Although I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I Love You to Death was the first thing I wrote that I actually seriously committed to. It was born out of two incidents, the first being a random thought that struck me on the way to buy lunch. That thought became Sam’s letter to Ash and it got me thinking about people dying and what it would do to you if you thought it was all your fault. Imagine having to go through the stages of grief over and over again. The second was making a friend a mixed tape. This was around the time of Adele and Christina Perri and their amazing power ballads about having your heart ripped out by some guy. My friend made the comment that no songs like this are ever written by men. I disagreed and proceeded to make her a mixed tape to prove it. Oh boy, did that create trouble! Well actually, it created Luke and when it did, he just would not leave me alone. That man occupied my head for months and months and because of him, I got to thinking about all of the stages of love instead. But it also created some more inspiration for the story (the sexy rock star) and a playlist too, which features some of my most favourite songs and artists. So that’s how the book got started. Finishing it was a lot harder…writer’s block and a fear of actually showing it to people meant I had to man up and work hard. But, pretty much a year to the day after I started writing it, I hit publish and the book was done.
As I was writing I Love You to Death, I not only wrote a lot of scenes from Luke’s POV, I also started thinking about, and half-writing, Jared & Mia’s story too. I did this mainly because I really wanted to get inside Luke’s head for some of the pivotal scenes in I Love You to Death, and also because I always knew Mia & Jared had their own story to tell. All of these scenes changed a lot over time, both to fit in with what I wrote in I Love You to Death and also because some things just didn’t work for Luke or Mia & Jared. As an example, in the first draft of I Love You to Death, Mia and Jared were never a former couple, just two people attracted to each other, who had never acted on it. Writing parts of their book and Luke’s at the same time made it clear that this wasn’t going to work, so I changed things. Once I finished I Love You to Death, I knew I was going to continue the series as a trilogy, I just had to work out which book came next. I thought it was Luke’s, but ultimately it was Mia & Jared’s because I felt they needed their happy ending before I continue Luke’s story. So the next book was Stubborn Love and then, finishing out the series, I Love You, Always. The books are a definite series and even though Stubborn Love is called a “companion novel”, all three books have overlapping characters, events and timelines, so I’d recommend reading them in order. As far as I can tell, that’s the end of these characters for now.