Successful landscape designer and single mother Rose Quinn races to Italy to save her 19-year-old daughter Rachel from making a huge mistake with an older man – the same mistake Rose did at the age of 20. When secrets are revealed on the shores of Lake Como, Rose faces her own lifelong misconceptions about love and the illusion of control with handsome Mateo, relying on her lifelong best friends the Late Bloomers to see her through this transformation.
How do you go from writing about clutter to romance? Well, first you clean off the bed!
(Be glad I didn’t make the switch to comedy.)
All my life I wanted to be a writer, but I never felt like I had a story to tell. When my life became exciting at age 40 – selling everything I owned to travel the world with my husband – I began writing nonfiction. People wondered how we made it happen, how we got the nerve to change our lives, and how we spent so much time together without killing each other.
That’s how clutter – and how to get rid of it – came into the picture. I wrote books with my husband on decluttering, saving money, and getting the nerve to make a big life change. But it’s also when I started writing more about our relationship, the trials and triumphs of achieving a dream together and the lessons we learned along the way. I sprinkled these anecdotes throughout our books, and finally in 2014 we published a book called, Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World.
This book was the bridge for me between nonfiction and fiction. By writing my own story, examining our own motivations and misunderstandings, I was able to envision the greater story of love.
What attracts one person to another?
What stands in the way of love?
How do people solve their problems?
In January 2014 I was renting a house in Morocco, enjoying a cozy dinner with friends who also write for a living. I told them I was looking into romance writing, and we talked long into the night about the unusual stories we’d each tell. Our heroes and heroines were quirky, unconventional types, and we wondered if anyone would read them.
As the night wore on and the gin and tonics were consumed, we made a bet. Each one of us would write and publish our quirky love stories in a year. Going to bed that night, I remember thinking of my heroine. By the next day, she had four friends who also needed books of their own. By week’s end, I had all the stories plotted out.
I was on to something, more fired up about my writing than I’d ever been. And that’s how The Late Bloomers came to be. My heroines are all in their 40s, successful women who value friendship and adventure but just haven’t found lasting love…yet. But they will. And I hope you’ll follow along as they do.
I’m not even finished writing this series and I already have another 5-book series in mind about another group of women, and I’m confident this inspiration will continue for years to come. Because let’s face it, women with experience make the best characters…in life and on the page.
Get your copy of Wild Rose, the first book in The Late Bloomers Series, by clicking here. To get a FREE Late Bloomers short story, sign up for Betsy’s newsletter, a twice-monthly email filled with exotic tales and unconventional ideas about life and love.
In Betsy Talbot’s first book of 40-something heroines traveling the world to find love and success, you’ll meet Wild Rose…who isn’t so wild at first! Find out how she earns her nickname with a sexy Spaniard named Mateo and the support of her best friends, The Late Bloomers.
As Mateo tamped down the grounds, he looked over his shoulder. “I’m impressed that you didn’t order a cappuccino. Every tourist we get wants a cappuccino no matter what time of day, which gives every Italian a heart attack. The unstated rule is no cappuccino after ten o’clock in the morning.” Mateo paused, remembering how well his first cultural lesson had gone with the biscotti, and then grinned. “But you don’t care about those rules, do you?”
He inserted the filter into the espresso machine and placed a small shot glass under the spout. With a press of a button the nectar began flowing, two ounces of dark coffee with a perfect layer of crema on top, reminiscent of a Guinness beer. Mateo had made thousands of espressos in the past five years, and he was a master. He poured the contents into a small white cup, added a packet of sugar to the saucer, and then turned around to place it on the bar in front of Rose with a small spoon.
“It’s an American trait to be a little contrary. We’re a country of individuals, even though we’re mostly doing the same thing. Are you a typical Spaniard?” Rose took a sip of her espresso without adding sugar, making a soft noise of satisfaction after she swallowed.
Was Mama Bear starting to warm up, to engage in an actual conversation? Mateo leaned against the counter toward her and smiled, feeling his confidence return.
“Not if you ask my mamá. I’m a single Spanish man in my early forties living in Italy. She’s waiting on grandchildren.” Mateo realized he’d never thought of himself as a rule-breaker before, even though there was plenty of evidence. He liked that description.
“So what would your mom tell me about you if I asked her?” Rose took another sip, acting as if they’d always been friendly. Being on her good side felt like admission to a secret club, one he was sure he’d get kicked out of very soon. Visions of imposing nuns, ready to snap his knuckles with a ruler when he looked like he was having too much fun at school, came to mind.
“My mamá would complain that I know too much about taking care of myself for my own good, and that’s why I’m single. She’d tell you that I live too far away and that I should be designing buildings in Spain instead of serving coffee in Italy. And then she’d ask if you were single, and if you said yes she’d pretend like she never said any of those things and tell you what a warm and wonderful man I am and that I’d make a great husband and father. This is why I don’t let my mamá fix me up.”
Betsy Talbot is a 40-something traveler and author. When she’s not traveling or penning books about love, adventure, and self-discovery, she is hiking, learning flamenco dancing, and drinking wine in a tiny whitewashed village in Spain.
Betsy is the coauthor of four books with her husband Warren Talbot, and they also co-hosts of the popular weekly podcast, Married with Luggage.
Her latest project is The Late Bloomers Series, a 5-book romance series about women in their 40s. Because women with experience make the best characters…in life and on the page.