Has there ever been a story you’ve wanted to tell — one that hovers on the edges of your imagination for years and involves characters you feel you already know — but you just didn’t have quite the right setting or atmosphere or je ne sais quoi for them yet? For me, YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME started as one of those stories. I knew Blake Michaelsen, the local, radio DJ, very well. I knew Vicky Bernier, the high-school French teacher, too. And I sensed, like one of the matchmaking aunties in my family, that “they would be perfect together.” I just wasn’t sure which story world I wanted them to inhabit or what might realistically bring them into contact.
And for the longest time, there’s been a dog named “Winston” — one inspired by a real Havanese/Cockapoo puppy belonging a friend — that I longed to include in a book as well (cue the entrance of that adorable floppy-eared furball on the back of the paperback cover), but it wasn’t until I realized that Blake was his ideal owner and that Mirabelle Harbor was the ideal setting, that this story, its characters, and their conflict all came together. It was as if these players were meandering around in my mind…until they just so happened to cross paths in my fictional community and needed to start telling their tale.
Writing fiction can be like that—not all the time, but certainly sometimes. It’s almost like a slot machine with an unknown number of cherries, bars, bells, or sevens. We might test out different combinations or just hope for a lucky spin, but when we can get a good set of images to mentally line up, we hit a narrative jackpot of rightness — a spot where the separate elements coalesce into a complete story. For me, once a magical moment like that happens, I can never imagine pulling the pieces apart again. The formerly individual entities — in this case, Blake, Vicky, Winston, and the town of Mirabelle Harbor — locked into place like a row of 7s. And that cinched the direction of the novel.
I really hope you’ll love reading YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME as much as I loved writing it! Has there ever been a novel you had in your hands where — once you started reading it — you couldn’t imagine any other characters or setting for that particular tale? I’d love to hear about that ;). Wishing you a wonderful week!
Marilyn Brant is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of contemporary women’s fiction, romantic comedy & mystery. She won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart Award (2007) for her debut novel, According to Jane, and was named the Author of the Year (2013) by the Illinois Association of Teachers of English. She loves all things Jane Austen, has a passion for Sherlock Holmes, is a travel addict and a music junkie, and lives on chocolate and gelato. The Mirabelle Harbor series is her latest project. Visit her website: http://www.marilynbrant.com
You Give Love a Bad Name
(Mirabelle Harbor #3)
Publication date: January 24th 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
“Nothing but love, 24/7” is the slogan of Mirabelle Harbor’s only radio station, 102.5 “LOVE” FM. On the verge of turning thirty-five, local DJ Blake Michaelsen is well-known for several reasons: his very sexy on-air voice, his omnipresent family, his eligible bachelor status, and his reputation as one of the most impulsive men in Chicago’s northern suburbs.
High-school French teacher and lifelong romantic Vicky Bernier is not at all wild about people who exhibit reckless conduct. (Blake.) Or men who have gigantic egos. (Blake.) Or grownups who still act like teenagers. (Blake, again.) She deals with enough adolescent behavior during the school day. Unfortunately, she’s the staff advisor to the Homecoming Committee, and they’ve chosen him as their DJ for the big fall dance.
What happens when a man whose job it is to play love songs for a living is forced to admit his deepest secret—that he doesn’t believe in true love—only to discover that the one woman who might capture his heart is the same woman who distrusts him the most?
No matter what you call it, with love there’s an exception to every rule. YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME, a Mirabelle Harbor story.
**Note: YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME is Book 3 in Marilyn Brant’s Mirabelle Harbor series, but this story and all of the contemporary romances in this series can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels.
Other Books in the Series:
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME (July 2015)
THE ONE THAT I WANT (July 2015)
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME (January 2016)
STRANGER ON THE SHORE (Coming Spring 2016)
One of the perks of working for a radio station was that it wasn’t a nine-to-five kind of job. There was some built-in variety.
So, after a long on-air rotation on Thursday, I was still technically on the clock when I arrived at Mirabelle Harbor High School around 3:15 p.m. and was greeted at the office by a chatty member of the Homecoming committee. Alexis something or other. She escorted me to the meeting location.
Whoa. And there was the French teacher babe, pacing in the middle of her classroom. Gotta love “community outreach” and the surprises it could bring. I had a fresh appreciation for the variety of my job. Spice. Of. Life.
I removed my baseball cap and slid off my sunglasses when the babe—Vicky—looked my way.
“Hey, there,” I said, extending my hand to her.
She looked at me suspiciously, like I might be holding a grenade or something. So I twisted my hand a bit, so she could see my open palm. Her smile seemed forced as she reached out to grasp it.
Small hands. Soft skin. So feminine. I reluctantly let go as she pulled away. She seemed a little off kilter, still staring strangely at me. I sent her my most charming smile.
She took a literal step back, cleared her throat, and said stiffly, “Hello, Mr. Michaelsen. I’m Vicky Bernier, staff advisor to the Homecoming committee.”
Very formal and controlled. Hmm, that was no fun. I wanted to throw her off balance again because she was cute when she was flustered and, hey, I was that kind of guy.
So I beamed an even bigger grin at her. “And you’re a friend of my sister’s,” I said, curious to see if that would disarm her or make her more concerned.
From the expression on her face, definitely the latter. Huh.
“Yes,” she said slowly. “I’ve heard a lot about you from Shar.”
Damn. What did my sister tell her to make her scowl at me like that? Couldn’t be good.
I turned my attention to the four teens in the classroom who were gaping at us like we were cast members on some reality TV dating show.
The chatty girl who’d met me at the office was the first to speak. “On behalf of the Homecoming committee, we’re all so glad you could meet with us today, Mr. Michaelsen. And we’re super psyched that you’ll be DJ’ing our dance.”
“Thanks for the warm welcome,” I replied. “And call me Blake. All of you. I promise we’ll make this fun.” But to myself I couldn’t help but add, Whether or not your teacher wants it to be…