#PitchWars Blog Hop – Why I Wrote CALAMITY

This post is part of a blog hop for #PitchWars and will be hosted by the fearless C.M. Franklin on her blog. Follow the links at the bottom of this post to visit the other authors in this blog hop.

The first time someone asked me why I wrote Calamity, I answered without thinking, “Because it pleased me to do so.” And that’s true. I didn’t set out to write the Great American Novel or to criticize some aspect of the human race. I simply wanted to entertain myself with the hope that I could produce something that might entertain others.

So the question I’ll answer is, “What inspired me to write Calamity?”

I had been re-re-reworking my last MS in that clutchy way we do, occasionally setting it aside to follow an errant idea or other, then coming back again to find ways to get back into that world I had become so comfortable in. My Scrivener work area is a graveyard of half-told tales, and I started to worry I’d never have another compelling idea. That’s when I realized I needed to stop writing and start reading.

My stack of books waiting to be read never diminishes. It just topples over occasionally. Several books on my shelf — or more accurately on TOP of my bookshelf — were written by a close friend. I got them all at one time but didn’t read them in one sitting. The last book of four sat unopened with a lovely inscription on the inner flap that reads, “May the cards always be in your favor.” It’s a book about gambling, and sex, and love, and sex. Mostly gambling.

At the start of the novel, Shuffle Up and Deal by Susan DiPlacido, our intrepid heroine, a poker player mind you, suffers a streak of terrible luck. Not just with the cards but with everything else. And this all plays out in such a way that she’s at her absolute worst at the exact moment she first meets that famous poker player she has a legendary crush on. As it goes in romance novels, the heartthrob not only overlooks her embarrassing entrance into his life, he’s captivated by this apparent nut job of a girl. And — spoiler alert  — things work out just fine.

After reading that, I began to imagine a scenario where embarrassing snafus don’t just fail to hinder the romance but inadvertently work in favor of landing Mr. Me Love You Long Time. Then my evil thoughts took it to eleven. What if snagging the heartthrob turns out to be just one more calamitous misfortune for our unlucky heroine. And what if — spoiler alert  — things don’t work out just fine? Or at least not in the way she planned.

I knew I had to write that book.

Thus began my long slow torture of poor Mallory, the girl whose name literally means “the unlucky one.”

