Hello y’all! We’re super excited to welcome Roberta Blablanski on From Top to Bottom Reviews today! Her debut Return to Sender – a lovely second chance romance – was released last week. In her guest post she tells us about the insipration for the story, plus there is a rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post!
College professor and website designer Drew Hampton has had only one great love in his life. A loner as a teen, he found solace in art, his self-styled mullet, and the television show ALF. Then a new boy moved in next door, and he discovered love.
Mechanic Wes Harrison was thrown into adult responsibility at a young age. He’s managed to build a good life through hard work and determination; however, he hasn’t been in a relationship since high school.
Drew and Wes were deeply in love thirty years ago, but then they were torn apart. Unlucky at relationships after their separation, both men treasured memories of their one true love.
Fate intervenes and gives them a second chance. Will they rekindle their once great love and find happiness, or has too much time gone by?
For fun, a close friend and I started a writing challenge earlier this year. She’d find a photo online to use as inspiration, and we’d each write an approximately 200 word drabble based on the photo. Then it was my turn to choose a photo, and we’d start over. We went back and forth with several photos, and then life got busy for the both of us and the challenge fell by the wayside.
Return to Sender started out as one of those drabbles I wrote, inspired by a photograph of an alley. My characters share some special moments in an alley. In fact, my original title for the story was The Alley. As the story evolved, the plot grew and The Alley changed to Return to Sender.
I’m notorious for being a pantser. I never start off with an outline of any sort when I begin a writing project. When I began fleshing out Return to Sender, I had my two main characters and a set idea of where they were in the present. Their backstory and journey from their initial meeting to present evolved as I was writing.
The story came together fairly quickly. I wrote it and got it into final draft in about a month, which is fast for me given my daily commitments to the day job and family. Drew and Wes were very chatty in my head and spoke freely to me about who they were and what they were going through. A few times, they had me tearing up with emotion.
I grew up in the 80s and had a blast incorporating pop culture from that time period. It’s actually my favorite decade, mainly because of the music. When I wasn’t writing this story, I was listening to lots of Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and The Cure. The music helped to inspire me further.
Writing about characters communicating during a time when cell phones, social media, and instant messaging wasn’t around was a fun challenge. I remember the days when plans had to be firmed up in advance because there was no way to get in contact with someone once you left your house. You generally had to work at maintaining a relationship with friends if you wanted to keep in touch with them.
Nowadays, friendships are more casual, at least in my opinion, because you can go several days or weeks (sometimes years) without reaching out to a friend and still maintain that relationship. It’s easy to feel like you’re still connected to someone without personally interacting with them by checking out their Facebook page or Instagram and Twitter feeds.
The story takes place over three decades. Changing technology and the ways we communicate with people helped to drive Drew and Wes’ story. I enjoyed writing about both and how they matured from gangly teens to middle aged adults.
Even though their story is finished, I think about Drew and Wes often. They are the first characters I’ve written that have gotten a satisfying HEA. It’s been a wild ride from inception to publication, and I can’t wait to share more stories. Who knows? Maybe another one of those drabbles will turn into something bigger like Return to Sender did.
Roberta Blablanski hails from The Big Easy: New Orleans, Louisiana. She draws inspiration from her colorful hometown and her former life as a college radio DJ. When she isn’t writing, she spends her days searching for the world’s best Bloody Mary and avoiding people she went to high school with. Her normal habitat is curled up in bed with a good book and a cup of coffee.
Roberta developed a love of books at an early age, spending her summers at the library. Years later, after watching the American version of the television show Queer as Folk, she began searching for books featuring queer characters finding love. Most recently, she began writing queer love stories of her own, drawing from her own personal experiences and creating characters and story lines as vibrant as her ever-changing hair color.
Roberta graciously offered to give away 1 e-copy of Return to Sender. To enter just click the graphic below. Giveaway runs until sunday, 12 am CET!