Find more from this author on:
About the author:
She lives in Hollywood with her husband writer/comedian Tony Figueroa, and their three neurotic cats.
What inspired you to write your book?
In January 2013, I reread my manuscript. I realized that I had a mediocre first draft. I also decided I had a pretty good beginning and end, but I had ignored the bulk of the story. I liked my characters and story too much to leave them stranded in a weak novel and decided to begin work on a second draft, and complete the story.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“What the hell were you thinking?” This was the icy greeting that Marc Guiro received from his father, Charles, as he entered his family home in Montreal Quebec, Canada. It was nine o’clock in the morning.
Marc had just returned from the home of Miriam Lebel, his longtime girlfriend or, depending on who you spoke to, Marc’s fiancée. But as of thirty-three minutes ago she was neither; Marc had just ended their relationship.
The romance of Marc and Miriam began when they were in high school. At one point they told their families that there would be a wedding in 1990 after both had completed their educations. But over the past several years the couple had grown apart. They were different people with different interests and had very little in common.
Marc had been sincere in his promise to marry Miriam, but that was years ago. He was older, wiser and at this point in his life he was having trouble seeing himself married to anyone. Unfortunately, Marc said nothing to indicate he was having second thoughts as 1990 loomed closer.
Miriam, on the other hand, was in the process of planning her huge springtime wedding despite the fact that there was no formal engagement-a minor detail that she hoped to remedy when Marc came home for Christmas.
She had hired a photographer to take engagement photographs, with one appearing beside the formal engagement announcement in the paper. They were to be the guests of honor at an intimate reception hosted by Miriam’s aunt and uncle as the wedding date was announced to the couple’s family and closest friends.
Most importantly, Miriam had selected a three-carat princess cut diamond ring in a platinum setting that she hoped to have sized and on her finger by the time Marc returned to New York.
But Marc had come home to Montreal with a different agenda. He had to break things off with Miriam, permanently. Many reasons factored into this decision, but only one mattered; Marc had fallen in love with someone else.
Marc knew that he would be unable to move forward with his life and new love while Miriam was still a part of his life. That’s why he was at the Lebel home at eight o’clock this morning: to end things.
While there is no good time to end a long-term relationship, a breakup during the Christmas holiday season is especially awkward, in part due to busy social calendars and family affairs. Marc decided he could not end things until after Christmas Day, thinking that the last thing he would want to do would be potentially ruining the holiday for those around him. Over the next few days there just never seemed to be a good time to sit down privately with Miriam without festive distractions.
But, on the evening of December 27, Miriam informed Marc that a photographer would be at her home at nine the next morning to take engagement photographs. She instructed him to wear a jacket and tie. She then told him that immediately afterwards they had a second appointment at a jewelers to take care of the pressing matter of her engagement ring.
Marc realized he could no longer postpone the inevitable.
On December 28, less than an hour before the photographer was to arrive, Marc ended their relationship.
Miriam was hysterical. “How could you do this to me? You promised! You said when we were both through with school we’d have our wedding! I finally finished in December so I just assumed we’d go forward with our wedding in the spring-just like we’d always planned! Most of the details are already in place.”
Marc observed that Miriam appeared to be more upset about the prospect of no wedding as opposed to no marriage. He struggled to keep calm. “When did we ever talk about a wedding, let alone a marriage? And how could you possibly start making plans without me?”
She tried using guilt to make him come around. “Remember when we had our scare? The pregnancy scare a very long time ago? “You promised to marry me! You swore you wanted me and didn’t care whether there was a baby or not! I’ve planned everything based on your promise.”
Marc tried to reason with her. “Miriam, do you even understand what’s involved in a marriage? That it’s more than a big party and an expensive white dress? There’s responsibility, compromising and fully committing yourself to another person. You’re demonstrating none of these things-and right now you’re acting like a child!”
This last remark caused Miriam to release a guttural scream before she quickly turned and stormed out of the room. The conversation was over.
As Marc left the Lebel home he walked past Miriam’s stunned parents who must have been listening to the entire heated discussion from just outside the room. They said nothing to Marc as he quickly made his way past them. Though he acknowledged them briefly with a nod of his head in a feeble gesture of civility, Marc would have given anything to have been invisible at that moment.
