Sunday, May 03, 2009
FIRE ME by Libby Malin
The Start of Something Good: A Romance Focused on the Very First Moments
In my novel, FIRE ME, the heroine Anne Wyatt heads into work one day determined to hand in her resignation, but quickly changes courses when she learns her wild and crazy management guru boss is going to lay off an employee by the end of the day. She decides she’d rather get the pink slip and generous severance package that goes with it so she embarks on a day of zany hijinks, all designed to catch her boss’ negative vibes. By day’s end, she’s not sure she’s won the prize, but she is sure she’s learned a lot about her choices in life and love.
Writing a book that takes place in one twenty-four-hour period was a challenge, but even more of a challenge was trying to incorporate the elements that make a good romance “click,” that have readers on the edges of their seats rooting for the hero and heroine to see what the readers see—that this guy and gal are meant for each other!
Because of the timeframe of the book, I opted to highlight a very discrete part of the romance paradigm (uh-oh, where’s that business lingo coming from—I’m beginning to sound like Anne’s quality management boss!). That is, I decided to focus on those delicious moments at the very outset of a relationship where boy meets girl, or, in Anne and Ken’s case, when boy notices girl and vice versa.
I think these are very sweet and sensual moments in their own way, when the promise of heat starts blowing embers into flames. I hope readers agree.
For Anne and Ken, their attraction is based on mutual respect and admiration. But they both approach relationships with large dollops of wariness formed when past affairs left each of them vulnerable and wounded.
Although neither knows this about the other, their past relationships were both with powerful people, and they ultimately felt taken advantage of and even somewhat foolish by letting themselves fall hard for people who were unworthy of their affection.
Their trip together down the romance path is triggered by the crazy stunt that Anne decides to pull. As Ken watches Anne bollix up task after task, he becomes increasingly concerned about and for her. And Anne can’t help but notice his sympathy. Both reactions lead to that elusive “something more” that stirs the heart.
When she decides to incorporate a “loooooong lunch” into her “fire me tactics,” Ken is her unwitting partner-in-crime. But the lunch eats up even more time when she realizes that Ken is a fellow worth getting to know—they have more in common than they could have imagined.
When Anne’s schemes are revealed at story’s end, though, Ken can’t help wondering if Anne had just been using him to advance her plan. His doubts threaten to throw cold water on those early embers of love.
Both Anne and Ken have to decide whether to take a chance on starting a relationship, whether to take as big a risk in love as Anne took in the workplace during her crazy day.
Because the romance is telescoped into one day, I thought readers might enjoy learning what ultimately happens to Anne and Ken months later. So I am offering a free extra chapter to readers who want to know more. Go to www.LibbysBooks.com to see how to get this free read…and learn more about my books!
Thanks for having me stop by!
Money. That's what was stopping Anne from announcing right there that she was leaving. Money.
The cash register rang in her head. If she quit, she would get nothing. If she got fired, she'd get -
Enough to go on a cruise, invest in stock, buy a new car... Ideas paraded across her mind with price tags on them that she could afford if she only snagged this prize.
With a growing sense of satisfaction, she already started to envision the scene in which Mitch had to give her the bad news. He would, of course, be bewildered that she, of everyone, would come in last. Perhaps he'd even feel a bit betrayed by her bad performance and have a hard time actually uttering the words. Oh yes, it would be something else entirely to have to push her away when he was such a master of manipulating women into thinking they were leaving him. And what would she do?
She could see herself smiling and patting his hand. That's okay, Mitch, darling. A leader's gotta do what a leader's gotta do. What did you say in Management as Warfare? Don't expect every good decision to make you feel good. Wasn't that it? She'd smile benevolently, like the queen staying an execution, and from somewhere in the background violins would swell and they'd all be decked out in black and white like an old Bette Davis movie. Don't feel bad, Mitch. I've learned so much here. I'll make do somehow. I'll soldier on. Are the lights dimming or is my eyesight failing?
She looked now at Mitch's serene eyes. You'll be the one who has to make the hard choice. Surely firing me will give you a twinge or two. Surely you will suffer just a little, a tiny bit at least. A pinprick or so. A sting. A bite.
She wanted him to suffer, even if it only created a ripple over the placid blue lake of those still, silent eyes.