Thursday, November 17, 2011

And Now for My Take...

Yesterday, Jennifer and Kellie posted some great questions about Treading Water, and we had a spirited conversation about the book. Before I invited them to come on the blog, I answered some questions for them. So I will post our Q&A here and look forward to hearing what readers have to say.

Question 1 from Jennifer and Kellie: Was Andi Jack's "true love?" I know you touched upon it when Jack himself asked Jamie his opinion of what Jamie thought would've happened had Jack met Andi while married to a healthy Clare. I mean he was going to meet her anyway...the project was in the works, etc regardless of the accident happening to Clare, right? I feel like Jack would still have been torn about his relationship with Clare. I guess what I'm leading up to is WHAT IF the roles were reversed and it was Andi he was married to and ended up in a coma and Jack had met Clare...would he have had the same pull he did with Andi? I don't think so. I think his bond to Andi was stronger than it was to Clare? He even admitted to it when he told Andi that she knew him better than ANYONE ever had.

Question 2 from Jennifer and Kellie: Clare - There's a part of me that feels like she gave up on Jack too soon. I would've preferred if Clare and Jack lived together for a bit in the same home after her hospital stint and then Jack would be then be the one to approach Clare that it just wasn't going to work although he had given it his darndest to make it work. Andi would already have the twins and in her own way moving on with her life....although heartbroken. There's a part of me that thinks that if I was Andi I would still wonder if Jack was really over Clare so it would've felt better for ME had he lived with Clare and realized it was really done.

Marie on Questions 1 and 2: The thing I like best about TW and Jack's dilemma is that it's one of those things where you can't possibly know what you'd do unless you are IN the situation. I'm with Jamie: Jack might've looked, he might've been attracted to Andi, but before Clare was injured, he wasn't in a place where he'd be OPEN to what might be possible with Andi, which made all the difference. That said, in the end, I do think Andi was Jack's true love. He and Clare had a great run, but by the time she rejoined the land of the living their time had come and gone. It took great courage on her part to be able to recognize that and not belabor the point by trying to get back what was already gone. Remember, she had a couple of months to watch and observe and by the time she made her decision she knew he was hopelessly in love with someone else. What else COULD she do?

From the author's standpoint, I needed to get Jack out of the marriage "cleanly" so he could end up with Andi. Readers were committed to their relationship by then, and there was no other possible ending but for them to end up together. When I was writing the first (of many) drafts, Clare had woken up and I was like, well, this is a fine mess. Now how do you propose we get him out of this? LOL! And please rest assured, Clare gets her happily ever after in Marking Time with a guy I love almost as much as Jack!

Another thing I want to say is that Andi never had any reason to doubt that Jack truly loved her. Look at what they went through to be together. He had proven himself to her. I don't think she relished the idea of him "choosing" her over Clare. Then she'd have to live with the fallout of that. I think, especially knowing what happens in book 2, it was better for Clare to be the one to pull the plug on the marriage. In the opening chapters of Marking Time, she is grappling with the reality of that decision and she is quite heartbroken over it when she gets home to the house he built for her and it really sinks in that she will have to live the rest of her life without him. Sigh....

Question 3 from Jennifer and Kellie: The Ending - Thank You for a Happy Ending. You had me worried there. The ending made me love Clare. In the end, we were both so impressed with Clare's strength and dignity. She did the RIGHT thing although it would've killed ME to do what she did.

Eric - Adorable and so touching how Jack adopted him and changed Eric's last name to Harrington. Perfect.

Marie: I'm glad you approve of the ending. I love the way the whole thing came together in the end and that Jack managed to make it all work out the way it was supposed to. I loved writing Jack and Eric's relationship. The scene where Eric tells Jack he loves him gets me every time.

My turn to ask a question: What would you do in Jack's situation? Your spouse is in a coma, you are told he or she will never recover and you have a second chance at love. Would you take that chance?

Just a reminder that I'm giving away copies of Marking Time and Starting Over (copies will be provided the week of their respective releases) to two commenters this week. Comment on yesterday's blog or today's to be entered into tomorrow's drawing.

36 comments:

Lisa Filipe said...

