Robin Kaye Guest Blog A Blog of Books; May 5, 2009
When I wrote Romeo, Romeo, I thought I was writing a stand-alone book. When I sold Romeo, Romeo to Sourcebooks, the first thing Deb Werksman, my editor, said to me was what’s the next book in the series? The next book? What book? So, I did what I usually do, I punted and pitched Too Hot To Handle, Dr. Mike Flynn and Annabelle’s book.
The only problem with Too Hot To Handle was that Annabelle, the heroine, wasn’t very likeable in Romeo, Romeo. Of course, being the author that I am, I knew there was more to Annabelle then just a nasty attitude. There was some major baggage causing all that attitude. At the time, however, I hadn’t delved deeply into the reason. When I started writing Too Hot to Handle, that had to change. In the first scene all the baggage jumped out at me. It all started with the first line, “Ghosts don’t have sex, do they?”
After I wrote that first line, I knew all there was to know about Annabelle’s baggage. When, in the book, Annabelle had been going to art school several years before, she falls in love and gets engaged to Chip Larsen, the twin brother of her roommate, Becca. Chip dies of cancer and Annabelle returns to Brooklyn after his death. Her family doesn’t know Chip existed because she and Chip lived together and that is unacceptable in the Ronaldi family. When she comes back home, her family assumes that she runs home with her tail between her legs because she can’t make it on her own which, in their minds, is not unexpected.
For the two years since Chip’s death, which occur before the book begins, Annabelle gets very good at repressing her feelings. It works well until, at her sister Rosalie’s wedding, she runs into Mike who has an uncanny resemblance to Chip. After way too much champagne, Mike and Annabelle return to her new apartment and fall into bed together. The next morning, hung over and confused, she awakens with Mike wondering if ghosts have sex. Either she is sleeping with the ghost of her dead fiancé—in which case he’s learned a few things since his demise—or she is in bed with a total stranger.
Mike also comes with a fair amount of baggage. He’s worked his way through college and med school and is up to his stethoscope in debt. He’s in the process of buying his way into a practice when he finds out that one of the partners is a malpractice suit waiting to happen. This is definitely not the right time to find the woman of his dreams.
There are obstacles to overcome for both our hero and our heroine. But if there weren’t twists and turns in the relationship, Too Hot to Handle would be a very short book. And what would be the fun of that?