October 6, 2014

'if no one will listen'


I've mentioned this before (here and here), but the nuts and bolts of Hard Hats and Doormats came together while I was driving between Natchitoches and Lafayette in Louisiana.

After a day of visiting customers in the field, I pulled off my steel-toed boots and tossed them onto the passenger seat of the rental car. It was day five of eight, and I'd already managed to do a thorough job of littering that whole side of the car with notes, maps, PPE (that's personal protective equipment to the layman), fast food wrappers, and anything else I didn't want to keep in my laptop bag or suitcase.

I glanced at the pile of debris and for whatever reason was amused by the sight of two hard hats perched on top of a pair of flip-flops (my driving shoe of choice in between job sites) resting on the doormats.

"Hard hats and flip-flops," I said to myself. "This is my life."

This was soon followed by the thought of Wouldn't Hard Hats and Flip-Flops be a great title for a book? Ultimately, after writing the story, I decide that no, it wasn't, but that's hardly the point. The thought was in my head, and I wondered what that story would be about.

I popped in a CD (All I Ever Wanted by Kelly Clarkson, which I'd just picked up, because I was sick of the music I'd packed along) and hit the road, the idea of a book growing.

By the time I reached the last song on the disk--"If No One Will Listen"--I had the basics of an idea. Lexi (no last name yet) would be fresh out of college and working in an industry she barely understood (project much?) doing a job that caused her some issues. Like HR. That had to be full of problems waiting to happen. And as an added complication, she would fall in love with one of her colleagues, something she really shouldn't do. Wouldn't that be a bit of a mess?

I didn't start writing the book for another eighteen months. When I did, that Kelly Clarkson CD was my faithful companion for the first draft. And believe it or not, when I reached the end of that first draft and was almost ready to type "The End," that same song--"If No One Will Listen"--popped on. It was my soundtrack for those last few paragraphs and for those first few moments after I finished writing the first draft of my first novel.

I still tear-up when I hear it, because for a few minutes at a few crucial moments of my life it was my only companion.

For more music to set the tone to Hard Hats and Doormats, listen to the playlist on Spotify.




About Hard Hats and Doormats
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion––because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?


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