Behind The Scenes

The Other Side Of Us

The idea for this book came to me when my good friend, Joan Kilby - also a Super Romance author! - told me about the house she used to live in, and how her dog loved the dog next door so much he was always finding ways to sneak over there to play with her. Having just become a dog owner for the first time in my adult life, I was infatuated with the idea of two people being forced into constant contact because their dogs had the hots for each other. I mulled over my ideas for a while before ringing Joan and asking if she was happy for me to use her anecdote as a story starter. She was, and I was away. 

As I mentioned in my reader letter for this book, Mackenzie was originally the one who was going to have discovered her husband was having an affair for the bulk of their marriage, and Oliver was going to be the grumpy loner recovering from a car accident. In fact, originally he was going to be recovering from testicular cancer. Two things steered me away from this dynamic - I'd just written Suddenly You and it struck me that a commitment-wary heroine was a trifle too close to Pippa's issues, and my husband's alarm that I was going to take away my hero's crown jewels! (I feel I should point out here that I was only planning on taking one of Oliver's testicles, but apparently that was bad enough from my husband's POV.) I had a bit of a think, and I started wondering what would happen if I reversed their roles - gave Mackenzie the car accident and the loner attitude, and Oliver the betrayal. Straight away the story came alive in my mind and I knew I was onto something. 

I will say, the gender reversal did challenge me in parts. There were times when Mackenzie was rude and stand offish and terse and I knew that readers would probably find her a lot less likable than a man with those qualities. For whatever reason, we tend to be harder on our romance heroines, I think, than on our heroes. I also found myself worrying that his wife's betrayal had emasculated Oliver - not something I can ever imagine worrying about if Mackenzie had been the one carrying this story. All interesting grist for the mill - and for me and my feminist ideals, too! 

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