Jennifer and Kellie are hysterical!! And here I thought I was the only nerd who read that much!!

Sometimes I want to strangle my husband with his own shoelaces, but I LOVE him so much..he is my best friend. I don't know what I would do if ever faced with the dilema that Jack was faced with. I think if your spouse dies, maybe it is easier after a while to find someone else, because they are NO LONGER HERE...But if their body is still HERE, but their mind may not be...I don't think I could do that. But who's to say...I have never been there and I REALLY hope I never will be!!

Mommy Wis(h)dom said...

Thank you for all the insight Marie. I always enjoy hearing the authors perspective when the story is done.

I think Jack deserved loved. I believe Clare would want him to be happy. There were no guarantees that she was going to come back. If she never did then he would spend the rest of his life unhappy. Two souls lost. That's why I loved this story. Jack/Clare had their time and happiness but life moved on without them. Then it became Jack/Andi's time and they deserved the chance to be happy. Once life changes so drastically, it's impossible to go back to the way things were. Ok...I think I'm rambling now. This idea hits home though.

This is what I'd like to think I'd do...but who knows. But I'd love Jack! :)

ShellyE said...

Well, my previous comments just disappeared into cyberspace!! I'll admit I have been hesitant to read Treading Water because I was afraid there wouldn't really be a HEA. After seeing some of the snippets, I see that there will be an HEA, so I'm sure I will soon be reading this story. I can't image how I would handle a situation like Jack's - hope I never have to!! Thanks as always for thought provoking dialog Marie!!

Marie Force said...

Lisa,
Jennifer and Kellie totally crack me up with their commentary when reading one of my books. I'm glad that others are now able to share in their humorous comments. Make sure to join our new Marie Force Book Chat on Facebook so you can read Marking Time along with them later this month! As for "the predicament" let's hope it never happens to any of us and LOL on "strangling him with his own shoelaces." LMAO!

Kellie,
I thought it was really critical when Clare's mother tells Jack that she'd want him to be happy. That was a big moment in his journey. And I agree that it would've been a waste if Clare's injury ruined both their lives forever. Great thoughts!

Shelly,
I hope we haven't totally ruined Treading Water for you, but yes, you are promised--always with my books--an HEA!

mertime said...

Thank you Marie for giving us insight to Jack, Clare and Andi. I loved reading what you thought about while writing the book.
I can't say what I would do if I were in Jacks position. I guess I wouldn't really ever know unless I was in his shoes. It would be a very tough decision any way you think about it.
I grew to not like Clare towards the mid/end of the book, but then at the end I ended up loving her. I think Jack and Andi were just meant to be.
I agree with you on when Eric tells Jack he loves him... I wept like a baby! It was so amazing though that Jack adopted him. I am so excited to read more about their relationship in this next book.
Thank you for doing this blog, not only are Jennifer and Kellie a riot its fantastic to get your views.

Marie Force said...

Thanks, Amanda! So glad you enjoyed today's post and the book. I will say that Eric makes only a small appearance in Marking Time because it's really Clare's book (and Kate's), so he is not as prominent in book 2. But he does show up!

Alison said...

I'm saving this series for Christmas...it sounds like I need to make sure I have a supply of tissues before I get started. I can't wait...I know this series is going to give me a lot to think about!

Taryn said...

I totally blaming you Marie, for ruining more for me since I had to read the comments again! LOL just kidding!

I've always said one marriage is enough for a life time for me.

I hope my answer makes sense. :)

Lisa R said...

Everyone had some really good points in this discussion. I feel so much better now about how much I read and the number of books i buy! I purchased TW when it first came out and was hesitant to read it because every time I read a Marie Force book I cry. This was by far one of my favorite books. I loved Jack and Andi together. They were so intune wih each other. I loved that Jack just showed up when Eric was in the hospital. I would like to think that if I had been in Jack's situation I would go for that new love, especially after experiencing that kind heartbreak and knowing your life can change in an instant. What Jack had with Andi was that second chance that most people just don't take.

Harriet said...

As I was reading, I kept expecting Clare to wake up any minute yet you still managed to surprise me when she did! I did feel like she gave Jack up a little too easily too, but she was in a hopeless situation.

