true.
With all my love!
Charlie Ashley, or Mr. Ashley as his clients know him, is a high-end male escort who gets paid thousands for whatever services his clients require. He’s lived the last ten years alone, not letting anyone in, enjoying his success and provocative lifestyle.
Allison Hayes has no idea the man she is falling in love with is a male escort. She connects with Charlie through their love of music, playing a taunting game asking herself if she loves him, hates him or if she is going to save him.
After meeting Allison, Charlie enters a world where everything he knows no longer makes sense, leaving him too scared to move forward, yet making it impossible to look back.
But can he give up his entire life for love?