Writing the Let’s Connect books has been all kinds of fun. I always wanted to try an online dating story and the format felt perfect for a newsletter serial. What I didn’t expect was Robin. Trevor was always a part of the outline for the first book, Let’s Connect. Trevor was supposed to be Robin. But only for the first couple of chapters. That was when I decided to drop the ruse and let Robin be Robin—because he definitely wasn’t Trevor. Also, I liked Robin. I also sensed Robin had a story to tell; one that wouldn’t play out across the pages of that book. Robin needed a book all to himself.
I put a piece of myself into all of my characters. A quirk, a foible, a dream, a curious habit. I don’t know if other writers do it that way, but it’s how it works for me. Sometimes I feel like the purpose of a character is to explore that facet of myself. They always develop into their own people, though. They become my friends.
I am beyond excited to share Robin’s story with you. He’s one of my most personal characters. I haven’t been trapped inside my house for three years, but Robin’s character—his anxiety and how he got stuck—both grew out of my reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.
I did okay for a while. I liked being home. I did miss interacting with people (in person) but I liked not having to go anywhere. My days became less structured and it was nice to get lost for a while. Toward the end of September, however, when it felt as though summer had been eight months long, a new aspect of the lockdown started to tug at me. I’d been home for so long that I no longer wanted to go out. I could, in fact, imagine never leaving home again.
Why would I? I have a lovely house. I like my family. Everything I need can be delivered to my door. Also, while I did enjoy being with people, a lot of people were being stupid. It was safer at home.
So, it wasn’t difficult for me to imagine Robin. To imagine what he must have felt at the prospect of leaving his house. His anxiety was my anxiety. For the three weeks it took me to write his story, we suffered together and when one of my beta readers said to me, “The rep on his anxiety is perfect. I could feel it,” all I could say was, “I know.”
While Let’s Go Out is a very personal book, it’s also meant to be a fun story. I didn’t want to overwhelm my readers with panic attacks and dark thoughts. I set Robin a challenge a day and he met them with mixed results. He was very good-humored about it all. Then there was Sean. We all need a Sean in our lives. The champion beyond the wall, someone steadfast and true. The friend who never relents, the lover who is patient and kind. The one person who will listen to our woes and then give us the confidence to overcome them on our own.
LET’S GO OUT
(Let’s Connect #2)
Being dumped is oddly freeing.
It wasn’t as though Robin could have met Dan in the real world, anyway. To do that, Robin would have to leave his house. But uploading his picture to the dating app Let’s Connect, only to have Dan let him down, is still disappointing. Now Robin has run out of excuses not to look outward, and for the first time in three years, he’s seeing many of the things he’s been hiding from—including his next-door neighbor, Sean.
The very same obstacle remains, however. Sean lives in the real world too. And if Robin wants to get to know him better, to move beyond friendship to something more, he’s going to have to step outside his front door.
Robin will have to go out.
The published edition includes:
- A new, super-extended epilogue chapter from Sean’s point of view. (I *might* have gotten a little carried away, but I really liked Sean’s voice.)
- Robin’s Frittata recipe.
- A new tile story!
Need to catch up? Read Let’s Connect for free!
(Until March 5)
Looking for my new release giveaway? Check in with my reader group, Kelly’s Keepers, for all the details.