Today, as part of my new Guest Author Series, I am highlighting the work of Dianne Harman. Here is the scoop on Tea Party Teddy by Dianne Harman:
THE MAKING OF TEA PARTY TEDDY
My husband was a California State Senator and I spent the majority of twelve years living in
the capital of the state. Every night there were numerous receptions and
fundraisers. I remember a lobbyist telling me she had fifteen fundraisers to
attend that evening alone! The lobbyists well knew the perils of eating and
drinking too much at events. The food is generally appetizers that are salty
and fried – they play well against alcohol. But the interesting thing is that
while the lobbyists were very careful about what they ate and drank; to new
Legislators it was like a candy store. They could have about anything they
wanted and no one would tell them they couldn’t. Many a Legislator was known
for imbibing a little too freely at these events. Sacramento, California
Tea Party Teddy came about because of two dinners my husband and I attended. Serendipitously, I was seated next to the most biased, bigoted person I had ever met. He was a Legislator and he was my seatmate two nights in a row. I kept wondering how a man like that could be elected, and then became even more interested in the story about him that began to form in my mind.
What caused him to be so biased? What was his wife like? What was his home life like? Did he have children? I’d heard rumors that he was succumbing to the powers of the office – the thinking in
is “I didn’t make the rules, but I can play by them.” Sacramento
Divorces were pretty common among Legislators. It may be a simplistic answer as to why there were so many divorces, but I knew a lot of legislators who came to the capitol full of dreams of the good works they planned on doing. After a few years they started believing they were as fabulous as people told them they were. What they didn’t take into account was that the people telling them how fabulous they were generally wanted something from them. I often wondered how the families of these people dealt with the egos that returned to them when Session was over on Thursday only to leave again the following week .And so Teddy was born.
I know that many authors carefully plan out their books, how many chapters will be in it, outlines for each chapter, and the final ending. Writing doesn’t work that way for me.
When I write I have a general idea, actually more of an idea what will happen to a few characters, and then hey dictate how the book will be written. So it was with Teddy. The more I wrote about him, the more I wondered why his wife would stay with him. He was consumed with getting rid of all the illegal immigrants and anyone else associated with them. And at what point would his wife realize she was simply an accessory? And when she found out she was just an accessory, how would she handle it? What would she do? Would she leave him? A lot of wives stay; they like being the wife of an “in” politician.
Teddy’s wife told me she needed romance in her life. I agreed with her. And how fitting it would be if the romance was with the founder of the Republicans for Latinos! The ending came about because the characters decided that’s what had to happen. I love it when I get to read a book while I’m writing it. I would have missed out on a wonderful experience if I’d carefully scripted it and stuck to it! I love the romance that develops between Nina and Bob and knowing what I know of politicians, a lot of women would be very amenable to having someone like Bob pay attention to them. And yes, there is a happy ending, a prerequisite in the romance genre!
There’s such a thing called “Beta readers.” These are people who read the rough draft of a book and give the author feedback. My Beta readers told me a couple of things: (1) I needed to make it even clearer just how despicable Teddy was and so there is a Cinco de Mayo scene which shows how intense his hatred is of the illegal immigrants and by extension, Latinos; (2) I needed to tone down the book. This person was afraid I’d get sued. (A good friend of mine thought that would be terrific; what great publicity for the book, but she wouldn’t be paying the attorneys’ fees!) I took out the innuendos and rumors. I knew that so-and-so was having an affair with so-and-so, but it hadn’t been made public, so I eliminated those scenes.
I’ve been asked if the novel is a “roman á clef.” Yes, there are certainly people in it that will be recognized, but what they did was publicly well-documented. The names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!
I never set out to write a series, but the Beta readers wanted to know what was going to happen after the book ended. The same thing happened in my first novel, Blue Coyote Motel. Everyone wanted to know what happened to Maria. The Teddy Saga will encompass three novels, Teddy and two more. The second is being edited and I’m writing the third. The next two novels in the Blue Coyote series have been written and will be out in the next few months. And yes, romance is alive and well!
Want to know more about Dianne Harman and her work? Check out her links below: