Emilia Mancini has a softer, sweeter side named Marci, and Marci is visiting HolleyBlog to tell us about Unforgettable You, available TODAY from Calliope. Check out the five w’s and find out more about this contemporary rural romance.
WHO are your main characters?
Widowed Carrie Gable gave up her job as a chef in Des Moines to care for her ailing mother-in-law, Doreen. Carrie is determined to keep Doreen in her family home, a large estate that costs a fortune to maintain, for as long as possible. Though she already has her hands full, Carrie knows their financial outlook is grim so she agrees to board on a handful of Hollywood actors who are filming in their rural town.
One of those actors is Will Walker, who has slipped from A-list status and is using the film to try to regain some ground in Hollywood. However, the longer he spends on the film, watching his co-stars disrespect their hostess, the more he realizes he no longer wants to be on the A-list. But when the opportunity arises to jump back into Hollywood, he finds it isn’t nearly as easy to turn down as he thought it would be.
WHAT tropes do you utilize in the story?
Carrie and Will are from complete different ends of the spectrum; she points out at one point that he is recognized all over the world while she is barely noticed in her own town. While they have a connection through their mutual desire to alter how their lives have turned out, their views on the world are different because of their status (or lack there of). It is more a comrade-in-misery-to-lovers than a friends-to-lovers story.
WHEN is the story set and how long does it take to resolve?
This is a contemporary story which spans about six months.
WHERE is the story set and why’d you choose that setting?
Unforgettable You is set in rural Iowa. This setting was to emphasize the differences between Will and Carrie. To Will, Carrie represents the calm that is lacking in his life while Will offers Carrie a link to her previous life in the city that she has been missing.
WHY did you write this story?
When I started plotting Unforgettable You in my head, I really wanted to focus on the relationship between Carrie and Doreen. I thought it would be interesting to explore this relationship but, as with everything I write, it quickly turned to a romance. I just went with it.
HOW is this story different than the last one you wrote?
My last book was erotica under pen name, Emilia Mancini. It had a romantic storyline and resolution, but it was very heavy on the sex. Unforgettable You is a romance, very heavy on the story, light on sex.
About Unforgettable You
Desperate to keep her ailing mother-in-law in the woman’s home, Carrie Gable agrees to board a handful of Hollywood’s most elite actors at the manor. Despite her resentment of the demands being placed upon her, she can’t help but be taken in by actor Will Walker.
Will, in a last-ditch effort to save his career, has agreed to a project he has no interest in. The more time he spends with his egotistical co-stars, the more drawn he is to Carrie. Long nights spent talking about the paths their lives have taken make him realize he’d rather have a simpler life, but his ties to L.A. aren’t as willing to let him go.
With the temptation of stardom pulling Will in one direction and the need to care for Doreen tugging Carrie in another, the couple struggle to hold onto the happiness they were missing until finding each other.
Excerpt of Unforgettable You
“It must be heart-wrenching to see Doreen fading away like that,” Will said.
Carrie’s face sagged. “It isn’t easy.”
“It’s a lot of work trying to keep up with her.”
“Sometimes,” she said dismissively as she looked at the menu. She glanced at the clock again. “Well, I won’t be slow roasting chicken tonight, will I?”
“I’m worried about you.”
“About me?” she asked lightly. “Why?”
“This is a lot for one person to handle.”
“You keep saying that.”
“Because I am.”
“Carrie.” He coaxed gently.
Turning from the menu, she seemed to plea with her eyes. “What do you want me to say, Will?”
“You can start by telling me how you are doing.”
“How the hell do you think I’m doing?”
He took in the deep creases on her forehead and the puffiness of her eyes. “Not nearly as well as you’d like everyone to believe.”
“Falling apart is not an option right now.”
“Well, burying it isn’t either.”
Carrie opened her mouth as if to argue with him but, after a moment, she stepped back, putting space between them. He watched her pull out a Dutch oven and carry it to the sink to fill with water.
Moving to her side, he looked down at her. “Can you just talk to me? Tell me what you’re thinking.”
“What I’m thinking?” she asked. “I’ve spent the last two years pretending that my dead husband is at the grocery store,” she sat the pot on a burner, “returning insane purchases, picking her up from all over the county after she’s driven off to some place that no longer exists, if it ever did exist, but somehow it didn’t seem real until today.”
“I know,” she said turning to look at him. “I know what it does. But I never really felt it. Pretending Mike is running errands, taking away her access to money, hiding the car keys, it all seemed so ordinary. Laundry? Check. Dishes? Check. Lie to Mama? Check.”
He saw fresh tears shimmering in her eyes before she turned toward the drawer where she’d hidden the knobs for the stove to prevent Mama from turning on the heat.
She tried several times to get the knob in place but it resisted her push, refused to fit. Cursing under her breath, Carrie slammed it down and turned to face him. “I’ve read the books, I’ve done the research, I’ve talked to support groups and doctors, but nothing they said could have possibly prepared me for that,” she said as the tears that had made her eyes shine fell down her cheeks. “Nothing could have prepared me for her not knowing who I am.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered as he reached out to her. When he wrapped her in his arms, she leaned into him and buried her face in his chest. A sob escaped her causing her shoulders to shake and he soothed her by whispering softly and running his hand over her back.
Marci Boudreaux lives with her husband, two daughters, and their numerous pets. She is a freelance writer appearing monthly in a variety of local magazines as well as a content editor for several small publishing houses.
Romance is her preferred reading and writing genre because nothing feels better than falling in love with someone new and her husband doesn’t like when she does that in real life.
Marci is currently working on her Masters in Publishing because she still has time to sleep.