In Woodland, California, there is a historic Victorian manse called The Gable Mansion. Built for two brothers, pioneer ranchers Amos and Harvey Gable of the post-Civil War era, it is arguably the greatest example of Victorian architecture in America.
It was part of my evil writing plan to plant my hero, Byron, and his heroine, Roxie, in the same house and watch the tug-of-war over its possession play out between them. Byron is finally recovering his life after tragedy while Roxie is a year divorced and eager to start fresh. Both see the grand Victorian home on Serendipity Lane in Fairhope, Alabama as their chance to do so. When I saw an image of The Gable Mansion, I knew that it (or some close reincarnation of it) was perfect for my characters.
I started to write down the details that Byron and Roxie would see when they first walked in. I could envision it vividly – the sea-glass chandelier in the foyer. The charming trim and chair-rail throughout. The transom windows in the sitting room. The once wood-burning stove and glass-front cabinets in the enviable kitchen. The curving staircase with French Creole-style wrought iron railing and the fleur-de-lis accents throughout. The odd pitch and angles of the upstairs rooms and ceilings and the hidden alcoves sprinkled throughout. Maybe most of all, I could see the stained glass window on the second floor landing blazing with color and refracted light when the sun dips low enough to touch it.
Byron and Roxie’s Victorian might be my own dream house. The master bathroom alone would make me sing – rain showerhead, periwinkle tiles, claw-foot tub? Yes, please! However, this house was imagined in every way for these two lucky people—together. They simply had to come to that understanding themselves.
As I crafted the house on Serendipity for Byron and Roxie, I could see the individual (often opposing) touches each would wish to implement in the interior. Roxie’s lace curtains and purple settee in the living room. Byron’s gym packed wall-to-wall in another and his big-screen television on the master suite armoire. His business brogues kicked off helter-skelter by the welcome mat. Her apron on a hook by the pantry door. A bottle of wine left to breathe on the prep counter for her. A six-pack of Stella Artois in the fridge for him….
More than I enjoyed watching their dreams for the Victorian come to life and even coalesce, I’m moved by how the eternal optimist and the trusty cynic not only learned to cohabitate but realize what the house really represents. They learn what “home” means, whether it’s a place, an ideal, a thing or another soul.
Writing Byron and Roxie’s story was a pleasure. I love how their house came to life and how, through it, they came to understand what living really means. I hope you enjoy WOOING THE WEDDING PLANNER. Happy reading!
About the Author
Amber Leigh Williams is a Harlequin romance writer who lives on the US Gulf Coast. She lives for beach days, the smell of real books, and spending time with her husband and their two young children. When she’s not keeping up with rambunctious little ones (and two large dogs), she can usually be found reading a good book or indulging her inner foodie. Amber is represented by the D4EO Literary Agency.
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No more wedding marches for her!
Wedding planner Roxie Honeycutt can make happy-ever-after come true for anyone except herself. Freshly divorced and done with love, she’s okay with watching clients walk down the aisle. What’s not okay? Sharing a charming Victorian house with accountant Byron Strong. He’s frustratingly sexy and determined to keep her confused.
Roxie thought Byron’s expertise was numbers, yet somehow he sees her for who she really is. Somehow he understands the hurt she hides behind a trademark smile. Suddenly romance is tempting again, even if it means risking another heartbreak.