Love that you communicate with your readers and I think Jennifer and Kellie had some fun comments to share. Thanks and cant wait to read the next book in a few weeks!

Amy said...

Thanks for the clarification, Marie. Here's this for an idea, though. When we talk about true love, why do we stick to the notion that any of us only has one true love? I get that it's romantic to think of a couple tottering around, holding hands in the nursing home after 70 years of marriage. But, how realistic is that, really, that two people can grow together in such a way that they will always be completely satisfying for each other. I can think of my own relationship and there were numerous times where we were on the outs or otherwise ready to strangle each other with our shoelaces (ha, ha, ha Lisa!), but we didn't take the path away from each other.

Jack and Clare were at a similar crossroads, but Clare wasn't available to keep the relationship together. Jack was primed openness in seeing other people as possibilities. Clare was a true love, but the relationship had run its course. Andi is also a true love, because she speaks to Jack's adult self. I don't think one relationship is more or less than the other; they simply reflect the evolution of Jack.

BTW, Marie--- I'm a huge book nerd, too. I average a book a day. But yours are the ones I re-read and reflect upon more than any other author. Thanks so much for your interaction with your readers and for being so prolific! Ladies with limited patience (such as myself) really appreciate it!

Marie Force said...

Amy said:

Jack and Clare were at a similar crossroads, but Clare wasn't available to keep the relationship together. Jack was primed openness in seeing other people as possibilities. Clare was a true love, but the relationship had run its course. Andi is also a true love, because she speaks to Jack's adult self. I don't think one relationship is more or less than the other; they simply reflect the evolution of Jack.

I think that's a very good point. Both Clare and Andi were Jack's true loves at the time he was with them. There's a scene in Marking Time (my favorite Jack and Clare scene) where he addresses what he felt for Clare in the past, what he feels for her now and how sad he remains over what was "stolen" from them. That scene makes me cry every time I read it. I never love Jack more than I do in that moment.

Amy also said:
BTW, Marie--- I'm a huge book nerd, too. I average a book a day. But yours are the ones I re-read and reflect upon more than any other author. Thanks so much for your interaction with your readers and for being so prolific! Ladies with limited patience (such as myself) really appreciate it!

Thank you so much for that. I appreciate readers like you who devour books and are always looking for more. I'll be much more prolific starting in January when I become a full-time writer. Looking forward to that!

Marie Force said...

BTW--Amy and Lisa, have you joined the Marie Force Book Talk group linked to my profile on Facebook? Jennifer, Kellie and the crew will be reading Marking Time together. :-)

Stephanie O. said...

I agree with Amy, why do we have to think that we're only entitled to one true love pre life time? I think Andi was one of Jacks true love. When he started his relationship with Andi he was not the same person he was when he was married to Clare. I would like to think that if I ever found myself in Jacks shoes I would be open to Love again.

One thing I was also wondering after 20 years of marriage didn't Jack and Clare ever have the conversion of "if anything ever happens to me" what I would want you to do?
After reading this book I talked to my husband about what's he's allowed to do if this were to ever happen to me and I told him after 3 years he could move on, but not with his ex! Lol

Ronlyn said...

I'm swamped today, but wanted to poke in. And I'm seriously belly laughing at the question that Marie posed. I don't think I have to answer that as everyone knows my stance. ;-)

oklanannie said...

Frankly, I don't have any idea what I would do if faced with the same situation as Jack or Clare, for that matter. After all, Clare could have held on to her marriage. She definitely had issues prior to her coma, as well as those presented to her when she awoke.

It was Clare who chose to end the marriage. And before we start the "adultery" debate, I'm well aware of what Jack did. However, prior to Clare's injuries, did she not feel close enough to Jack to discuss the problem of rape with him? They had been married for years, he had been faithful, loyal and loving from the moment he met her. I certainly don't blame her for being raped. But I do find it wierd and a little more than disconcerting that she was unable to seek comfort and help from her husband. And this situation had been going on for months and Jack had begged and pleaded with her to talk about the situation.

I'm not making excuses for Jack's behavior. But once again we're back to the gray murky areas of life. And once again, I point out that Clare did choose to end the marriage. I think she could not face or live with the fact that Jack had been with someone else. Of course, it was a little more than just a sexual encounter, I admit.

