Book Title: Ten Thousand I Love Yous
by Lisa Slabach
Category: Adult Fiction 18+, 303 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release date: February 2022
Content Rating: PG-13 + M for handful of f-bombs and semi-explicit sex scenes; mature themes discussing sexual mores and adult relations; no abortion, violence or abuse.
In this humorously touching novel by the critically acclaimed author of Degrees of Love, a woman is blindsided when her high school sweetheart abandons her after eighteen years of marriage.
At sixteen, Kimberly Kirby thought the only thing she needed to be perfectly happy was to spend the rest of her life with Jay Braxton. Twenty years later, she still believes it. As they proudly watch their daughter, Haley, graduate from high school, she imagines her life is as perfect as anyone could reasonably expect. Jay is a formidable attorney, she a freelance writer, and their love as strong as ever. With Haley heading to UC Berkeley in the fall, Kimberly fantasizes about making love on the kitchen table. She has no clue that Jay’s bags are already packed.
Now divorced and determined to squelch her love for Jay, she accepts a gig writing a sex and dating blog for divorcees. As the Virgin Dater, she is on the hunt for love. No-strings-attached nights with a sexy fireman and moving to San Francisco are just what she needs to boost her battered ego and mend her shattered heart.
But just as she falls hard for a talented young chef, Jay fights to win her back. Torn between her bold new life and the comfort of Jay’s strong arms, she questions if there is too much to forgive. The ten thousand I love yous that had passed Jay’s lips can’t be dismissed, but nor can her newfound freedom and the knowledge that her happiness doesn’t depend on Jay.
What is the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
When my husband was in law school, I was the sole support for our family. At the time, I worked at Saks Fifth Avenue and made good money by retail standards and had a killer wardrobe thanks to a clothing allowance that was part of my compensation package. But I struggled to make ends meet with two toddlers in daycare and living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I took a risk, quit my salaried position, and in hope of making more money, accepted a straight commission sales position in the financial industry. I barely had enough banked to float us until my first commission check. Thankfully, it worked out!
Do you have another profession besides writing?
Yes, I wear many hats. I’ve worked in the financial industry for over twenty years and currently am a Relationship Executive for a Fortune 500 Company. I took a three-year hiatus from corporate life a few years ago and did a lot of writing and launched an on-line book business, which is still in operation. I keep telling myself that I’ll close down the book biz to give myself more time to write, sleep, and spend time with my hubby, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Where did you get your idea for Ten Thousand I Love Yous?
Growing up in a small farm community, many classmates and extended family married straight out of high school and started having children right away. Not all pairings ended well, but most couples I know have had successful lives and strong marriages. Marrying young doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster. I thought it would be an interesting scenario to explore but with twist: what would it be like to split from the one and only person you’ve seriously been with?
Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?
The hardest character to write was Jay. The book starts with him leaving Kimberley, which completely crushes her. It would have been easy to leave him as a hateful ex who has wronged our gal, but I wanted him to be a good person who made a bad choice while going through a difficult time of life. The crawl back to show that he is a good guy while keeping him real and believable was a tough task. What made it even harder was having the entire story told from Kimberley’s point of view.
The easiest character was Joshua. From the time I started penning the novel, I could see and hear him clearly in my mind and knew exactly what purpose he served in the story. Of course, I love Joshua. He is also one of my favorite characters. The biggest challenge I had with him was trying to make him a little less perfect without blowing up his character.
Ten Thousand I Love Yous has been categorized as both Women’s Fiction and Romance. Which do you think it is?
I love a good Romance as much as anyone and understand why some reviewers reference the book as a Romance. It has romantic elements with an interwoven love story, but I wouldn’t classify it as Genre Romance. In my humble opinion, the focus of a traditional Romance is two people falling in love and overcoming seemingly unsurmountable obstacles to be together. The struggle to unite is the main conflict. Ten Thousand is more about Kimberly’s personal journey and growth—more character drive than plot driven. Her happily-ever-after ending is not a forgone conclusion.
What advice would you give to help others create plotlines?
As an acting student, I had a great professor who encouraged his students not to decide what their characters wouldn’t do. The idea was to let the characters take over and react in the moment to what is in front of you. I think the same principle applies to writing fiction. It is very important to ask, “what if” and not decide what a character absolutely would or would not do. As one of my characters states, “… I really don’t know what I’m capable of until I’m in the situation.” It’s that unpredictability that keeps a story exciting.
Meet the Author:
Prior to publication, her first novel, Degrees of Love was recognized as a Best Book of 2014 by Kirkus Review. Degrees of Love made its publishing debuted December 1, 2017 and was nominated for a 2017 Reviewer’s Choice Award by RT Book Reviews.
In addition to writing, Lisa is a Fintech Relationship Executive for a Fortune 500 Company. She is a long-time resident of Northern California and lives with her husband, one-hundred-forty-pound puppy and numerous goldfish. In her free time, she enjoys wine tasting, shopping with her daughters, and cooking in her pink kitchen.
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