Beautiful Disaster, Backstory

Answers vary when it comes to Beautiful Disaster’s backstory. When book clubs ask, I explain that Flynn turned up one gloomy April afternoon. He appeared in my sunroom like an apparition looking to come in out of the rain. I also give Athens, Georgia—home to my college alma mater—credit. In many ways, I painted the characters into the town’s eclectic canvas. Sometimes readers are curious to know if Flynn is based on a real person, I reply back and confess (perhaps to their disappointment) that he’s pure imagination.

So what is the real story behind Beautiful Disaster? The answer is D, all of the above.

Along with imagination, the novel required plenty of research. As the story evolved, it grew apparent that I needed to write about things for which I had no real experience. A stale journalism degree finally met with a practical purpose, and I used those skills to get the facts I needed. I spent serious time interviewing a Special Ops Marine, and dove deep into the world of holistic design.

The backstory to Beautiful Disaster ends with a postscript. The book debuted on the cusp of precarious times in the publishing industry. Ebooks were on the verge of changing everything and bookstores were closing in droves. Launching a debut novel in this climate was like setting up a lemonade stand in the middle of a war zone. However, with hard work and time to reflect, I think BD has held its own. The novel scooped up several awards, including Best First Book from chapters of Romance Writers of America and was named a Favorite Book of 2011 at It was also a 2012 RITA Finalist, an honor I never imagined on a rainy April afternoon years ago.