My guest today is Ashley Ladd, talking about how having family around affects her writing process and the journeys of her main characters in her new novel, Business or Pleasure.
It’s Hard To Live With Family
It’s wonderful, but often tough, to live with family. Don’t misunderstand—I love my family to pieces, but they certainly make it difficult to write.
Earlier this evening for instance, I was hot and heavy in the middle of promotion, surfing from blog to blog to Facebook page to Triberr to Twitter, in a total frenzy, when dear daughter number three bee bopped into my office wanting me to drive her to the gym to work out. Her exercise bike broke last week and she’s in the middle of losing weight and she doesn’t want to lose her momentum. She usually gets her sister to drive her to the gym, but her sister was sleeping. So she set her eyes on me.
Although I desperately need to unplant my butt from the chair and give my body a work out, I wasn’t in any mood to interrupt my momentum. I was hot on the trail of several blogs that offered authors guest features! With one book that just released and four more books coming out in the near future, I’m in heavy-duty promotion mode.
Even though I didn’t want to, I finished the promotion request I was working on and shut down. Then we headed to the gym. After all, at the end of my life, what will I look back on with more love and joy? How many book tours I set up or the happy times I spent with my family?
In Business or Pleasure, both heroes, Guy and Tommy, experience the same kinds of problems with their families. They love them too. But they can be a pain.
Guy is an avid vegetarian and animal activist. He can’t stand it when his father cooks meat in the house and he gets absolutely livid when his dad uses his good pans to fix meat. He gets so furious he throws his pan in the garbage! Just as bad, his dad doesn’t understand Guy’s sexual orientation and yells about it in the middle of the yard so all the neighbors can here.
Tommy’s father doesn’t understand his sexual orientation either and also gives him a hard time. At least he doesn’t scream it out loud to the neighbors. He drives Tommy crazy when he insists that Tommy quit his real estate career to run the family’s new barbecue restaurant. He doesn’t respect Tommy’s wishes and desires.
Unfortunately, although our families love us and we love them, we don’t always get along well. Still, we are family and in the end, we should overlook the little things like special pans and a couple hours worth of book promotion and focus on the bigger picture. If we practice mutual love and respect we’ll all wind up winners in the end.
Guy Rogers is extremely attracted to his new realtor, Tom Beaudreaux. As a passionate vegetarian and animal activist, he’s ecstatic that Tom is a kindred soul. He could never be with a carnivore. Unfortunately, Tommy isn’t really a vegetarian or animal activist. He never said he was either, he just didn’t eat meat when he was with Guy. And maybe he emptied his house of all meat and dairy products before inviting Guy over. In fact, Tommy’s family owns the most popular barbecue restaurant in town and if his family has their way, he’ll manage the new location.
When Guy finds out that Tommy eats meat and his family owns a restaurant that is a monument to eating meat, he’s livid and doesn’t know if he wants anything else to do with Tommy.
But then Guy’s life gets crazy—his dad’s paranoia blossoms into violent dementia, he gets arrested for picketing a doggy mill, and then he winds up in even more legal trouble. When Tommy sticks by him through all his trouble and does everything he can to help him, Guy wonders if he’s been too militant and narrow-minded. Perhaps he can learn to live with people who have opposite views.
Guy’s dad, Glen, bailed him out of jail with a furrowed brow and a crinkled nose. As he stuffed his wallet into his pants’ pocket, he sniffed. “If your poor mother was alive, she’d be bawling her eyes out at this shame. Why can’t you learn to live and let live? If people want to follow the Good Book’s teachings and eat the food God gave us, you shouldn’t go around sticking your nose in their business.”
Guy rubbed his aching wrists the handcuffs had made raw. Then he swallowed a deep breath that hurt his lungs as he followed his father to his beat-up van. “Look who’s talking about live and let live.”
“It ain’t natural for men to love men, to sleep with men. He intended for you to meet up with a good woman and give me some grandchildren before I die. Now don’t be waiting too long. I want to be in good enough shape to enjoy them.”
Not this again! Guy twisted his hands together to keep from wringing his dad’s neck and winding up back in the pokey. “Your God is a forgiving, forgetting god, or did you forget? He’s the only one supposed to judge.”
“My god? He’s your god, too. You’d best start paying attention to His word, then you mightn’t be so darned pissed off all the time and marching around with that band of lunatics.”
By now he should know that the best way to win this argument was not to get involved, so he shut up. He had to put some distance between himself and his old man soon! Like yesterday.
“Calm down, Dad, before you give yourself another heart attack.”
“You should’ve thought of that before you went picketing that farm. At least you didn’t show up on TV and shame me in front of all my church friends. Don’t you be blabbing about what you’ve been up to. No one wants to hear it. And I don’t want that old coot next door or any of his followers to hear.”
Guy couldn’t help but retort, “The old guy next door is harmless. His daughter says he never leaves the house, that he can barely walk. He’s almost ninety.”
Glen peered at him as if he was crazy. “That’s why he gets his followers to do his dirty work. He’s been jealous of me for years.”
As much as his dad annoyed him, he loved him with his whole heart and didn’t want him to get sick. At seventy-one, he was frailer than most men his age. And he was obsessed with the neighbor, Mr Cary, to the point of being paranoid. Soon, he might have to go into an assisted living environment, but he was fighting it. If he tried to put his dad there now, he’d have the biggest battle on his hands in their history.
“Let’s drop it. I’m tired and hungry.”
Glen shook his finger at Guy. “You’ll be sorry when I’m proven right. I fixed some dinner, but of course, you won’t be wanting any of it seeing as it’s animal flesh and potatoes.”
Guy convulsed and almost threw up. “No. I don’t want that.”
When they got home, bile rose in Guy’s throat. Not only were the leftovers raw, bloody and mutilated, they were in his best pan!
Disgusted and angrier than he’d ever been in his life, he flung the pan in the garbage. The thing was no good to him anymore. He wasn’t going to put his food in a casket!
It was time to move out.
Ashley Ladd lives in South Florida with her husband, five children, and beloved pets. She loves the water, animals (especially cats), and playing on the computer.
She’s been told she has a wicked sense of humor and often incorporates humor and adventure into her books. She also adores very spicy romance, which she weaves into her stories.
How you can contact Ashley: