Just recently, I got the chance to read The Engagement Cover by A.M. Heath. It’s a very fun book, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. After I finished reading, I asked the author what inspired the story. That led to asking if she’d be willing to write a guest post sharing the backstory of what led her to write the book, so that’s what I’m sharing with you today! I doubt I’m the only one who finds backstory interesting—am I right?
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So here goes. From Anita Heath’s pen:
Where did the fun idea for The Engagement Cover come from?
I’m so glad you asked…
The Engagement Cover is a Christmas story about a woman pretending to date (and then get engaged) two different men, and all for the sake of her dying grandmother. The concept was actually a combination of two fun story ideas that needed a home.
The Hockey Date:
I was minding my own business, watching the Nashville Predators’ hockey game, when someone in the stands was hit with the puck.
I’ve seen this on a sitcom before but never actually saw it happen to someone.
I thought to myself, “Someone’s having a rough night.”
Then my imagination kicked in. “What if that person was on a first date? What if they weren’t enjoying themselves when this happened? That would make a bad date far worse!”
That’s when I knew I was on to something. So I mentally filed away this idea of a terrible first date and went on about my life. But the hockey puck story continued to brew in the back of my brain.
The Fake Relationship:
I love a good fake relationship story. There’s great chemistry between two people pretending to love each other when they can barely stand each other. Kinda like being in a play, but without the script to guide them.
So it’s not surprising that I should want to write my own fake dater story. But as is my custom, I paused to consider what is and how I could shake things up a bit.
In any fake relationship, it’s a given that the person she’s set up with will be the person she falls in love with in the end. But what if…things weren’t that simple?
What if…she needed a replacement?
I started toying with this idea that the man she first brings home isn’t the only man in the picture. That maybe he’s too busy to show up and she needs a lookalike. Someone to take his place when he’s not there.
But who is this guy? How does his involvement make for an interesting story?
Then, BAM, like a hockey puck to the face, I knew who it should be.
So I wedded together the hockey puck story to the fake relationship one and created a match made in heaven.
The one guy she never wanted to see again is the only guy who can help her when she needs it the most.
The Taste of Tamales:
I honestly had no intentions of tapping into my Hispanic roots, but when I sat down to get to know the family, Mrs. Bradford made it perfectly clear how things were going to be. And when you meet her, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. She’s a force to be reckoned with.
From day one, her accent was as clear as her demands: No man; no tamales.
I tried to talk her out of it, but she won…as she typically does. And suddenly, I’m using a partially Mexican cast for the first time ever.
I hope you enjoyed this quick behind-the-scenes look at the novella. Teresa, the two men she’s not engaged to, and their families invite you to come spend Christmas with them. You’ll laugh, cry, fall in love, and walk away craving Mexican food.
(Note from Esther: I have a wonderful memory of eating tamales with my grandma one time when I went to visit her, so this part of the book was especially special to me!)
About the book:
He nearly ruined her life. Now he’s the only one who can help her.
After a disastrous dating app experience that nearly destroyed her modeling career, Teresa Bradford knows what she wants, and Justin Reynolds seems to check every box. But when her family pressures her to bring him home as her fiancé in order to ease the mind of her dying grandmother, their relationship takes a weird turn, and his absences create the need for a fill-in fiancé.
Since his mom’s passing, and with his dad working out of state through the holidays, Alex Landry misses the feeling of home. So, when his friend Marc Bradford asks him for a strange favor with the promise of family for the holidays and all the tamales he can eat, he’s all in. What he didn’t expect was Marc’s sister to be the girl he’d gone on an awful date with two years ago.
Committed to a fake engagement to fulfill a dying woman’s wish, Alex and Teresa form a rocky friendship. As first impressions change and it becomes clear that Alex fits in better with her family than Justin does, Teresa is forced to reconsider what she wants. She’s drawn to both men for different reasons, but the one who nearly ruined her life might be the one to help her find what truly matters.
The Engagement Cover releases today!
Thanks for coming on the blog, Anita! It was a lot of fun to get to know the story-behind-the-story!