Throughout my Cates Brothers Series every so often a reader/reviewer will comment or ponder why in the world I picked the name “Climax” to set my small town series in. I actually have a list of reasons –not necessarily good reasons, lol– but reasons for choosing Climax. Here we go…
1.Climax happens to be an actual town in NC within a few hours of where I live. I didn’t know that until my husband and I got lost driving home from looking for a couch in High Point. (FYI: we didn’t find a couch we could agree on.) We passed the sign for Climax and it made me smile. Yes, I’m easily amused. I did a bit of research and it turns out almost every state has a city/town named Climax. So I liked the idea that my fictional town of Climax was, in theory, a town within driving distance of every reader.
2. The first book in the series, BRINGING DELANEY HOME, touches on some serious issues. My heroine, an army nurse, lost a foot while serving in Afghanistan, and after almost a year of surgeries and therapy she’s given up. Serious stuff. But in between some serious stuff there’s quirky humor. My thinking was naming the town Climax would give a nod to that humor. You know, like give the reader a hint that the book wasn’t going to be dark and angsty. Nothing wrong with dark and angsty. Sometimes that’s the perfect type of read. But I didn’t want a reader to pick up DELANEY expecting dark and angsty and being surprised/disappointed/confused with the quirky humor. Climax is quirky, right?
For example, the first time the hero, Quinn, sees Delaney in eight years, she’s given up on her recovery and beyond tipsy. Here’s part of that first conversation…
Delaney scrubbed her hands over her face and shook her head. “Funny how one second can change your life, you know? Boom. So now I want to be left alone. Why won’t Greer understand that?”
“She’s worried about you.”
“I told her I was fine.”
“You don’t look fine.” Quinn watched the tears run silently down her face, realizing in all the years he’d known Delaney he’d never seen her cry before.
“Of course I’m not fine. My life makes no sense anymore. And I’m tired of trying to make it make sense, you know? I just want to be left alone. That’s all.”
“Yes?” She sniffed and blinked tear-filled eyes up to his face.
“It’s time to come home. Greer sent me to get you.” He used the bottom of his shirt to finish wiping her tears away.
She looked up at him in confusion. “One of the many Cates brothers. In high school, you couldn’t sneeze without spraying a Cates brother. One of you was always at the principal’s office. Was that you? You look like the bad boy of the bunch.”
Quinn quirked an eyebrow at her, wondering what game she was playing. She damn well knew who he was. “No, that was Tynan.”
“The one who cheated off my chemistry tests?”
“The one who dated the student teacher?”
“What? Seriously? Had to be Tynan.”
She studied him, tilting her head different angles. “Hmmm, not Tynan, and not the super hot one, or that other one the girls nicknamed Mr. Darcy, and definitely not old what’s-his-name. That makes you the one who dated all those perky cheerleaders. Quinlan.” She poked him in the chest with her finger.
“Guilty.” He stood up and took a step back, rubbing his chest where she’d poked him.
“You don’t say. Of what?”
“Nothing.” Guilty of being stupid if he let her touch get to him again. He’d gotten over her five years ago. He was not taking that road again.
“Don’t poker up on me now. Go ahead and confess. It’s a few years too late, but . . . No? Fine. I’ll go first. I confess I’m pretty sure I made out with one of you Cates boys, but I’m not sure which one.”
Quinn crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “How could you not be sure which one of us you made out with?”
“Well, you all looked a lot alike. You know, tall, square jaw, and dark hair. You know what you needed? Name tags. If you Cates brothers had worn name tags, then I’d remember which one.”
Quinn grunted. “I think I might be insulted.”
“Why? Was it you?” She stared at his lips as if this would reveal the truth.
“I don’t kiss and tell.”
“See, you don’t even know. I told you y’all needed name tags.”
“I’d say you need some more coffee.”
Delaney looked around the floor at all the wineglasses and coffee cups lined up. “Oh, good gravy, I know what I need more than coffee.”
“The bathroom. Help me up,” Delaney said. “No! Do. Not. Touch. The. Legs. Just grab my hands and pull.”
Quinn gently pulled her up by her hands. He kept holding on to her while she swayed precariously.
“Okey dokey. Step out of the way, Great Wall of China.” She looked up at him as she pushed against his chest. “Someone’s been working out.”
3. I liked adding in a local connection–although I didn’t base any of my fictional town on the actual town. In fact, I sort of picked it up and moved it about an hour south.
4. BRINGING DELANEY HOME was the first romance book I wrote. When I wrote it I was just writing one book. So Climax, NC for one book was an easy decision. I didn’t dream back then that my Cates Brothers could be a series. I’m blessed that my editor and publisher loved the Cates brothers enough to let me tell all their stories.
But…I’ve had a small subplot running through each of the Cates Brothers’ books about an adorable kid, Henry Lee, who’s looking for a mom and a wife for his widowed dad, Hawk Savage. As the Cates Brothers series came to a close, I knew I wanted to wrap that story up for readers of the series and a Christmas novella sounded perfect. But now there are lovely unsuspecting readers choosing that book, WANTED: MOM FOR CHRISTMAS because they love Christmas stories and have never read a Cates Brother book looking side-eyed at a Christmas in Climax book. I get it. It’s like the perfect title for a steamy read, right? LOL. So, maybe if I’d planned out the whole series ahead of time down to the holiday novella, I might have chosen a different name. Or not.
And that is the story behind my small town Climax, NC setting and the Cates Brothers Series.
To celebrate the release of WANTED: MOM FOR CHRISTMAS in 21 days I’m running a series of Goodreads giveaways for the previous books in the series. First up is a giveaway for 1 *signed copy* of COULD THIS BE LOVE? Here’s the link: