Author: Celia Bonaduce
Published: September 19th, 2013 by Kensington Publishing
Word Count: approx. 75,000
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Content Warning: None
Erinn Wolf needs to reinvent herself. A once celebrated playwright turned photographer, she’s almost broke, a little lonely, and tired of her sister’s constant worry. When a job on a reality TV show falls into her lap, she’s thrilled to be making a paycheck–and when a hot Italian actor named Massimo rents her guesthouse, she’s certain her life is getting a romantic subplot. But with the director, brash, gorgeous young Jude, dogging her every step, she can’t help but look at herself through his lens–and wonder if she’s been reading the wrong script all along…
“You’ve made your point. Now let’s go,” Jude said, trying to take the camera case out of her hands.
“Oh? And exactly what is my point?”
“That you’re the teacher’s pet…the good little camera girl who won’t let a blizzard stop her. Now let’s get out of here!”
The wind picked up and Erinn almost lost her balance. She realized that the ground was starting to freeze underneath them. She admitted to herself that there was no point in being out – she’d never get a shot worth having, even if they didn’t freeze to death.
“When defeat is inevitable, it is wisest to yield,” Erinn yelled to Jude.
“Whatever, dude. Let’s bounce.”
Jude threw the gear in the back and felt his way to the passenger side. They both got in and Erinn started the car. She hoped Jude would stay quiet. She was feeling so shaky. Not from the cold, but from the realization that she was not being a good producer. To put it in Jude’s vernacular, she sucked!
Erinn tried to pull out onto the road, but the wheels just spun on the ice. Erinn and Jude looked at each other.
“Are we stuck?” Jude asked.
“We can’t be,” Erinn said. “This is an SUV. It must be four wheel drive.”
“Not necessarily,” Jude said. “Do you see any kind of lever or button or anything that would let you switch to four wheel drive?”
“No. There isn’t anything. Are we doomed?”
“Doomed? Jesus, Erinn. You are a glass empty kind of girl, aren’t ya?”
“Actually, I’m a “the glass is the wrong size” kind of girl…woman…but I think that’s beside the point right now. What should I do?”
“Start rocking the car. Put it in first, then reverse, then first, then reverse. Then give it a little gas and see if we can get out of this.”
Erinn started shifting gears and made a mental note. Next time, she wouldn’t settle for anything less than an SUV with four wheel drive.
Miraculously, the car shot forward. Erinn gasped and Jude slapped her on the shoulder approvingly. Erinn turned slightly towards what she hoped was the road…it was so covered in snow that she couldn’t actually see a road, but it must be there. Making sure no one was coming – fat chance, she thought – she started inching the Explorer through the ice and snow. She was creeping forward, when the car became completely unresponsive and started sliding towards the right. Pushing the gas did nothing. Turning the steering wheel did nothing.
“Oh, no,” Erinn said.
“The car has lost traction. We’re skating on the ice.”
Erinn frantically turned the wheel to right and then to the left. The car continued to slide.
“Stay cool, Erinn. We’re on flat ground. Nothing can happen. Just chill.”
Erinn tried to relax, but the car kept sliding sideways, the weight of the vehicle causing it to pick up speed. Clearly, they weren’t on completely flat ground or the SUV wouldn’t be hurling itself sideways, but Erinn decided now was not the time to argue this point.
Erinn felt the vehicle tipping. She was jolted violently sideways and caught, suspended, by the seatbelt. She craned her neck to look at Jude, who was looking UP at her from the passenger seat. The SUV was completely on its side, like a gigantic dead beast.
“Now, we’re doomed,” he said.
Erinn tried without success to free herself from the seatbelt. With every gyration, the belt tightened around her neck. She tried to hold still. She craned her neck and watched Jude brace himself against the passenger door with his right arm. This gave his seatbelt some slack and he was able to release the lever. He thudded against the passenger door, but at least he was free. Erinn felt her breastbone pressing into the seatbelt as she hung sideways. She watched as Jude twisted himself around, crablike, and faced her. She looked into his eyes.
“The camera case,” she said.
Jude sat back on his heels.
“Dude,” he said. “Seriously? Forget the gear right now. We’re in deep shit.”
“The camera…” Erinn breathed heavily. “Check the camera…”
“What are you…one of those freaks who needs to record their own death?