While Miriam Lebel was no longer Marc’s girlfriend or fiancée, she unfortunately was still the only child of his father’s business partner, Gerard Lebel. While Marc was driving home from the Lebel residence, his father had received an irate phone call from Gerard. This would explain Charles Guiro’s less than warm greeting to his son when he arrived home.
Marc had never seen his father this angry.
“How can you do this to our families? Am I supposed to admit to her father, my business partner that you’re a coward and you’ve reneged on promises that you made to his daughter and to his family? This is an embarrassment!
Charles Guiro stopped yelling long enough to take a long look at his son, who seemed to have no answers to his questions. His words took on a deeper intensity. “How do you think this will affect my business, Marc? Did you even think about that? And what about all of the money that the Lebels have already poured out for this extravaganza? They’ve already put down thousands of dollars in deposits for the church and the hotel ballroom for your reception. They’ve hired musicians and bought a greenhouse worth of flowers! And then there’s Miriam’s wedding gown, which is costing a small fortune on its own!”
Marc felt ill. “Miriam said that she had been planning…but I had no idea that things had actually been booked-and paid for!”
His father snapped. “Dammit, Marc! These things take a lot of time, energy and money to facilitate… especially something on a major scale like Gerard Lebel’s daughter’s wedding! That girl has expensive taste and her father will refuse her nothing!”
Charles noticed his son’s blank expression, which infuriated him even more. “You mean to tell me you knew nothing about the plans for your own wedding?”
There was no possible chance of Marc having a reasonable conversation with his father this morning. “Where’s Mother?”
His father grew angrier. “Idiot! I want you to stay away from your mother! Don’t you know how close she and Miriam have become over the years? We’ve both been thinking of her as family-as our daughter in-law! When I delivered this awful news to your mother she was so upset, she cried. You are a disgrace to this family! You’ve upset the Lebels, your own mother and me-and that poor girl! What are you going to do about this?”
Instead of answering his father Marc left the room knowing that any further discussion would be pointless. Marc had always regarded his father as cold and insensitive, with the sole purpose of his life being his business. Marc had often described himself as brooding; a characteristic he inherited from his father and a trait he did not care for despite the fact that it was imbedded into his personality.
Charles Guiro and his oldest son had always been at odds, rarely seeing eye to eye on anything. Charles was a shrewd businessman who saw life in terms of profit and loss, with money being the true measure of a man. He never understood how his eldest son chose the life of an artist instead of taking his place in the successful family business, as Charles had planned.
When Marc revealed his plans to stay in New York after his graduation from NYU, Charles had been incensed and cut him off financially, thinking Marc would return home within a year. Instead, Marc began working steadily as an actor with no plans to come home.
Thankfully Charles’s youngest son, Phillippe, seemed to have an aptitude for business. But his youngest son was still in high school, so Charles would have to wait a few more years before a son joined him in the business. And, as evidenced by Marc, a lot of things could happen to steer Phillippe away from the family business.
For Charles, the only thing that Marc had done right was to become romantically involved with his business partner’s daughter. Charles liked Miriam; she was a smart and determined girl who he assumed would finally bring Marc home to Montreal. But now it appeared that Marc had also ruined this opportunity.
Marc considered going against his father’s wishes and finding his mother to explain why he had to end things with Miriam. He was sure his mother would understand. He felt his mother, Paulette, would at least listen to his reasons for ending his relationship with Miriam, and possibly give him her support. He was sure she would understand that it would be wrong for him to marry a woman he didn’t love. But after careful reconsideration he decided it would be best to leave his mother alone. He loved and respected his mother too much to possibly upset her more and further enrage his father.
Normally, Paulette Guiro was warm and vivacious with a quick sharp wit. In Marc’s eyes she was exactly the opposite of his father, possessing warmth, kindness and generosity. Marc sometimes questioned how a wonderful woman like his mother ended up with his cold and driven father. But for whatever reason his parents adored each other.
The only family member that Marc could talk to that morning was his little sister, Marie-Christine. When he had quietly knocked on her door the twenty-two-year-old told her brother to come in. She had been aware of Marc’s breakup as soon as Miriam’s father called her father and the screaming and yelling began. Marie-Christine sat calmly in her plaid flannel pajamas as she listened to her older brother. She had never seen him this upset.
“I don’t understand how all of this happened! There was never an engagement-only a desperate promise made when we were teenagers. Chrissie, we were different people back then. I don’t even know Miriam anymore! Not this Miriam.”
