I’m super excited about today’s guest blogger. Staci Troilo has become a good friend in a short time, and wow, does she have a great post to share today! I was excited when I saw the title. Why? Because, as a writer, all of my books place a strong emphasis on family relationships, with the vast majority involving a father-figure in one manner or another. And if that isn’t enough, Staci discusses the difference between…well, you’ll just have to read and see for your yourself, as I don’t want to lessen the impact of this marvelous post.
Please welcome back Staci Troilo with Love Stories and Fathers
Hi, Mae. Thanks for asking me back. And hi, everyone. I appreciate you giving me a few moments of your time today.
The working title for the first novel I wrote was Daddy Issues. I say “working title” because the publisher didn’t like it for a mystery. At the time, I thought they were insane. That title was perfect. Now I’m on the fence. True, it’s not the standard mystery title, but given the humor in the book, its originality could work in the story’s favor. But it’s a moot point. They changed the title to Mystery Heir. That title doesn’t really do anything for me, but what’s done is done.
Why am I telling you all this?
My first novel had all kinds of dads—from the idyllic Brady Bunch dad to the epitome of a deadbeat. In my new release, Out and About, I’ve got two domineering fathers. A doctor and a lawyer, both successful, both opinionated, and both with definite thoughts about their kids.
I call this series mainstream fiction, but the novels in it are really love stories. Not romances, but love stories.
What’s the difference?
Some say a romance has a happily-ever-after ending, but love stories endings aren’t so cut-and-dried. Others say romances start before the couple is together and end when they commit to each other, where love stories start with a couple who is already together, but in a troubled relationship.
I don’t know that any of that matters. In my romances, there is often a lot of other stuff going on, but the story couldn’t exist without the relationship arc. In my love stories, if we took the relationship out of the equation, we would still have a story. Possibly a different story with a different focus, but still a story.
I always identified myself as a romance writer. But a few years ago, my agent told me the NY market was saturated. Editors said my writing was sound, but they just didn’t have an opening for me. So she asked me to switch genres. I was sad. Then angry. I resisted, then I acquiesced, only to feel like a sell-out. I finally fired my agent and started working with a small press who loved the concept of my Medici Protectorate romance series. But I had made so much progress on my mainstream novel, I decided to finish it. Not that it was easy. I resisted that story from nearly beginning to end.
Then the most amazing thing happened.
I fell in love with it. Once it wasn’t a requirement for me to complete but a labor of love, I was hooked. The result was Type and Cross, a love story that went on to receive a 5-star rating from Readers’ Favorite. Fans adore that story. And I got hooked on those characters.
That begrudged standalone novel became the first book in one of my favorite series to write.
Out and About, book two of what is now called the Cathedral Lake series, was a joy to write. The words just flowed. And yes, it’s another love story. Why not a romance? Because the real story is about two people with daddy issues, who get caught up in a dangerous situation, who have to address their relationships with their families and their positions in their professional fields.
Two people who may be in love. But that’s not really what the story is about.
Freedom from jail. Freedom from family.
Jensen Keller covets freedom. Probably because he doesn’t have any. He’s abided by his father’s every whim for years. Until the one time he rebelled. And nearly lost his family. Now he’s been summoned back to Cathedral Lake only to discover freedom has been granted to the one person who should be eternally denied it—Wade Unger, the man responsible for his sister’s death.
Bella Perish wants nothing more than to be free from her domineering father. In an unexpected turn of events, she’s not only granted freedom from him—autonomy is forced on her. And her budding relationship with Jensen looks like collateral damage. As she works to repair the relationships that matter most to her, her new found independence is compromised. Worse, her very life is threatened.
An account of repression, revelation, bravery, and contrition, Out and About chronicles the merits and miseries of freedoms denied and gained.
If that interests you, perhaps you’ll enjoy this brief excerpt:
“Why didn’t you tell me your family was a victim of a crime?”
“Who walks around saying that?” His words, too loud for a private discussion, carried through the hallway and caused people to turn their gazes on him. He grabbed her arm, pulled her aside, away from the crowd, and lowered his voice. “Seriously. When people first meet, they discuss their careers. They don’t mention the most horrible events in their histories. That’s at least a third date discussion.”
She scoffed. “That’s not my understanding of what happens on a third date.”
He gritted his teeth, clenched his fists. “Now’s not the time, Bella. You should have said something.”
“I told you I work for my father. That’s he’s difficult. If you were really interested, you could have looked us up. Then you would have known.”
“How? You never even told me your last name.”
That left her momentarily speechless. When she finally spoke, her tone sounded resigned. “You’re right. I guess I didn’t. I felt like I was really getting to know you. It didn’t occur to me that I never gave you my full name. Or asked yours. Which, by the way, you never volunteered.”
Jensen sighed. “Yeah, well, that part’s not all your fault.”
“So, are we good?”
His mouth popped open, and he had to make a determined effort to close it. “You’re kidding, right?”
“What? It was just a little misunderstanding.”
“A little—” He ran his hand through his hair. “Bella, I’m here to try to keep a man behind bars. A man who killed my sister and nearly destroyed my family. How can I possibly be involved with the woman working to set him free?”
Staci Troilo has always loved fiction, ever since her parents read her fairy tales when she was little. Today, her interest are much more eclectic. She loves getting lost in sci-fi battles, fantasy realms, horror worlds, suspenseful intrigues, and romantic entanglements.
As goes her reading, so goes her writing. She can’t pick a single genre to focus on, so she doesn’t even try. She’s proud to say she’s a multi-genre author.
When she’s not reading or writing, she’s spending time with family and friends, possibly cooking for them, or maybe enjoying an afternoon in the pool. To learn more about her, visit http://stacitroilo.com, sign up for her newsletter, or connect with her on social media.