Behind the Pen: Where I Wanna Be sequel
Whenever I start writing about Where I Wanna Be, the third story in the D’Amato Brothers series, I always have a smile on my face. The smile is because of a few reasons: 1) I quickly remember the “firestorm” of sorts that book had when it was released; 2) the ongoing debate on whether I should’ve even wrote the book; 3) people’s reactions to the book and about themselves.
It’s all comical to me.
When I sat down to write the first book, I knew the book was going to be controversial. After all, how many romance novels are there with the hero leaving the heroine for the mistress? But I wanted to take it a step further. In my belief, when people cheat, it’s never a black/white issue. There’s always some shade of grey. Is it always the cheater’s fault? Did the cheatee play a role? What about the third-party?
That was the intention and purpose of WIWB. I honestly do believe too many people were focused on what Eli did and they missed the point of the story, which was about temptation and forgiveness, because their judgment was too clouded on hating the characters and in some special snowflakes, the author.
The reaction to the story was really interesting. There were two camps – either you loved it or you hated it. Many people praised on how real the story was and applauded that I took that big of a risk in I/R romance. Some people, however, had other strong feelings. I had people leave some interesting reviews saying it wasn’t a romance while others channeled their second careers as members of Dionne Warwick’s Psychic Friends network because they could predict the sequel. (Newsflash: you can’t predict something that isn’t written yet.) I had people intentionally leave bad reviews because the story reminded them of someone they knew or worse yet, themselves. I can’t really fault the latter. After all, if someone held a full-length mirror to myself and pointed out my flaws, well, I probably wouldn’t like that person too much, neither.
I wrote a while back that as a society, we accept cheating based on who the participants are and the situations surrounding said cheating. After all, a show like Scandal wouldn’t have so many hardcore Fitz/Olivia fans if people didn’t accept them. A friend and I went back and forth on this very issue and she told me that people accept their relationship because of how Mellie is, to which I only had one reply:
But Mellie is still Fitz’s wife, right? That means he’s cheating on her, correct? But he gets a pass because he’s gorgeous, powerful, and likes a sista?
I often hear that certain incidences of infidelity are okay because one of the parties is in a bad situation. So, that makes it all better? Rather than them just leave and move on, they have to cheat and you’re perfectly okay with that?
No one wants to admit that. No one wants to admit that they’re okay with infidelity depending on the circumstances. Case in point – why is Bill Clinton still respected but John Edwards is looked at as a pariah? They both did the same thing but the circumstances were different. There are many other examples and you could probably think of quite a few.
When a spouse steps out, a lot of people will always say, ‘Oh, I’ll leave him!’ ‘I’ll leave her!’ ‘That’ll be the end of it!’ but how often does that happen? Think about all of the people you know, including yourself, that have been cheated on. Did you forgive? Or was it a, ‘Hit the door and do not look back’ situation? Chances are, you forgave and I bet there were times you wondered if you should’ve done that.
The detractors were so focused on Eli stepping out on Faith, that they didn’t look at his character as a man who was struggling with always being the good son and wondering what would’ve happened if he turned left instead of right. This was someone who struggled with the thought of cheating on his wife and if you were to go back to the story, even after Eli and Simone were established as a couple, Eli never did feel entirely comfortable with her. I did get a feeling of, ‘He should’ve just sucked it up and dealt with it’ vibe from a few people as if they have never heard of someone having a midlife crisis. What happens when you do everything in the order you’re supposed to do it and you wake up one morning just to realize you missed out on a chance?
Those who didn’t like Simone can even admit she struggled with being Eli’s other woman and that was a role she didn’t want to play.
The criticism of Faith’s character was interesting because as I laughed at some of the reaction (really, I did), I wondered about the women who were so harsh on Faith, as if they were mature and perfect angels throughout their relationships. Faith is a character with real emotions. Yes, she’s going to throw a fit over nothing sometimes. Yes, she’s going to be immature. Yes, she’s going to be confused.
That’s called being human. You can be the most put-together woman on the planet but every so often, you’ll make a decision that will question your sanity. We all do it. Hell, I still do it and I’m married.
The WIWB sequel deals with the aftermath of what happened. The four years between the parties and everything that took place. In the original story, everything was wrapped up tightly in a nice little bow but a lot has happened since then.
It is assumed Faith just took back Eli with no hesitation but did she really?
What is Simone’s real intention of coming back into the picture?
Is Eli really Elena’s father?
It’s also assumed Eli, Jr. is Eli’s son…but really?
WIWB wasn’t supposed to be a feel-good, lovey-dovey story. It was supposed to make you think, wonder, and feel about what happened. What if your husband’s mistress had a baby? How would you react? As the mistress, how would you feel that you would always come second to the man you’ve wanted? At what point is enough is enough? I’m sure some of you were Eli, Faith, and Simone at some point in your lives or know someone who played those roles.
The purpose of this post isn’t to convince you to do anything. As an author, I often have people assume they know what I’m doing or what my intentions are, without actually talking to me. Quite a few read more into what I’m saying, thinking I meant X, when I was really referring to A. Reading my blog post and speaking with me directly are two different things and please don’t treat them as the same. I have spoken to several of you, via private conversations on Facebook or by e-mail, regarding this book whether you hated it, loved it, or had many questions about it, and we’ve had very mature and adult dialogues about it.
If you have any questions or want to talk to me in-depth about anything, I do encourage you to e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sequel is scheduled to be out this winter. I hope to start working on it this weekend. I don’t know how long it’ll be; the first story was over 120K words. The sequel might be that long or it might be shorter. I will say, it’ll be one for the record books.
And there you have it,