Saturday, August 6, 2016

Sit down Saturday with Marion Ekholm, author of Forget Me Not

Where did the idea for Forget Me Not come from? I think it’s always been in the back of my mind. So many of the scenes, especially those dealing with Craig and Trish’s childhood, I drew from my own experiences. There was a boy down my street named Butchy, and a girl I knew started as a mother’s helper when she was nine.
I’m looking at the cover. If you could add a caption, what would you say? Thank you. I’m always fearful that my cover could include people who don’t represent my characters. This beautiful cover of forget-me-not flowers allows the reader to visualize Trish and Craig in their own minds.
How long did it take you to write the book? Three months. Dana Grimaldi called me right before the 2015 RWA conference in New York and said she was interested in this book. It was the last of about a half dozen I had submitted, and I hadn’t given it too much thought. But the ideas poured in once I started because so much of the book related to things I had experienced: a small town in New Jersey; twenty years dealing with a volunteer fire department; five years working for a credit card company; and constant DIY projects on a one-hundred-year-old farm house.   
What is your favorite scene? There are so many, it’s hard to choose. I definitely liked the scene where Trish is on the roof of her house waiting for Craig.

     I’m checking out the roof [she texts Craig after he’s told her not to go up]
    Maybe that would get Craig in gear. No way would she spend the whole day waiting for him. She’d go up the ladder, check out all the hooks, and get down before he arrived.
    Once on the roof, Trish saw the hooks were hit or miss. If she decided on lights, she’d need more hooks, possibly from Moody’s. She sat with her legs bent, her arms wrapped around them, and rested her chin on her knees, looking at the expanse below. Trish knew every house, and for the most part every person, who lived there.
    Craig’s van pulled into the driveway below and screeched to a stop. He bolted out and looked up at her. “Trish, come down here immediately!”
    Testosterone. What was with these guys who figured they had a right to tell her what to do? Trish scooted toward the ladder, sliding on her seat. The motion propelled her faster than she intended. She fell on her back, her arms flailing. All the while she heard Craig screaming. Or was it her? With a wrenching twist, she flipped onto her stomach to get a grip. On something. On anything. Her arms lashed. Her feet pounded against the shingles. Her toes went over the edge.
*
    Craig watched in horror as Trish scrambled to stop her plunge. His shouts did nothing but intensify his own panic. When her toes caught in the gutter, she stopped. He thought for sure his own heart had stopped, as well. He caught his breath and ran up the ladder.
    “Don’t move. I’m coming up. You stay put.” His voice rasped out in one warning after another until he managed to get on the roof above her. “I’m going to pull you up. Let me do the work.” He gripped her arms, pressed his feet into the shingles and slowly pulled her away from the edge. Once they were on higher ground, Craig enfolded her in his arms and pressed his face against her neck.  Thank God, his Trish was safe.
     He was going to kill her!

Who was your favorite character and why? I adored Trish and Craig but I had a great deal of empathy for Harrison. Dana kept telling me I needed to make Harrison, Trish’s fiancĂ©, more likable. He had to be a person Trish would actually want to marry. As he developed into a real person for me, I not only liked him but also felt sorry for him. Life had given him plenty of adversity growing up with unfeeling parents.
Tell us one thing you learned while doing your research? I learned I couldn’t count on memory alone. Thanks to Fran Deming, a longtime friend, I was able to get what I needed about fighting a chimney fire. Our husbands were both involved in the town’s volunteer fire department. Fran actually spent 25 years as a volunteer in the town’s ambulance service which is connected to the fire department, so she was able to get all my questions answered. 
This is your third book with Heartwarming. Exactly what does that mean to you? It means I’m so grateful to be able to get my stories out there.
What do you plan to work on next? I’m presently working on stories that include a fictitious community college, and I’m trying really hard to figure out how I can include a cowboy!
What are you reading for pleasure now? I’m going through the books I collected at the RWA conference in San Diego. I finished Anna J. Stewart’s “Recipe for Redemption.”  Liked that one so much, I purchased her first book in the series “The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor” for my kindle. Then I read Kristin Higgins book, “If You Only Knew.” It was a delicious read!
And lastly, what music matches the mood of this book? Throughout the time the book was developing in my head, I played “This is all yours,” by alt j. One song, “Every Other Freckle,” totally inspired the last few sentences of the last chapter where Craig’s talking on the phone with his mother:

     “We’ll meet you for lunch at The Country Barn to discuss it.” Craig clicked off the phone.
When she (Trish) tried to get up, Craig pulled her onto his lap. “They can wait.” He caressed her face. “I need to smell you, taste you and know with every one of my senses that you’re mine forever.”
     Trish curled against him and kissed his neck. “Two can play that game, Mr. Cadman.”
    “Call me Butchy”

I actually had an additional chapter after that but Dana suggested I cut it and end with this. She was right.