I choose to believe that really difficult situations confront us in life. Sometimes the answers are cut and dry and other times, no perfect answer exists. And I really don't think that the life Jack and Clare once shared would have ever been the same again. How could it? Andi had not only touched Jack's life but also the lives of his children and Jack had certainly fallen in love with Andi become important to Andi's son as well. And there were the new babies to be considered, too.

All in all, thank goodness for fictional romanceland and an author who gave us not only an emotionally mindboggling storyline to discuss for years to come but also some great HAPPY EVER AFTERS for all involved.

Thanks Marie!!!!!!!!!!!! (LOL!!!!!)

NicolesBlueEyes said...

enjoyed reading yesterday and todays blog posts...

I truly enjoyed reading the story, but if there is one place I wouldn't want to be in, I would have to say it would be Jacks... Sure he finds his true love, but getting there, and the utter termoil he faces, about cheating on his wife while she is in a coma and then once she wakes up... UGH...

If it were me, i don't think i could do it... God forbid anything happen to my husband, but if he ended up in a coma and some dashing man came into my life, i just dont think i could start a new life while my old one wasn't over... Although, i suppose in all fairness, you never know what you are going to do until you are actually in that situation...

Jennifer said...

Hmmm....What would *I* do? What a great question, Marie.

I've thought about this and to be honest..I DON'T KNOW. I would need to live it and feel the emotions of all that sorrow. I agree with Lisa Filipe that it is somewhat easier after awhile if the person was deceased but when the person is physically still there. Wow...
Back to Jack - Let's not forget that he wasn't looking to meet someone. Meeting Andi was fate, IMO. He was going to meet her no matter what.

Kara C said...

"a guy I love almost as much as Jack!" did I read that right, Marie? Does Jack know?

Marie Force said...

Stephanie said: One thing I was also wondering after 20 years of marriage didn't Jack and Clare ever have the conversion of "if anything ever happens to me" what I would want you to do?
After reading this book I talked to my husband about what's he's allowed to do if this were to ever happen to me and I told him after 3 years he could move on, but not with his ex! Lol

These are great points, Stephanie. I purposely kept this book from becoming a right-to-life book. Around the time I wrote it, the Terry Schiavo coma case was in the headlines (I started it long before that case blew up) so I was cognizant of not straying into that murky territory. That's why Jack is so insistent about her being cared for as if she's going to recover. I'm glad you had that talk with your hubby. It was necessary to my story that Jack do what he thought best for Clare, so I guess they never had that conversation. :-)

Ronlyn, really--all kidding aside--I want to know what you would do if you were Jack in this EXACT same situation. Do tell! :-)

Anne said: I choose to believe that really difficult situations confront us in life. Sometimes the answers are cut and dry and other times, no perfect answer exists. And I really don't think that the life Jack and Clare once shared would have ever been the same again. How could it? Andi had not only touched Jack's life but also the lives of his children and Jack had certainly fallen in love with Andi become important to Andi's son as well. And there were the new babies to be considered, too.

Very well stated as always. I am ALL about the gray area. That's where most of life takes place--and where a lot of my books take place. Thinking of The Fall right now, which was ALL about the gray area.

Nicole, I think you've hit on the crux of the matter. We all like to think we know what we'd do (as did Jack), but until we are IN it, how do we really know what we'd do? Great points!

Jennifer, I think the fact he wasn't looking for it is how he "got away with it" so to speak with his family, Clare's family and with you, the readers. It found him, which was totally different than him deciding to start dating again, which I think would've been icky.

Kara, hush yo mouth! Don't tell Jack!

Unknown said...

One never knows what they would do until they find themselves in that position. It is easy to judge or take sides, but until you find yourself there, no one really knows. I think if Clare was healthy and her relationship with Jack was a good one (happy, talking, intimacy, etc), he wouldn't be open to a relationship with anyone else. It is possible that he'd think Andi was pretty, but never act on that attraction. I also think that I'd rather be alone than be with someone who is not available to me emotionally, so Clare did the right thing in my opinion. It is no one's fault really, just life and the cards that were dealt with. Great book, I loved it!

