Once upon a time stories for women and girls featured helpless and beautiful princesses being saved by strong and handsome knights in shining armor who would sweep them off their feet and whisk them away to a glorious “Happily Ever After”. As we came to the last chapter and the words “The End” we knew that our heroine was going off to live a life where no one had to do laundry. Or wash dishes. Or earn a living. Or deal with nasty neighbors at the castle next door.
As much as I loved those stories, I knew as a writer that I wanted to explore what happens after that magical kiss. Or job success. Or failed relationship. Or feud with the neighbors. Because that’s what real women deal with every day and because we flourish when we share our stories of success and failure with each other. But as I wrote each of my novels that centered around the bonds between women and how they face adversity, I too would come to the magical words “The End” and would have to find the right place to leave my characters. Before Ten Beach Road I sent my characters off to “Hopefully Ever After;” a place where the reader could feel confident that the characters would be okay even though they might not get the prince or might have to wash a dish or two. A place where I could leave them forever knowing that they wouldn’t need me to revisit them or rewrite the course of their lives.
Then came Ten Beach Road… the story of Maddie, Nicole and Avery and the unlikely friendship they formed after they lost everything to a Madoff-style Ponzi scheme. I got to know their families, their friends, their loves and disappointments, their hopes and dreams – and yes their weird food habits, bad hair days and odd insecurities. And then I brought them to their “Hopefully Ever After” and typed “The End.” Only Maddie, Nicole and Avery weren’t done. They kept popping up in my head… kind of a like a friend you haven’t heard from in awhile but know you need to call.
That was when I knew it was time to consider writing a series. Could I do it? How different would it be? Would I enjoy spending time with these characters again? I was both excited and nervous (and okay… hopeful) as I put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to begin writing Ocean Beach. As I began to get back into the lives of these women I realized that “hopefully ever after” is not really an ending in life or in books…it’s just a bridge to the next chapter. Or to the next book in the series. Or to that place in a reader’s imagination where the characters live when the writer stops writing them. I believe that forward motion and action and hope are what deliver us to the next day and I write characters who dig in and do what has to be done. But they do it with humor, frozen drinks, Cheez Doodles and the occasional hot guy.
InOcean Beach, the women head to Miami’s South Beach to renovate another historic house for television, only to discover that the show they’re starring in is more about them than the Art Deco Streamline home they’re set to remodel.
The owner of the house is an old Vaudeville star with a tragic secret and an agenda of his own. The budget is miniscule, the house is a mess and there’s a network camera crew and a pack of paparazzi looking for dirt.
It’s a hot, stressful summer on South Beach but Maddie, Avery and Nicole still find time to dance on tables, (free drinks are to blame), go head to head with a couple of spoiled A-list celebs, move forward (and backward) in their relationships, ogle some hot guys, and most of all grow as women and as friends. Where did I leave my gals at the end of Ocean Beach? Maybe with less of a goodbye and more of a “see you later.” And since I’m already envisioning some other possible houses for the women to work on… maybe less “Hopefully Ever After” and more “Hopefully ‘til the next time!”
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About the Author:
A St. Pete Beach native and longtime Atlanta resident, Wendy is perhaps best known to readers for her exploration of women’s friendships and the emotional bonds tying people to their families, friends and work. Her writing has been called “entertaining and informative” (St. Petersburg Times) and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution praised her “breezy wit and keen insight.”
Ten Beach Road, Wendy’s best selling novel to date, has gone back to press seven times since its first printing in May 2011, and was recently made available as a mass market reprint in addition to its trade paperback and electronic formats. It is the first of Wendy’s novels to use her hometown as her primary setting.
Wendy has always been a voracious reader. Her love affairs with language and storytelling paid off beginning with her first shift at the campus radio station while studying journalism at the University of Georgia.
She returned to her home state and then studied in Italy before graduating from the University of South Florida and going to work for the Tampa PBS affiliate, WEDU-TV. She was best-known in the Tampa Bay area as the host of Desperate & Dateless, a radio matchmaking program that aired on WDAE radio, and nationally as host of The Home Front, which aired on PBS television affiliates across the country.
The mother of a toddler and an infant when she decided to change careers to write professionally, Wendy has since written eight novels, including Ocean Beach, Ten Beach Road, Magnolia Wednesdays, The Accidental Bestseller (a Romance Writers of America Rita Award finalist), Leave It to Cleavage, 7 Days and 7 Nights, and Single in Suburbia. Her work has been sold to publishers in ten countries and to the Rhapsody Book Club. Her novel, Hostile Makeover, was excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine.
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