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Old Story Ideas: A Love to Remember | #amwriting #amwritingromance

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Unlike the other story ideas I’ve shared so far, this one was one I purposely came up with and wrote as part of a book proposal in 2010, when I was looking at trying to sell another contemporary trilogy after The Matchmakers.

I do have three- to five-page synopses written for each of these stories, but the first one was my favorite. Here’s part of it (I omitted the ending, just in case I do ever decide to go back and write this):

A Love to Remember [2010]

What happens when two people who have determined never to marry fall in love with each other?

At forty-seven years old, Karl Siebold has spent the last twenty-five years of his life determined to report the news with no prejudice, no bias, no agenda. This focused determination led him up through the ranks, first as a sportscaster then investigative reporter at local stations in his native Chicago, then quickly on to larger stations in New York. He quickly moved on to cable news, where he made a name for himself nationally from his impassioned coverage of the September 11 attacks.

Two years ago, he achieved his dream—a one-hour evening program of his own. Just when his show started hitting #1 in its time-slot every night, Karl was in a massive car accident that left him in the hospital in a coma for almost six months with a traumatic brain injury. Miraculously, he recovered, though with his vision irreparably damaged. He can see well enough to function in his daily life: reading, writing, watching TV/movies, using the computer. But he couldn’t read a teleprompter, and his short-term memory was damaged to the point where he couldn’t remember the stories he’d written himself well enough to present them on air without the aid of a teleprompter (which he couldn’t read)—and he couldn’t just read them off paper. So, even though the network was eager to make accommodations for him (and he had been in a company car/working when the accident happened, so they bent over backwards to cover everything financially and keep him employed to avoid a high-profile lawsuit), he found himself unable to do the job that had consumed him for his entire adult life. And once he left his job, he also found himself unwilling to stay in New York City any longer. So he sold his million-dollar condo and moved to the small farm in Tennessee left to him by a great uncle, to do what he’d always dreamed of: writing historical nonfiction books. However, since he can’t drive, and there is no such thing as public transportation in the small town, he needs to hire a personal assistant/secretary.

After the Nashville-based music executive for whom she’s worked as a personal assistant for the past fifteen years goes to prison for embezzlement, sexual harassment/assault, and running his record label into the ground (leaving more than fifty people unemployed and with no benefits/retirement), forty-four-year-old Edith “Edie” Maclaren is desperate for a job—because the freelance writing she’s been doing (travel magazines, ghostwriting for her boss and several of their recording artists, historical society journals, and short stories and poetry) doesn’t bring in enough money to support her. Then her brother mentions that someone who’s recently retired to their hometown of Hearts Cove, Tennessee, and wants to become a writer is looking for an assistant; Edie jumps at the chance and has her brother pass along her resume, expecting an older, retired man who’s writing his memoirs.

Karl is expecting to meet an “Eddie” Maclaren—a man. But when a tall, striking-looking woman walks into the diner, where he usually spends his afternoons, he’s surprised . . . and a bit intrigued.

Edie can’t believe her eyes. It’s Karl Siebold, the cable news anchor she used to watch every night for years (and always harbored a crush on).

The interview goes well, especially once Karl learns Edie has quite a bit of experience ghostwriting. He offers her the guesthouse on his farm as part of her compensation package. He has a housekeeper/cook who comes in every day, so Edie will be able to focus only on helping him with tasks related to writing and research. But Karl isn’t one who wants to stay put. He’ll be traveling regularly, and Edie will be going with him—first and foremost to New York to visit with the agents and publishers who want a book about his recovery from the injury, and then to make the rounds of all the talk shows.

Karl begins to rely heavily upon Edie as he starts to make more and more public appearances. Edie has talked to several therapists and learned techniques to work with Karl on his short-term memory—and as long as she’s within sight when he’s doing the interviews, all he has to do is look her direction and he seems to remember more and better each time.

Because Karl is still somewhat of a celebrity, pictures of Karl and Edie start surfacing online and in tabloids/celebrity magazines with rumors of a romance for one of America’s most eligible bachelors. As soon as that happens, the talk-show hosts start asking him about Edie—who she is, if she’s his girlfriend. Frustrated at not wanting to reveal his memory problems and his need for someone to drive him around, or help him remember simple things, Karl informs the interviewer that he decided long ago that he would never marry and that Edie is just his personal secretary.

While Edie never figured to marry either, she’s started genuinely falling for Karl—started to come to think of their relationship not just as boss/employee, but as a life-long companionship. So when she hears Karl’s statement, she’s very hurt and starts pulling away from him.

Once Karl has signed his book contract, when they meet with the senior editor, it’s Edie who does most of the talking about the book, since she is ghostwriting it for Karl. Before they leave New York, the editor—a single man in his forties—asks Edie to come back in to the office for a private meeting. He offers her a job as an editor, including all expenses to move to Manhattan.

Edie doesn’t want to leave her life with Karl, but believing he’ll never feel the same way about her, she agrees to take the job, on the condition that she doesn’t start until Karl’s book is finished in about three or four months. . . .

Character Casting

“Edie” and “Karl” (stock photos from a site that has disappeared since I pulled these images in 2010)—just imagine them aged up about 10 or so years, because I had to increase their ages when posting this, since Karl needed to be old enough to have covered 9/11. In 2010, being in his late 30s would have been old enough!

  1. GiGi permalink
    Wednesday, April 10, 2019 12:31 pm

    I would love to read this series, especially the first book! Please consider going back and picking it up again.


    • Wednesday, April 10, 2019 3:47 pm

      Once I reread it for this post, I do keep thinking about it. So there’s a possibility that I might!


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