I can't believe that Everything I've Waited for will be here next week! I am so excited for you to read Matt & Mel's story. It's been a while since we've done a Conversations with Characters post, so I thought a conversation with Matt & Mel would be the perfect way to kick off some pre-release activities.
I originally didn't plan on Matt getting a book in the series or even becoming a recurring character in the series. He was supposed to be the baseball player cousin who showed up as a brief mention occasionally in I Never Stopped Loving You. First, as a date the week Joey and Ally meet, then as a mention in their Spring Break vacation, and for Ally's birthday celebration. It made sense for him to be in the wedding party. What I didn't expect was when writing the wedding scene for him to get super vocal about Mel being the girl he'd been waiting for.
Again, my plan for Mel was that she was a side character mentioned in that book because she went to college with Ally and they worked together. She would appear again in Tony and Lucy's book because she grew up with Lucy. One of my favorite things about writing is when characters surprise me by taking on a life of their own and taking stories a completely different direction or in this case taking the series a new direction by demanding their own book.
For the first post getting to know Matt & Mel, I thought it would be fun to play Favorite Things.
Matt - Pancakes
Mel - Mom's enchiladas
Matt - Anything by John Hughes
Mel - same. We're both Hughes fans. Our first Hughes movie watch is one of my favorite memories of us.
Matt - Mine too. It was after Joey & Ally's wedding and you fell asleep using me a pillow. I was already pretty sure you would completely change my life, but that moment confirmed it. I knew I'd rather spend a night curled up with you watching movies than do anything else.
Matt - whiskey or bourbon neat, preferably small batch
Mel - whiskey sour
Matt - favorite bottle I've ever had was the first one we shared on Joey & Ally's front porch the night we met.
Mel - That's sweet and it's one of my favorites too. Overall, my favorite wine is a really good Bordeaux.
Matt - chocolate chip
Mel - triple berry
Matt - Pancakes
Mel - stuffed hashbrowns
Matt - Before meeting Mel, my New Zealand and Australia trip.
Mel - Before Matt, Italy with Lucy
Me - and after meeting each other?
Mel - Texas for Spring Break when I traveled to watch Matt's games
Matt - Thanksgiving in New York. I surprised Mel with all of her bucket list items.
Mel - That was a fun trip and was the perfect distraction from everything that was going on.
Memory of Each Other
Matt - This is too hard.
Mel - This is easy for me. The day I helped at the signing at the children's hospital ribbon cutting. You introduced me to Ryan, the little boy from Woods who you met when you were at the diner with Shauna. When I saw how good you were with him, I knew I wanted to marry you and have babies one day.
Matt - That was a good day for a lot of reasons.
Mel - Yes, it was. Your turn.
Matt - Way too hard. I'll give you my top five, in no particular order:
The night we met.
The first time you said, "I love you."
Our first All-Star Break together. I know it was a really hard time for us, but it showed that if we could get through that, we could get through anything. That and everything we went through after made us stronger.
Our last All-Star game. The day we complete our family.
The first time I saw you, not the first time I met you, but the first time I saw you when I was in high school and you were in middle school. I know it's years later that we figured out that we were both at the same place, but that's definitely one of my favorite memories of you.
Mel - I need clarification. The party we were both at during my party days or the softball tournament?
Matt - Softball tournament. You were beautiful at the party, but too young to be there.
Mel - Those are some really random memories, but they're all great memories.
Everything I've Waited For ebook is available to pre-order now. Paperback available now.
Matt had wished on stars every night since his mom walked out when he was a kid. He used his childhood wishes to ask for his mom to come back. Teenage Matt wished for a baseball career. Professional baseball player Matt has spent the past decade wishing for someone to love for the rest of his life. As soon as Matt meets Mel, he knows his star wish came true. Mel is a self-described daytime dreamer and nighttime wisher.
After leaving an abusive relationship and overcoming a slip into past bad habits, she’s spent her nights wishing for a family. Her daydreams are filled with images of a houseful of babies, a yard filled with toys, and most of all, someone to love who will love her completely and make her feel safe. Mel can’t understand why Matt wants her when he can have anyone. My thighs are thick; my stomach has stretch marks; my boobs and butt are too big. He’s a famous baseball player who should date a model or an actress, not a small-town teacher. He can have anyone. I can’t understand why he chose me, but I’m so thankful he did.
Content Note: Book contains discussions of a past abusive relationship; health complications that impact fertility, pregnancy loss, and fertility treatment.
Excerpt 1: Matt
“That’s the star I wished for you on for a decade. Once I found you, I started thanking my lucky star for you.”
Excerpt 2: Mel
Matt continued to surprise me. I’d never known anyone who was so giving with his time or money. Ray told me earlier today that the only reason the hospital met its fundraising goal on time was that Matt made a huge donation and funded the entire play structure.
“How long have you been dating?”
“We’re new. Really new. His cousin just married one of my best friends, and we met the week before their wedding.”
“The way he looks at you and always has you in his sight even when he’s busy made me think it was longer.”
I had noticed that too, but I hadn’t realized anyone else did. Matt always had me in his sight, and when we were near each other, his hand rested on my hip, thigh, or lower back. As if he knew I was thinking about him, I felt his hand on my lower back.
Excerpt 3: Mel
“I want to buy a house and get married. I want to fill that house with babies, if you want babies. If not, we can fill the house with everyone else’s kids, spoil them with pancakes, and then send them home.”
I laughed. “You have known me for two weeks, and you want to talk about having babies with me?”
“If you want them, if not, we can travel and live kid-free.”
I liked that he was already thinking about a future with me, but I was terrified of a conversation I needed to have with him. Instead of responding because I wasn’t ready to have the conversation and wasn’t going to have it on the dance floor surrounded by other people, I kissed him.