Several years ago, I read an article about a man who had kept a secret family for years without anyone’s knowledge. I was fascinated that someone could and would actually do this. That one small article lived in my subconscious for years, emerging occasionally as I considered how a person might achieve this, the effects on the primary family as well as the other family, the pain, the grief, the anger, the emotional, financial and psychological entanglements between the two, and the ultimate question; which was the real family? I became so engrossed with the emotion of the situation that I knew I had to create my own characters and my own story and so emerged, A Family Affair.
It was only supposed to be one book.
I remember a reader sending me an email asking about Christine and Nate. Did they have children? How many? What happened to Harry and Greta? I told her what I thought at the time, because again, there was no second book. Then I started to receive more e-mails, Facebook, and blog posts, all asking to know more about these characters and the small town of Magdalena. Pop Benito hadn’t even made an appearance yet! I didn’t want to disappoint my readers, yet, turning a book into a series that was never intended to be one was a huge and daunting task. I wasn’t going to do it unless I could feel the passion for the continuation of that story. I kept that thought in my head and wrote another book… However, the idea of an A Family Affair series started to live in my brain and that’s when I knew I had to make up my mind to write it or bury it.
I do some of my best thinking when I’m walking my dog, and during a particularly brisk morning walk, I started playing around with scenarios and characters. I just let my imagination go and didn’t try to shut anything down. I did the same thing the next day, and soon Lily, Nate, Christine, Harry, Gloria, Greta, and Pop Benito emerged with their own stories and problems, ones even I didn’t have answers to…and that’s when I knew I had to write about them, because who else was going to get them out of trouble?
I have absolutely loved every part of this process and the characters have entertained me as well as broken my heart a time or two. But they’ve always found a way to heal my heart and make me a believer in love, hope, forgiveness, and second chances. Thanks to all the dear readers who wrote to tell me they wanted a continuation of A Family Affair. I have indeed heard you, I am currently working on Book 20, A Family Affair: The List.