[Note from Frolic: Today, we are so excited to welcome author Liz Talley to the site! She’s talking inspiration, seasoned romance and more. Take it away, Liz!]
Are you fighting crow’s feet? Confused about how to read your 401K statement? Trying to figure out how to Roku? (Is that even a verb?!) If so, we’re now besties.
Because we’re the kind of women who are cheerleading our not so adult children to success (yes, they still need your praise…and $25 to hold them over for a few days?), questioning husbands who rub our shoulders every other night (seriously? It’s after 10:00pm and I have to watch the next episode of The Crown) and cleaning up after pets that shred toilet paper rolls under the dining room table (because no one puts the rolls on the actual toilet paper holder).
Are you feeling me? Yeah. I feel me, too.
So what happens when two of these women who also happen to hate each other find out their children are getting married?
Um, a really fun book, that’s what.
The Wedding War happened because I have this insane need to (sometimes) put on clothes and leave my house. This particular insanity manifested itself in the form of exercise with two friends. So on a beautiful day among the rolling hills of north Louisiana while we were walking and talking about our children (because that’s what mamas are always talking about), these words were uttered by me:
“If those two get married, you’re going to have to do a wedding with his mom.”
To which my friend, looking aghast, said, “Oh, Lord!”
And as I plodded along a few more steps, I thought out loud, “That would make a good book.”
My friends nodded, and I said, “I think I want to write that book.”
I love when that kind of idea crashes into me. It’s the best. Immediately my mind tumbled into a story about two different women who had very different ideas about how their children’s wedding should go. My imagination wouldn’t stop with the ideas. There would be cake fights, ripped wedding gowns, tantrums, and a dramatic wedding planner. It would be such fun! But, wait, it couldn’t be all camp and no heart. I had to address real things that women in their late forties had to deal with – waning romance, complicated family situations, starting over, their mother. My idea moved from Dynasty re-run toward Steel Magnolias meets Bride Wars (except with the MOB and MOG).
While the vamp factor had to be there, I also wanted to cut through the layers a woman in her middle years drapes herself in order to put one foot in front of the other, paste on a happy smile, and make it through each day. So the characters Tennyson and Melanie are more than caricatures of the mother of groom and bride respectively. This book isn’t about the wedding. It’s about the women making the wedding happen. It’s about regret, hurt, and hope. It’s about failed friendship, bad decisions, and hope for reconciliation. In other words, it’s about real, awful, beautiful life.
Writing seasoned women has become something I adore. Maybe because it’s where I am in my life, so I understand. I get reaching that age where you stop squeezing into high heels because you actually want to be able to lower yourself to the toilet seat the next morning. And you stop eating a salad with a side of mineral water with your girlfriends and splurge on the cheese fries and a margarita. You work out, but you realize that you’re never going to look like the Pilates instructor with the abs you can actually see (crazy!) so you say things like “I’m just trying to live healthier.” You creak when you get into bed and out of it. And that Victoria’s Secret teddy you bought when you and your honey went on that long weekend hasn’t seen the light of day in a decade, but you keep it “just in case.” Oh, I know what you’re thinking. She’s given up! But this age isn’t about throwing in the towel, it’s more about owning that a gal doesn’t have to try so hard every damn day.
It’s that brilliant?
So, I like writing women who aren’t always trying to find themselves (or a man).
The Wedding War has two characters who are in their late forties. One is an over-the-top thrice divorced, blond who has tons of money, lots of chutzpah, and made a really terrible mistake years ago that broke the friendship she once had with Melanie. Melanie is an organized, stressed mother of two whose has a successful husband who is losing interest in her. She has a rigid, selfish mother, a sister who is grievously ill, and friendships that are a mile wide but only an inch deep. Each woman is struggling with the next phase in her life. Tennyson is starting over, and there is a delicious hot cop on the scene ready to help her, and Melanie is trying to hold her life together. Each needs the other…but she doesn’t know it yet.
This isn’t a romance story, though there’s a bit of that in there as well. It’s a story about finding your soul mate, the person who makes you better, who gives you wings, who pulls you down when you fly too high. It’s about two women (of a certain age) claiming their life and restoring the world and friendship they needed all along.
And like many of my recent books, this book features women who aren’t always nice. I like my heroines a little messy, their crowns a bit crooked, their Spanx a little too tight. Perhaps it’s because when a writer nears the mid-century mark, she tires of telling the same kind of stories about the same kind of women…the same way she tires of pulling on the societal conventions that make her more “presentable.” There’s something freeing in writing women who know who they are and what they want…and get it by the end of the book.
About the Author:
Liz Talley is the USA Today best-selling author of twenty-seven heartwarming stories. A finalist in both RWA’s Golden Heart and Rita Awards, Liz makes her home in Louisiana where she likes to read, volunteer, and avoid housework. Her stories are set in the South where the tea is sweet, the summers are hot, and the porches are wide.
The Wedding War by Liz Talley, out now!
Once upon a time, Melanie Layton and Tennyson O’Rourke were inseparable—but their friends-4ever promises were shattered when an explosive secret was revealed at Mel’s wedding, a secret that destroyed her family. The two haven’t spoken for the past twenty-some-odd years, and they’d be happy if they never crossed paths again.
But now Mel’s daughter and Teeny’s son have fallen in love—and announced their engagement.
Which means the two women must tolerate one another and play nice long enough to plan their children’s dream wedding. From the beginning, they clash. Melanie imagines a classy, elegant event, in keeping with tradition. Teeny’s vision is a bit more extravagant, and thanks to her habit of marrying well, she’s got the cash to plan the flashiest wedding of the season.
Complicating matters are the men in their lives: Tennyson is falling for the wrong guy, and Melanie is trying to hold on to a flailing marriage. Amid the flurry of cake tastings, dress fittings, seating charts, and bridal showers, Mel and Teeny confront their past mistakes—with twenty years of pent-up drama.
When the day of the wedding finally arrives, their friendship might just be something old and something new.