As I wrote in my readers’ letter for this book, I’ve written two sequels in my career so far, and both of them were completely unplanned. The first was Jon’s story in One Good Reason - when I created a brother for Tyler and started thinking about what growing up must have been like for these two men, I knew I had to find a happy ending for Jon, too, as well as Tyler. This is my second “sequel”, and like One Good Reason it’s more of a companion book in that there’s no continuing story arc or anything like that.
I introduced Harry as Mel Porter’s brother in All They Need, and from the moment I described the man I saw in my mind’s eye, I knew I wanted to tell his story. Who doesn’t love to see a party boy/ladies’ man brought to his knees by love? I know I certainly do, and even though Harry resists his feelings for Pippa, he falls hard by the end of the book and knows that his life has changed irrevocably forever. Huzzah, score one for true love.
A couple of other things about this book. The first is that it wasn’t until I was writing the opening paragraph that I realised what I’d inadvertently done to my hero - I’d called him Harry Porter. D’oh. Melanie Porter sounded delightful to my ears when I was writing Mel’s story, and I had no real thought of telling Harry’s story when I was plotting hers. But I quickly realised I was stuck with the name, since I’d established that his parents were also Porters. So, best to face the challenge head-on, I decided, so I stuck a Harry Potter/Harry Porter joke in the first few pages. Just to get it out of the way. I hope it wasn’t too distracting for readers.
The other thing about this book is that a certain dangerous crawling-inside-the-roof-space scene was inspired by real life. Not that I fell through the plasterwork, but I was up in the roof space before I wrote this book, doing some DIY stuff with my husband, and it occurred to me that if the torch (flashlight) went out, I would be in deep do-do. Then I lost my balance on a rafter and almost crashed through the plaster, and I started to wonder what would happen if you did do that - what kind of a mess might it make, and what kind of problems might it generate for someone? All my story brain needed was those few thoughts and it was off and running, and the result is Pippa and Harry and a huge, Pippa-shaped hole in the ceiling. And lots of excuses for Harry to spend a great deal of time at Pippa’s house. Lucky Pippa.