Carleen Karanovic: HOPE ON A FEATHER

Heather Truett: RENASCENCE

Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND

Susan Bickford: FRAMED

Rachel Sarah: RULES FOR RUNNING AWAY

Amanda Rawson Hill: GRIMM AND BEAR IT

Charlotte Gruber: CODE OF SILENCE

Kip Wilson: THE MOST DAZZLING GIRL IN BERLIN

Nikki Roberti: THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO-SHOES

Anna Patel: EXODUS

A. Reynolds: LE CIRQUE DU LITERATI

Susan Crispell: WISHES TO NOWHERE

Ron Walters: THE GOLEM INITIATIVE

Rosalyn Eves: THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION

Ashley Poston: HEART OF IRON

Mara Rutherford: WINTERSOUL

Janet Walden-West: Damned If She Do

Kazul Wolf: SUMMER THUNDER

D. Grimm: WITCHER

Kelli Newby: THORNVAAL

Tara Sim: TIMEKEEPER

Elliah Terry: POCKET FULL OF POPPIES

Alessa Hinlo: THE HONEST THIEF

Rachel Horwitz: THE BOOTLEGGER’S BIBLE

Whitney Taylor: DEFINITIONS OF INDEFINABLE THINGS

Lyra Selene: REVERIE

Natalie Williamson: SET IN STONE

Robin Lemke: THE DANCE OF THE PALMS

Stephanie Herman: CLIFF WITH NO EDGE

Shannon Cooley: A FROG, A WHISTLE, AND A VIAL OF SAND

Ruth Anne Snow: THE GIRLS OF MARCH

Elizabeth Dimit: PHOEBE FRANZ’S GUIDE TO PASSPORTS, PAGEANTS, & PARENTAL DISASTERS

Gwen C. Katz: AMONG THE RED STARS

Jennifer Hawkins: FALSE START

Kelly DeVos: THE WHITE LEHUA

Gina Denny: SANDS OF IMMORTALITY

Natasha M. Heck: FOLLOW THE MOON

Esher Hogan – Walking After Midnight

D.A. Mages: THE MEMORY OF OBJECTS

Kirsten Squires: INCREPTO

23 Responses

  1. Kip Wilson
    Kip Wilson November 2, 2014 at 9:01 am | | Reply

    Unluckiness and misfortune make the best novels! I love finding inspirations in other stories too, and asking “What if???” Good luck with CALAMITY!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 11:06 am | | Reply

      Thank you!

  2. eachstaraworld
    eachstaraworld November 2, 2014 at 11:05 am | | Reply

    I love the fact that you’ve used unluckiness as the premise for your book, with a touch of serendipity. Best of luck with it!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 11:06 am | | Reply

      Thank you!

  3. Susan J. Bickford
    Susan J. Bickford November 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm | | Reply

    This sounds like my kind of book! “I simply wanted to entertain myself with the hope that I could produce something that might entertain others.” <<me, too!! Hope I get to read this one day!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm | | Reply

      Thanks Susan. And high five for entertainment!

  4. aellepatel
    aellepatel November 2, 2014 at 12:29 pm | | Reply

    CALAMITY sounds awesome! I wish you luck in Pitch Wars! 🙂

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm | | Reply

      Thank you!

  5. ronwaltersjr77
    ronwaltersjr77 November 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    Is your next book going to be Zen and the Art of Torturing the Hell out of Your Characters? Because it should be. Calamity sounds like a crazy ride. Can’t wait to read it!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm | | Reply

      Ha ha! That’s awesome.

  6. tracielmartin
    tracielmartin November 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm | | Reply

    “Because it pleased me to do so.” You’re awesome! This sounds like a fun read. Best of luck!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 2, 2014 at 7:13 pm | | Reply

      Thanks! Good luck to you too!

  7. Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins November 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm | | Reply

    You know I want to read this like yesterday. I’ve been telling you that since we started this wild ride on critique forums. 🙂

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 3, 2014 at 8:06 am | | Reply

      We’re going to have to swap novels sometime. I’m dying to read yours.

  8. madamerubies
    madamerubies November 3, 2014 at 10:32 am | | Reply

    I’m not a romance novel person, but I like the idea of this… the un-happy-happy ending. Sounds very intriguing.

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 3, 2014 at 11:36 am | | Reply

      Thanks and good luck!

  9. C. M. Franklin
    C. M. Franklin November 3, 2014 at 11:45 am | | Reply

    Not only do I love the name Mallory, but I also suffer from bad luck syndrome. This is a book I’d race to read.

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 3, 2014 at 12:25 pm | | Reply

      I love the name Mallory too. And don’t we all suffer from bad luck sometimes?

  10. Natalie Williamson
    Natalie Williamson November 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm | | Reply

    Um, I can’t freaking wait to read this! Love your MC’s name–so perfect!

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 3, 2014 at 10:27 pm | | Reply

      Thanks Natalie! I posted on your blog why I want to read yours too.

  11. Rosalyn
    Rosalyn November 3, 2014 at 9:27 pm | | Reply

    This sounds awesome. And I love the extra detail about her name.

    1. Mary Ann Nicholson
      Mary Ann Nicholson November 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm | | Reply

      Thanks so much Rosalyn!

  12. Elliah Terry
    Elliah Terry November 6, 2014 at 12:59 am | | Reply

    I LOVE that you wrote your novel because it pleased you to do so! And I love the name Mallory, it was actually on one of my baby name lists a few years ago for my youngest. (I guess now I’m kinda glad we didn’t end up going with it?) 🙂

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