When the Wild Rose Press put out a request for Valentine’s Day stories to be featured in their new Candy Hearts Romances storyline, I knew immediately the story I wanted to tell and the characters I wanted to showcase. The San Valentino’s are loosely based on a family I grew up with. Chloe San Valentino’s family is a big, loud, raucous Italian-American clan ruled by their emotions, their passion for food, and their unquestioning love for one another. I know these people. I lived with them daily from the age of 6 until 18.
Of course whenever a writer bases characters on real people there are several inherent risks involved. You can make them seem silly or like caricatures. You may think what they say and do is funny, but the reader might think it’s mean spirited, or rude. You may hurt feelings by putting a virtual mirror up and allowing them to see themselves the way you do. No one likes to think they are being made fun of or to be viewed critically. In order to avoid these risks, I attempted to changed things around, combined a few personalities into one or two, and tried my best to make the individual people in the San Valentino family sound familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. I don’t think if any of the people I based the family on read 3 Wishes they would recognize themselves at all. At least, that’s my hope!
All families have characters. That one uncle who jiggles his keys in his pocket unendingly; the one aunt who perpetually smiles and puts on a PollyAnna face no matter how tense or drama-filled a situation is. I know a woman in her forties who picks her teeth after she eats – no matter where she is; in public or private. I know a man who whistles all the time. I have an aunt who shoved a dollar bill in my pocket whenever she saw me – even if it was just five minutes ago. Each of these character quirks makes these people individuals, and in 3 Wishes I tried to make the San Valentino’s just as distinctive and original as the family I created it from.
Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.
The man had been a hunk-a-doodle when he’d been in my shop. Right now he looked like sex on a candy stick. Tall, lithe, wide shouldered and narrow hipped in his scrubs. He was every fantasy I’d ever had about what my man would look like. He stood in the doorway of the waiting room and stared at me.
And I stared right back.
“I assume she’s your mother,” he said, hooking his thumb in the general direction behind him.
He grinned and my toes curled up at the tips.
“She’s a force to be reckoned with.”
I winced and replied, “She means well.”
Even to my ears it sounded more like a weak question than a declaration.
His grin spread and I swear my girlie parts quivered.
When he came toward me, eating up the floor with his long stride, a hot bead of awareness burst from somewhere deep, deep down inside me.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them.
Her current titles, available now, include SKATER'S WALTZ and THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, and FIRST IMPRESSIONS books 1 through 3 in her 6-book The MacQuire Women Series, published by The Wild Rose Press.
Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
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My Latest News
I’m currently working on Fire Storm, Book 2 in the Gathering Storm Series