One night they can’t forget…
Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.
One love they can’t ignore…
Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.
…And only one chance to get things right
I finished ONE & ONLY in one day because it was SO GOOD. Look out for my review later this weekend (or Monday – sorry, it’s my birthday weekend, so I’m out having fun!).
Anyway, here’s Viv/Diana on the complicated Other Woman scenario in this book. I know some of you aren’t huge fans of love triangles or cheating, but I promise you, this book does it justice…and gives a sneak peek at Canton #2!
THE OTHER WOMAN: or, Why Hannah’s Not a Bitch by Viv Daniels
My new book, ONE & ONLY, is about Tess, the secret daughter of a rich man and his long-term mistress, and Dylan, who is Tess’s long-lost first love. But there’s another major player in the story: Hannah Swift, who is Tess’s legitimate half-sister…and Dylan’s girlfriend.
While developing Hannah’s character, I thought about how easy it would be to make her into the proverbial “bad girl”, the bitchy other woman who CLEARLY doesn’t deserve the affections of our hero. I think it’s sad that as consumers of stories, we’re conditioned to expect those types of characters from childhood. The icy blonde Baroness who very nearly swipes Captain Von Trapp from Maria, the evil Vivian who promises to thwart the plans of two adorable, parent-trapping twins. Heck, even the vicious sea witch Ursula decides cursing Ariel isn’t enough, and shapeshifts into hot lady to steal the dashing Prince Eric before he can “kiss the girl.” (And those are just things I watched before I was ten.)
With Hannah, I thought it was too easy to make her a bitch. First of all, I didn’t like the idea of Dylan dating someone like that. He’s not the kind of guy who dates horrible people. He likes nice, fun girls. The fact that he’s with someone nice and fun and worthy of him actually makes him more worthy of Tess. He has good judgement in women. Their relationship is more worth rooting for because it’s not as if she’s saving him from the no-brainer of “of course he should dump that bitch and be with the heroine”. I mean, if those mean girls are such bad news, then our heroes should leave them—even if they’re the last girls on Earth. It is more than just the simple equation of Tess > Hannah. It becomes about true love. Tess > Hannah for Dylan.
The other reason I thought it was important that Hannah be a character you could root for is because it highlights one of Tess’s greatest issues. Her father’s secrets have kept her from forming a relationship with her own sister. That’s a terrible situation, and to illustrate how tough it’s been for her, I had to make Hannah someone that Tess would want to get to know, someone who will make the reader think, “Yeah, you know what? It sucks that they can’t be like real sisters or even real friends. Because they could both benefit from that relationship being a part of their lives. Tess’s two best friends are sisters, but she can never know her own.
And, funny story: in making Hannah someone that my main characters would like, I fell for her, too. I wanted to know more about her. Maybe Dylan wasn’t her true love, but I wanted to know who was. I wanted to know how she would deal with her family’s secrets and her own angst and failures and hopes and dreams.
So I’m giving Hannah her own story. SWEET & WILD will be published next spring. One rule of writing is to think of every character as the hero in their own story. By making Hannah someone who fit into the world of ONE & ONLY, I made her a worthy heroine in her own right.
Thanks, Viv! Doesn’t O&O sound awesome? (Psst…it IS). And Viv is giving away an awesome One & Only swag pack including a One & Only bookmark, an assortment of gifts and books from her and other new adult authors, and a One & Only charm!