by Trish Milburn
It's Friday. Time to party! Not only is it the beginning of the weekend, but it's time to celebrate my newest release with an examination of the do-over. No, I'm not talking about the cry kids make when a game doesn't go their way and they want to start it over again. I'm talking about starting over in a bigger way. Whether it's a makeover of one's self or home, or starting an entirely new life, I'm a fan of the clean slate.
My husband recently made the observation that lots of my stories are about people who have bad pasts. True, but I love to show that no matter what someone has gone through, there's the possibility of starting over and creating a brighter future. In my Harlequin American that released this week, Her Very Own Family, Audrey York arrives in tiny Willow Glen, Tennessee, with the aim of starting her life over. She’s leaving behind a fast-paced part of her life that ended in a scandal not of her making but which scarred her nonetheless. The perfect balm for her battered soul presents itself when she buys an old gristmill and undertakes the renovation necessary to turn it into a restaurant. What she doesn’t expect is to befriend an older neighbor who insists on helping her and then fighting the temptation his son presents when he joins the renovation too. While she enjoys her time with Brady Witt and his father, Nelson, she fears that her old life will catch up with her and shatter this new life like it did the old.
I guess deep down this theme calls to me because I, like so many people, had a childhood that wasn't all light and roses. The idea of reinventing myself held immense appeal, and that started the moment I left for college. I even changed the version of my name I used. Up until my high school graduation, everyone knew me as Patricia. But once I stepped onto my college campus, I adopted the name Trish. Now, it sounds weird to hear someone call me Patricia because I've been Trish longer. And if anyone ever calls me Pat, they are related to me. I hate that name, but what can you do? They've been calling me that for nearly 39 years.
I also like makeovers of other kinds. I can't tell you how many times I've been flipping channels and been sucked into the universe that is known as What Not to Wear. It's amazing what the right clothes and a new hairdo can do for a person. And it's not just looks; it's self-confidence that improves.
It should come as no surprise, now, that I'm a big fan of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I honestly think there hasn't been an episode during which I didn't cry. The families' stories of loss and struggle are heartbreaking, and that makes their joy at receiving a new dream home all that more satisfying. I don't know these people, but I'm so happy for them as the bus driver "moves that bus" and they see their new home for the first time. This season, the show has been honoring heroes of all kinds, and the season finale is this Sunday night. It's a two-hour episode, which means I'll just end up crying twice as much.
In amongst the emotions, however, I get to see some really cool interior design. I don't want them to come tear my house down, but it sure would be cool to go on vacation for a week and come back to an entirely new interior. :)
It was Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that actually inspired the hero, Brady Witt, in Her Very Own Family -- both his carpentry skills and his looks. Take a look at the cover of the book and see if you can see the resemblance to show designer Rib Hillis.
How about you? Do you like makeover shows? Which ones? Why? Ever had a makeover yourself? How did it make you feel? Anyone else an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition fan?
One commenter will win a copy of Her Very Own Family.