BLURB – Stockholm Diaries, Melanie
Long summer days in the Stockholm archipelago
A young American biographer looking for answers
And the sizzling Swedish man she finds instead…
In the next book in the Stockholm Diaries series!
Biographer Melanie has spent her life in the shadow of a single question: Why did her father abandon her? When he unexpectedly dies and leaves her his cabin in the Stockholm archipelago, Melanie heads straight for Sweden, looking for answers. But island life isn’t what she expects, and neither is her new neighbor, Henrik. Together they try to piece together the story that both tangles their lives together and pulls them apart.
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EXCERPT –Stockholm Diaries, Melanie
… She unzipped the top pocket of her suitcase and pulled out an envelope stuffed with papers and a lone key. Mel jiggled the key, and the white door swung open to her new summer home.
Timber—that was the word that came to mind when she stepped into the cabin. The walls were bare panels, and what little furniture her father had was also carved in thick, rough wood. A small kitchen table and two chairs. An old day-bed, with white pillows that shone against the worn wooden frame. The large room even smelled of it—not freshly cut, but the aged smell of wood that had been shut inside for years.
The only things that suggested that this place was a home and not just some sort of interactive museum display were the bookshelves, incongruously messy, overstuffed with an assortment of every shape and color of book imaginable. And across the room was the other sign of life: two plastic-covered holes where the windows should have been.
What the hell?
The executor didn’t say anything about the cabin needing repairs. And while she usually considered herself pretty handy, Mel had to admit that installing windows in a climate known for heavy rainfall wasn’t in her current repertoire.
Oh well. She’d worry about that later, preferably before it rained. Right now, it was time to chase away the dregs of jet lag along with the sticky layer of sweat and dirt so she could think.
Mel rolled her suitcase over to the daybed, just under the plastic-covered hole in the wall. She shuffled through neatly rolled t-shirts and socks, her laptop and toiletries until she found what she was looking for: her bathing suit. It was an old, stretched out blob in faded greens, but after searching through a string of stores for a new one back in Boston, she had decided that this green mess was still her best option. How often would she really need a bathing suit in Sweden? And why did stores only stock bikinis for anyone under size 16 these days? She would probably need to treasure the baggy green one-piece.
No one will see me here anyway, she thought as she lifted her shirt over her head. It clung to her body, and she wondered idly if the cabin had a washing machine. Not likely.
She peeled the rest of her clothes off and grabbed her bathing suit when a sound made her freeze, halfway back to standing position. Footsteps. Close by, maybe on the stairs of her deck—someone was here. And she was naked. Had she lock the door? Of course not. Why would she lock her door in the middle of nowhere? The footsteps came closer.
Bathing suit. She fumbled with the top opening of the suit and then shoved her foot in, pulling up at the same time.
She felt the old material give way as her foot pressed into the seat.
She looked down, assessing the damage. Where the chest and the butt should have fit were now two, great, gaping holes, held together only by the side seams. Seriously, what were the chances? Shit. She had made lists and planned and did everything she could to make sure she had what she needed for island life. She had lugged it all across the Atlantic, all the way up the dirt trail…
The footsteps. They stopped. Mel’s heart pounded hard as she stared at the flaps of material hanging off the suit.
Get dressed, Mel. Anything.
Her dirty shirt lay in a heap on the floor. But as she lifted her foot back out of the suit, the plastic that covered the hole in the wall in front of her was suddenly loose. Then it was gone. And it certainly felt chilly now.
What she saw on the other side of the hole made her gulp again. Her brain finally kicked into gear: hot man, dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, holding something. A hammer. His other hand, frozen half way down his body, held the corner of the plastic.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR- Rebecca Hunter
How long have you wanted to be a romance writer? When did you decide to write a book?
I’ve wanted to write a book for just about as long as I can remember. Back in college, I took creative writing classes and even wrote what I planned to be the first chapter of my first novel. The idea was solid (and I still might write that book one day!), but the results were… mediocre. At this point, I decided I wasn’t good enough and quit. In my early 20s. Ugh.
Fast forward more than a few years. The idea of writing a book still wouldn’t leave me alone. And I still wasn’t “good enough” because… duh, I wasn’t trying. So for an upcoming birthday, I decided that my present to myself would be a novel—my own novel. It could be terrible, but the idea was going to nag me until I just gave it a try. I decided write a mystery, because genre fiction is “easier,” right? Ha.
Well, that mess is still brewing on my hard drive, but out of the jumble came a new idea: Stockholm Diaries, stories about North Americans in Stockholm (where I was living at the time) falling in love. Ever since, I’ve been reading and writing romance!
What inspired you to write this story?
My husband is Swedish, and we have lived in Sweden twice. Both times, I met women from around the world with interesting, unique stories about meeting Swedish men and moving to Sweden. These stories involved chance meetings, uncertain risks and sacrifice, all in the name of love. The whole Stockholm Diaries series is a kind of tribute to all these stories.
How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?
I’m married with two elementary-age kids, and I work part-time as an freelance editor of academic books and articles. But writing fiction is both hobby and work for me. The career side of it is certainly work—I’ve never set foot into the business world before this—and writing can be hard work as well. But writing is also my hobby in the sense that I use my spare time to read and write. I’m not crafty, I don’t follow the news or blogs too closely and I’m a mediocre cook at best. I only watch TV/movies as a way to spend time with my husband and kids. Instead of all these activities, I’d rather write.
Were you involved in a writer’s group?
Early in 2015, I became a member of the San Francisco chapter of Romance Writers of America, and I have learned so much from the members and the speakers. It’s a great community.
Who gave you feedback as you worked through writing the book?
Oh, my—I got a lot of help! Once upon a time, I was an English teacher, and I have a lot of English major friends who give me feedback and various kinds of help. I have a wonderful writing partner, K.D. Hazzard, and she and I talk each other through the story-writing process and give each other developmental editor feedback. My sister is always my first reader, followed by a string of Beta readers who help me fine-tune the story and characters. Finally, friend and fellow RWA member Ella Swift went over the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb.
Did you have a market in mind when you started writing the book?
The first book in this series, Stockholm Diaries, Caroline, is as much about Stockholm and about Caroline’s own adventure as it is about the romance. In other words, it follows more of the New Adult romance model. For Melanie’s story, I wanted to try straight contemporary romance and create a compelling storyline that weaves the romance plot more intricately together with the external plot.
Instead of a market, when I started, I had two books in mind: I love Jude Deveraux’s, A Knight in Shining Armor. Even though the female character reads a little dated, Deveraux blends humor and romance and plot so that the events seem to unfold naturally—I wanted to see if I could do that. The second book I had in mind was A.S. Byatt’s Possession. It’s a 1990 Booker Prize winner about two literary scholars/ adversaries who uncover a love affair between the two writers they study. What Stockholm Diaries, Melanie is definitely romance—not Booker Prize material!—but the seed for this book was planted back in college when I read Byatt’s book.
Rebecca is a writer, editor and translator who has always loved to read and travel. Though she earned a Bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in English Education, most of what she learned about writing romance has come from other sources.
Rebecca has, over the years, called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York City, San Francisco, and, of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they’ll never move again. Well, probably not.
To sign up for news, sneak peaks and free stories, go to Rebecca’s website at http://www.rebeccahunterwriter.com.