Marie-Christine was hardly surprised at her brother’s realization. “Remember, Miriam is used to getting whatever she wants, and right now she wants a big expensive wedding. I know the type; a girl’s friends start to get married and then they want their own big party and princess dress. But mostly this type of girl wants the attention! That girl has always wanted to be at the center of everything.” Marie-Christine was making a great deal of sense.
“Why didn’t I see this before?” Marc was dumbfounded.
“Maybe you were blinded by her beauty or seduced by her charms. I’ve seen through her since we were children.” She thought for a moment before she continued. “She’s come to see Mother several times since she’s been home. She’s been talking as if she’s been in contact with you regularly… and that you’ve been onboard with all of her wedding plans. She told us the two of you had decided to start planning the wedding after she visited you in New York last spring.”
Now Marc was angry. “She’s lying! That visit was a disaster. She ended up leaving a day early!”
Marie-Christine seemed relieved. “Things are starting to make sense now. I knew you’d never give her carte blanche on handling all of the details of something so important. You know, when she got home a few weeks ago she wanted to put an engagement announcement in the paper and almost succeeded.”
Thankfully this had not happened. Marc was curious. “What stopped her?”
Marie-Christine smiled. “I stopped her. Miriam and her parents were here for dinner the day after she got back from Paris. She casually mentions that she was planning to send her announcement to the papers. I told her she couldn’t possibly expect to post anything that important without a photograph.”
Miriam had planned to have photographs taken this morning.
“Then I also reminded her she wasn’t wearing a ring and people might talk. I thought Papa was going to kill me, but Mother and her father agreed with me. I had a feeling you weren’t aware of certain details-or any details at all.” She noticed her brother’s bewildered expression. An alarming realization came over her. “Marc? You weren’t aware that she was even planning a wedding, were you?”
Marc shook his head as he tried to make sense of his shambled life. “Not to this extent. She told me she knew what she wanted, but I didn’t know she would take things to extremes and had actually starting making plans. Now everyone is angry. Mother is beside herself and is in tears… and Papa thinks I’m trying to sabotage his business! I can’t believe all of this is based on a promise I made when I was a naive kid. I went along with it then because it seemed like the right thing to do. You have to believe me when I say I never wanted to hurt anyone, especially Miriam. But by trying to be a good dutiful son, I’ve managed to hurt everyone.”
Marc closed his eyes as he unexpectedly remembered the pain he caused Lauren just days ago. The memory of his last few horrible moments with Lauren stirred a new set of intense emotions within him. Suddenly nobody else mattered.
Marie-Christine looked at her brother as he became lost in thought. “Marc, what is it?”
Marc was concerned about Lauren back home in New York. He desperately needed to get back to her and make things right between them. “Chrissie, I don’t think I can do anything here now, other than creating more tension and anger. I need to let things calm down because right now nobody is thinking rationally, including me. I don’t know how I could have let things get so out of control. I don’t know what’s what anymore!”
Marie Christine gave her brother a big hug. “Marc, what can I do to help?
He knew exactly what he had to do. He began pacing and hoping the physical action would help him think more clearly. “Chrissie, I need to get back to New York! What are you doing right now?”
She saw a plan formulating. “I’m taking you to the airport. Marc I’m here for whatever you need.” Marie-Christine was more than happy to help her brother escape the hell Miriam had created. “I can be dressed and ready in less than ten minutes. How long do you need?”
Marc was already in motion. “I can be ready in fifteen.” Marc started to head back to his room but stopped as he took a deep breath. “I suppose I should talk to the folks.”
Marie-Christine thought this could only make a bad situation worse. “No Marc! Let me get you out of here. I’ll talk to Mother and Papa… later, after things have cooled down and I’m sure that you’re on your way back home.”
She looked at her brother and noticed how sad and tired he looked. Marie-Christine had always had a special connection with Marc. There was more going on than he was admitting.
“Marc… is there somebody else in your life?”
Marc leaned heavily into the door frame. “Would you think less of me if there was?” He hoped he still had his sister’s respect and understanding.
“No, of course not. I only want the best for you. And, to be honest, I don’t think Miriam has ever been good for you.” She hugged her brother. “Now hurry and get your things together so I can get you back to New York.”
Less than fifteen minutes later Marc and Marie-Christine were on their way to the airport.
It was shortly after nine-thirty in the morning and Marc’s day had already been very long. But this day was far from over and would only get longer.