Monday, August 31, 2015

The Story Behind All For Family by Olivia Hardin

Meg and Jeremy Rawley were secondary characters in my first Rawley novel, All for Hope. I always knew I’d go back to invite readers into their past, but it didn’t occur to me until earlier this year what theme would be central to that story. I wrote the initial draft of All for Hope about fifteen years ago and in it I described Meg using three little words: short and pudgy. Not entirely flattering, but then my frame of mind was a lot different back then.

You see I’ve always been insecure about my weight. It snuck up on me gradually, but it definitely slipped into my psyche without warning. I can remember as a teen when I believed that I was beautiful. The days when I wore it proudly. But then weight crept in. And as teen boys will do, I began to hear the nickname “Fatz” in my direction. I laughed it off. I joined in with the jokes. I wore that name as if it were a title bestowed upon royalty.

I still tried to be beautiful. But I didn’t believe it.

And years wore on and added more weight. I ate too much. I didn’t exercise. And everywhere I looked were women who were much prettier than I was. Not only was it beating down my view of myself, I knew I was unhealthy. My hubby tried to help, encouraging as best he could, but there is one thing you can’t do for someone you care about.

You can’t make them love themselves.

And that was the lesson I had to learn. That is the journey I’m still on. There’s a scene towards the end of All for Family when Meg is confronting a stressful situation. Her husband, Jeremy, notes that she’s wearing something slightly baggy and that she enters the bathroom to check herself. He knows his beloved well enough to realize the outside stressors impact her self-image. It makes her feel un-beautiful and the old insecurities she once had creep back to the surface.

Today I’m much more confident than I used was in my early adolescence, but from time to time I feel just like Meg. All I see when I look in that mirror are lumps, stretch marks, and other imperfections.

But I still score a victory because those times, though they happen, aren’t an everyday occurrence. I can shake them off. I can run my hand through the water and reset the image I see reflected back. And then I can see me: A beautiful, strong, sensitive, impressive woman.

So that was the inspiration for Meg’s story. And her romance with Jeremy builds through this with her. It isn’t an autobiography, but the things Meg feels are most certainly some of the same ones I’ve confronted.

Like Meg, I realized the value of loving me. Because it’s only when I learned that, that I could open myself up to more fully love those around me. And that is an amazing thing.

About The Book

Title: All For Family (A Rawley Family Novel)
Author: Olivia Hardin
Publisher: Olivia Hardin
Publication Date: August 24, 2015
Format: Paperback / eBook / PDF
Pages: 200
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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Book Description:

Wedding bells will soon be ringing in the Rawley family, but gearing up for Van and Kay's nuptials revives old securities for Kay's sister-in-law Meg. When she learns that her ex-husband is asking for her from his hospital bed, Meg must confront the painful memories of her past.

Family is everything for Jeremy Rawley. Most important is the one he and Meg created together. But their beginning was tangled in memories he wishes he wife could forget for good. A call from her past brings them back to a place he thought they'd never have to be again.

Forgiveness may be the key, but the first step is finding the locked heart that needs it.

Book Excerpt:

He watched her slide her feet back and forth against the carpet. “Whew … there’s a reason big girls shouldn’t wear heels.”
Jeremy finished his own drink and sat back down beside her, this time reaching down and taking her feet to pull them up into her lap. She made a face as if she would protest, but when he began circling his thumbs into the arches of her feet, she leaned back against the arm of the couch and moaned. “Oh, that’s nice. Do they teach that at earl school?”
As he massaged, she pointed her feet in a stretch, and her toes brushed a feather’s touch against his thighs. Damn, but the woman could get a reaction from him almost without warning. He continued rubbing, then slipped his fingers between her toes.
“Oh, no, no, no,” she squealed, jerking to try to pull away from him. “Ticklish.”
“I figured…” One corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. He tugged her feet back to his lap, and when he did, the skirt of her dress hitched up almost past her knees. She immediately took hold of the hem and tried to push it back down.
He encircled both her ankles with his hands and then slid them upward along her calves, kneading the muscles of each leg as he went along.
“Jeremy, you don’t have to …”
“Shh …”
Her eyes were open wide, so many emotions in their depths that it was hard to figure what she was feeling. Fear? Embarrassment? Excitement? He pushed one of her legs to the side until it slipped off the couch, then he scooted forward into the open space between her thighs. With one ankle still in his hand, he lifted it so that he could sweep his lips across the creamy smooth skin of her calf, working his way upward.
She was still holding her dress, doing her best to cover up, but the hypnosis of his stare had her. She never once looked away from him as he made his way higher. When he nipped his teeth to the tender spot at the crook of her knee she flinched, then sucked her lip into her mouth.
He was so desperate to kiss her that he almost rose up to smother her body with his and claim her mouth. But he didn’t. Instead he let go of her leg and then took her hands, loosening the tight hold she had on her hemline. The satiny material dropped, sliding down her thighs to bunch at her waist. Under she had on tight nude-colored shapewear, which she was clearly embarrassed about.
Gazing up at her, he brought one of her hands to his cheek. Her fingers stretched long, tentatively touching his lips. When he sucked two of them into his mouth, she moaned and closed her eyes.
“Jeremy, why are you doing this?” She snatched her hands away and to her lap where she once again tried to hide herself under folds of orange fabric.
“I want there to be a day when you won’t ask that question. Maybe it won’t be with me, but one day, you won’t have to wonder why a man would worship you and your body.”

About The Author

When Olivia Hardin started having movie-like dreams in her teens, she had no choice but to begin putting them to paper. Before long, the writing bug had bitten her, and she knew she wanted to be a published author. Several rejections plus a little bit of life later, she was temporarily "cured" of the urge to write. That is, until she met a group of talented and fabulous writers who gave her the direction and encouragement she needed to get lost in the words again. 

Olivia has attended three different universities over the years and toyed with majors in Computer Technology, English, History and Geology. Then one day she heard the term "road scholar," and she knew that was what she wanted to be. Now she "studies" anything and everything just for the joy of learning. She's also an insatiable crafter who only completes about 1 out of 5 projects, a jogger who hates to run, and she's sometimes accused of being artistic.

A native Texas girl, Olivia lives in the beautiful Lone Star state with her husband, Danny and their puppy, Bonnie.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for having me on your blog. Happy reading, all!