One thing I love about writing is the chance an author has to “try on” different worlds—from time travel to futuristic to paranormal—truly, anything goes. But in this particular case, I decided to go the opposite route and use my real life experiences instead. Love at 11 is a new adult romance set in a television newsroom, the very same place I spent much of my career.
I will never forget the day I started writing Love at 11. I was in the middle of a rough draft of what would eventually become the sci-fi romance Moongazer and I’d had the worst day at work. My executive producer had assigned me the stupidest story on the planet — Cosmetics that Kill — and I wasn’t making any progress on it. Simply because, cosmetics, as a rule, don’t actually kill. But the station loved the scare stories and hey, it’d sound great in a promo, so they weren’t going to take my objections or rationalizations. I was to find some makeup with gross, nasty bacteria lurking in it, have it tested and inform the world about all the grossness I found.
(Note: You’ve probably seen these germ stories before. They’re the kind of stories stations always fall back on to get the ratings. And no matter what you test–be it the bottoms of purses or the ice in ice machines, you’re likely going to find something that sounds gross to the general public. But what you don’t see on the news is that most of these germs, while icky, actually won’t harm you. Our bodies have antibodies to take care of those kinds of things.)
Anyhow, I started thinking about all that goes on behind the scenes in television news. How they exaggerate to scare, how they won’t tell you about something truly deadly if it involves one of their advertisers, how managers will only approve a story if you can attach celeb’s name to it (they wouldn’t let me do a story on teens cutting until I mentioned that Lindsay Lohan was rumored to be a cutter), how they fire veteran journalists who make too much money and replace them with hot 20 somethings who have no experience, but will practically work for free, etc. etc.
I started writing. And the words poured out of me. About Maddy, a hapless special projects producer, like myself, who was always assigned the most ridiculous stories. She longs to become a real journalist and work for a network news show that still takes pride in reporting the truth. Instead, she’s stuck with silly, sensationalized stories like Deadly Dishwashers, Killer Clay, and Perilous Pets–stories aired for the sole purpose of boosting ratings through scary promos–while the most shocking news event in her town goes unreported.
I think when many people read Love at 11 they will assume much of it was exaggerated for fiction. But while the plot and characters are made up, the inner workings of the television newsroom are extremely real. For example, these “Household Products That Kill” stories Maddy’s assigned are all based on real news reports I’ve been assigned over the years. We really did air Problem Pedicures, Cosmetics that Kill, Shower Shocker and the rest on a daily basis.
But just as Maddy and her photographer–sexy, motorcycle riding bad boy Jamie Hays–find a way rise above the corruption and risk their jobs to uncover the truth–in real life too, there are true journalists slaving away in the trenches. The unsung heroes who work overtime to expose the bad guys, right the wrongs, and produce fair and balanced reports. If anyone can save the industry, it’s them. They give me hope for the future and inspired the Love at 11 novel.
When Maddy graduated from Columbia University, she was ready to change the world. She’d get a job at Newsline, meet a nice guy, and live happily ever after with a real designer handbag on her arm. Two years later, she’s stuck producing puff pieces for News 9 San Diego–where “if it bleeds, it leads.” She’s still single, her family’s falling apart, and so is her knock-off Kate Spade.
Then Jamie Hayes walks through her newsroom door. The former filmmaker is now her cameraman and everything Maddy has ever dreamed of. Creative, smart, and sweet—with eyes that could make a girl melt. The perfect guy…but perfectly unavailable. And the more Maddy tries to stay away—the further she starts to fall.
Now a secret scoop from her favorite knock-off purse guy has Maddy chasing a lead that could make her career. Or destroy it forever. How far is she willing to go to broadcast the truth? And will this breaking news lead to more broken dreams…or an exclusive on Jamie’s heart? Stay tuned…
It’s the story of a lifetime.
About Mari Mancusi
Mari Mancusi used to wish she could become a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another blood sucking profession –journalism — instead. Today she works as a freelance TV producer and author of books for teens and adults. A graduate of Boston University and a two time Emmy Award winner, she lives in Austin , Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon and their dog Mesquite. You can find Mari online at www.marimancusi.com or www.bloodcovenvampires.com.
This week I’m giving away two copies of Mari’s book, Love at 11. But you must leave a comment in order to win. (If you are reading this on Goodreads, you have to comment on my CC Hunter Books blog to win. And, yes, sorry, but this is limited to U.S. residents only. But if you live outside the U.S., be sure to read the end of this blog!)
Haven’t Read Saved at Sunrise Yet?
- Almost gets arrested.
- Disobeys Burnett and skips out on her partner.
- Comes face to face with Lee—and his fiance.
- Gets thoroughly kissed.
- Wakes up in bed with Steve.
Want to Meet CC Hunter?
Well, I’d love to meet you! If you live in the Houston, Texas area, come out to one of my Chosen at Nightfall signings. Tell your friends–better yet, bring them with you!
Friday, May 3rd, I’ll be at Katy Budget Books, Katy, TX, 7-9 pm. (The first ten people to show up and buy a book get a FREE t-shirt. The next 25 people will get a FREE signed posters.) http://www.katybooks.com
Saturday, May 4th, I’ll be at the Barnes & Noble, The Woodlands, TX, 2-4 pm. (The first 25 people to show up and buy a book will get a FREE Shadow Falls t-shirt. The next 25 who show up and purchase a book will get a FREE signed poster.) http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2200
And the Winners are…
Okay, last week I had a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of Chosen at Nightfall. I got many wonderful comments.
The winner of the Kindle or Nook is Elise N.
The winner of the copy of Chosen at Nightfall (hard copy or ebook) is Donya.
The winners of the Shadow Falls poster are Alison Troutman, Essie B. and Angela Sickles.
The winner of Jennifer Armentrout’s Apollyon is Mariah Kerivon.
The winner of Kelly Armstrong’s The Rising is Fiona Sutton.
The winner of Kiera Cass’ The Elite is Chastity Duffey.
I know I have many readers who live outside the U.S. So, in the next couple of weeks, I am planning a special giveaway just for you.