 Check out marionekholm.com for ways to order Forget Me Not and Marion's two other books.

30 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Marion!

    The cover is lovely and the story sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading it.

    Best wishes!!

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  2. I love the cover! I agree with you - no people on the cover so the reader can imagine them.

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    1. My first book had people but they were seen from a distance and the whole setting showed an Arizona scene which I liked. But every time I get a new cover I'm biting my nails until I see it. A few books I've read had heroes or heroines who looked nothing like what appeared in the book and it's so distracting.

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  3. Marion, I love the rooftop scene! I have a T-shirt covered in forget-me-nots my sister brought me from Alaska where it's the state flower. Haven't heard of the music you refer to, but will have to check it out. How fun to get to this point with a book and be so happy with it. Wish you great success!

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    1. I had no idea it was Alaska's flower. I have CD's of alt j's music but you can listen to it on YouTube. However, surprise, surprise, the video for the song is X-rated. A note came on the first time I clicked it on that you had to be at least 18 to watch it! The band is a young band in England made up of men who met in college.

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  4. Marion, love the cover and just got my August books so can't wait to find time to read, read, read.

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    1. I got the four pack for this month on my kindle. Looking forward to reading them all as well.

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  5. Marion, you already know how much I love this cover! And, like you, I like to visualize the characters myself when I read a book. So I'm always afraid of the same thing happening with my covers. This sounds like a really fun read. I love how you always seem to draw from your own fascinating life experiences. Looking forward to Forget Me Not!

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    1. I've considered pasting something over the cover while I'm reading a book that has the wrong people pictured. It's so distracting to see them every time you open the book.

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    2. So true!! That's happening to me with one of the books I'm reading currently. The cover models DO NOT fit the characters in the book at all. ) :

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  6. Congratulations Marion! What a great cover! May you always have much success!

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    1. Thank you. I appreciate your coming by to comment.

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  7. Congratulations Marion! What a great cover! May you always have much success!

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  8. I LOVE that cover!! I like it when we can use our imagination to visualize the characters so much more than when the cover's models don't really fit the descriptions in the book, or my head. Thanks for that excerpt, I'm going to have to read this one too. Hey....I worked for a credit card company many years ago. ( :
    Congratulations on your third Heartwarming book.

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    1. I have Trish being the Queen of Calm while taking care of distressed credit card holders. That was not me.

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  9. Marion, I'll add my congratulations on your new book. The story sounds charming, and I look forward to reading it.

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  10. I thought everyone might want to know www.harlequin.com is having 40% pff sale through the week-end with the coupon SAVE40 (site-wide)

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  11. Great excerpt. Thank God she was safe - he was going to kill her. I've had that feeling. Love the cover, too. I got the box set for the month, and I'm looking forward to reading this story.

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  12. The scene with Trish and Craig is wonderful, Marion. This book looks and sounds so good. Congrats and may there be many more stories to come.

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    1. My daughter could go on our roof but I never could do it.

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  13. Hi Marion,
    I love a "second chance romance" and your cover and title are just perfect!

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    1. I didn't think of this as a second chance romance when I wrote it. I thought of it more as a holiday story, but this definitely gave them both a second chance do I'll stick with that.

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  14. I saw the cover for your book, Marion. It's truly "heartwarming." I'm looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I hope you enjoy it.

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  15. Sounds like a fun book :)
    Cowboys and community college, eh? I love it.

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  16. This book sounds like a lot of fun. Can't wait to get my copy.

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  17. Hi Marion, I love your characters already just from this post. Congrats for three books now with Heartwarming. It was great seeing you at RWA 2016 in San Diego. Happy writing.

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