RESTORE MY HEART - Medallion Press, March 2007

Several ideas converged to produce the brainstorm that became Restore My Heart. Being a tomboy, I always showed more interest in the combustible engine than any of my girlfriends. While they read magazines about lip gloss and nail polish, I read my dad’s latest copy of Popular Mechanics. The idea of an auto mechanic heroine wasn’t new to me, but the movie My Cousin Vinny, reinforced it. Loved that scene where Marisa Tomei shot down the General Motors expert in the courtroom!

Forgive the automotive analogy, but that was the spark of the story idea. I knew I wanted my heroine to know a lot more about cars than the hero. I also knew she’d be a diamond-in-the-rough, a lovely woman beneath the grease and brake fluid. I knew her name was Sally (inspired by Wilson Pickett’s Mustang Sally) and that she drives a 1964½ Mustang, the one with the 260 V-8 engine. But I didn’t know the story yet.

I love mysteries, though. Love to read ‘em, love to write ‘em. So I needed a set-up for my heroine to do some amateur sleuthing. But what? While attending an old car convention with my husband in 1999, I got my first glimpse of two classics that are now my favorites (along with the Ford Mustang): the Graham Paige and the Kaiser Darrin. I’ll save the Graham Paige for another book, but for Restore My Heart the rare Kaiser Darrin was perfect. Would it be valuable enough to make someone kill for it?

OK, research time. Speaking at a conference I attended, novelist Lisa Gardner said she researches first, then her plots come out of the research. It proved true for me with Restore My Heart. I consulted with Art Griffin, who not only judges car shows for the Antique Automobile Association but also the Kaiser-Fraser Owners Club International. He gave me several real-life scenarios for fraud and crime in the world of collectible cars. But if I tell you about them here, you won’t read my book. J Needless to say, his input gave me lots of plot ideas!

Although my research was far from over, I had my mystery idea and my heroine. Now I needed to match her up with a challenging hero. Joe Desalvo knows the investment world so well that he’s being promoted to vice president in his firm. His snappy clothes and polish make him
the perfect foil for grease monkey Sally, especially considering he’s clueless about cars. His father’s death is the vehicle (Sorry!) that brings the two together as an unlikely pair of sleuths. He’s GQ model-material, she’s at home with a torque wrench. Can these two find common ground and fall in love? Hey, it’s a romance! What do you think?

Spark, compression, ignition, and I was rolling! I enjoyed writing Restore My Heart because, in a way, I was a kid again playing with cars. Maybe that’s the secret to its sale. Yes, it’s a murder mystery, but I had a lot of fun with it. I hope you do, too.

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