Martha O'Sullivan has loved reading romance novels for as long as she can remember. Writing her own books is the realization of a lifelong dream for this stay-at-home mom. She is a graduate of Illinois State University where she wrote for the school newspaper and was a proud member of Zeta Tau Alpha. Formerly, she was an Acquisitions Editor at MacMillan Computer Publishing. Martha writes spicy, contemporary romances with traditional couples and happy endings. Her current work-in-progress in a sweet and steamy Christmas novel set in Florida. A native Chicagoan, she lives her own happy ending in Tampa with her husband and two daughters.
My love affair with California began at the tender age of fifteen and continues today, three decades later. So it should come as no surprise that the book of my heart, which somehow turned into a trilogy, is set there.
Maybe it was the indescribable thrill of a Midwestern girl seeing the ocean for the first time. Or the unapologetically bronzed coeds with movie-star teeth driving silver metallic convertibles and playing volleyball in the sand. Perhaps the towering palm trees swaying against the impossibly blue sky? But that was in Southern Cal; my Chances trilogy takes place in Lake Tahoe and San Francisco, hundreds of miles north.
I was an inadvertently lonely, only child of the 1970s, growing up in a place where a short, precious summer turned into a long, cold winter seemingly overnight. In high school, I often opted for the city bus because it stopped in front of the library. Just a branch, but they had loads of paperback books. And I always found myself drawn to the wire rack of slightly musty and lovingly tattered romance novels. The books took me to places all over the world where effortlessly beautiful, wonderfully flawed heroines were swept off their feet by dynamic, irresistible heroes. I preferred the books to the afternoon soaps because I could use my overzealous imagination to fashion the characters to my liking. And if I found the ending disappointing or abrupt, I would simply continue the story in my head.
Writing such ideas down, however, took another thirty years.
In the interim, I went to college and met my own alpha hero. And he took me to San Francisco on our honeymoon.
And, as cliché as it sounds, that’s where I left my heart. Well, part of it anyway. Because eight years and two babies later, he took me to Lake Tahoe for the very first time.
And my frisson with California moved even farther north.
I hope my Chances trilogy will take you there. And you’ll leave a little piece of your heart behind too.