“His or her own death,” Erinn corrected, gasping. “ ‘One freak’ is singular.”
“You are so pushing your luck, lady,” Jude said.
Erinn was running out of breath, and she hung limply forward.
“Come on, Tin Lizzy,” Jude said, wedging his back against her.
He must look like Atlas with me on his back instead of the world.
She had her eyes closed, but she vaguely sensed that he must be standing on the passenger window…or the passenger arm rest. What if he broke one of them? Would the rental company charge them? Did she buy the right insurance? Weren’t they in enough trouble having skidded into a ditch?
Erinn heard Jude’s voice through the fog. His back was to her.
“When I lift you up, you need to unhook your seatbelt. Come on, Erinn, you can do this.”
Jude gave the faintest of pushes, but not enough to lift her.
“Crap,” Jude said. “I can’t get enough traction with the console in the way.”
Jude turned around so that he was facing her. Their eyes met.
“The camera case,” she said.
Jude ignored her, and tried to lift her off the seat belt, but there was no way around the console.
“Shit! Crap!” Jude said.
“Jude…there’s a knife…” Erinn croaked.
“…in the camera case!” he said.
Erinn could hear him scramble to the back of the SUV and unlock the camera case. Erinn was reminded of sounds one hears when one is drifting off to sleep. Every noise sounds strangely amplified – and yet the sound is of no interest. She had the vague sensation of falling and when her head cleared, she was laying on Jude, up against the passenger window. Jude was panting for breath, knife held aloft. She could hear the slit seatbelt clanking behind her.
She reached around Jude’s neck. His expression changed, softening. She touched the passenger window behind his head.
“Thank God it’s not broken.”
“Lady, I have a knife.”
Erinn was suddenly very aware that she was pressed up against Jude. She tried to lift herself off him, but each time she thudded back against him.
What are three things you learned while writing A Comedy of Erinn?
Erinn is a know-it-all, and I had to do a lot of research to keep up with her! I was always goggling grammar tips, author’s quotes, Philadelphia and the Revolutionary War. If it wasn’t for the Internet, I probably couldn’t have written this book! I learned a lot – and was a much smarter human by the time I wrote “The End”.
Three of the more interesting tidbits I unearthed for Erinn to spout off about:
1. During an encounter with her new colleagues who are about to embark on a History Channel-esque assignment in Philadelphia, Erinn explains to them that the picture they see of George Washington Crossing the Delaware was not based on reality. The author, Emanuel Leutze, who was a German-American mixed fact with fiction when he painted his masterpiece. The real crossing took place at night in the pouring rain, not during the day with theatrical lighting. And Washington wouldn’t possible be standing up. As for the icebergs – they were modeled on the solid sheets of ice that formed in the Rhine River in Germany. (I’m originally from Philadelphia myself and I can attest that there aren’t any icebergs on ANY of the rivers.)
2. It’s OK to start a sentence with the word “however”. However, you have to always use a comma afterward. Of all my characters, Erinn is the most like me and we are both grammar nerds. I bookmarked the GRAMMAR GIRL website – God forbid Erinn ever made a grammatical error!
3. Everybody says “Never apologize, never explain,” but the whole quote, by Edwin Milton Roy, in his 1916 novel Peace and Quiet, is even better. “’Never apologize, never explain. Get it over with and let them howl.”
On a person note: Erinn uses her superior intellect to keep herself apart from the rest of humanity. She is a hard nut to crack and a very difficult woman to get to know. In order to make her sympathetic to the audience, I knew was going to have to let the audience see that underneath the pedantic exterior – which meant letting the audience see beneath my own pedantic exterior. By the end of the book, I learned that perhaps letting people see the real me might not be the end of the world – or even better, might be the beginning of a whole new world.
Currently a Field Producer on HGTV’s House Hunters, Celia Bonaduce’s TV credits cover a lot of ground – everything from field-producing ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to writing for many of Nickelodeon’s animated series, including Hey, Arnold and Chalkzone.
An avid reader, entering the world of books has always been always a lifelong ambition. Kensington eBooks’s The Merchant of Venice Beach, first in The Rollicking Bun book series, will be available August 1st, 2013.
Celia is offering a tour wide giveaway:
- 3 x $10 Amazon Gift Cards (INT)
- 5 Print copies of A Comedy of Erinn (US Only)