Marie Force said...

Unk: It is no one's fault really, just life and the cards that were dealt with.

SUCH a great point. So true. All we can play are the cards we're dealt, right? Thanks for coming by!

oklanannie said...

Marie, you've never touched on the fact that Clare didn't choose to share the rape with Jack. Why do you think she kept that from him even though they had been best friends, lovers, married for 20 years, raised a family together, along with Jack being faithful, loving and loyal since the day he met her? That's the one thing that kept Clare in the "cold box" for me. I can't imagine having the type of marriage she had with Jack and not sharing something so traumatic with him. Especially when I know he's suffering because of the silent treatment and change in their relationship. Also, the fact that her children have noticed and are suffering and then to stand in front of a car and wait for it to hit her in front of the children. I felt like Clare maybe had more issues than brought forward.

Marie Force said...

Anne,
That's a really good question, and I think it comes down to one thing: Fear. She honestly believed the guy when he said he'd kill one of her kids if she told anyone. She knew if she told Jack he'd go ballistic, and she worried the guy would find out that she'd reported the incident. She was completely traumatized and did what she had to do to protect her kids. That's the best explanation I can give. Does that make sense?

formerteach said...

After reading all the responses I thought I'd give my 2¢ worth. First off, when he was told Clare was basically never going to come out of the coma, he refused to "pull the plug". My husband and I have both said we wouldn't want to be left on life support, so I can't imagine this happening to me. BUT, if it did, and I was their age (which I am older) and I had children that still needed two parents and some wonderful guy came along and wanted to help me raise those teens, then perhaps I would. I always told my husband that I would have a date at his funeral to help me with the kids! Not quite the same as dating while his is comatose, but . . .

Marie - I can't wait for the next book to be available. I have all your books and LOVE them all. Thanks for writing!

Ronlyn said...

Okay, all kidding aside, and assuming I had the same resources Jack has, I would probably start by following the same path. Being a woman & mother I would hopefully be a bit more in tune with the kids' feelings, but, yeah, I'd certainly set him up in a wonderful facility/condo/whatever and provide care.
If the time came that I was in a position to maybe find/look for love again I would divorce; continue providing financial support and all of that, certainly. but, yeah. There you go.

And I will say the only reason I have an answer to this is because of our many conversations about this.

Marie Force said...

Teach: I always told my husband that I would have a date at his funeral to help me with the kids! Not quite the same as dating while his is comatose, but . . .

This made me laugh so hard! A date for his funeral. Can you imagine? Thanks for the comment and the giggle!

Ronlyn: thank you for chiming in. I expected you to say just that. However, you know if you were writing this book, you wouldn't have much of an act 4 if you were divorced from the comatose husband when he recovered, right? ;-) LOL

Ronlyn said...

That's why YOU wrote this book and not me! LOL
Although, let me imagine:
Coma Man wakes up to find himself divorced and another man has moved in on his life. He fights back and is determined to win his lady love back...in the meantime the sexy nurse/dr. can't stand to see him fighting a losing battle, so she becomes determined to help him forget what he's lost and shape his own current reality. Hmmmm....
Act 4 would be much much different, but, there you go. ;-)

Marie Force said...

LOL, ohhhhhh, hospital sex! Go get em Tiger!

Taryn said...

My goodness. What an emotionally charged book! I really can't wait to get ahold of this book. Hopefully in the next two weeks or so I can.

Marie, you've answered some really tough questions in the last two days. I think you did an awesome job at it.

Marie Force said...

Thanks, Taryn, that's sweet of you to say!

Gindy Reese said...

I'm not sure what I would do if I was told my husband would never return to me.

My husband did return to me from a coma after a few days a totally different person. When he woke he did not know who he was, where he was, didn't remember his childhood, his parents, me, our relationship and marriage. I did stand by him and we have built a new life together.

Thanks to Marie for your brilliant writing. I have enjoyed each and every one of your books.

Marie Force said...

Wow, Gindy, you've been there done that. I'm so glad your husband recovered, but what an ordeal you must've gone through when he lost his memory. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and for your kind words about my books. Hugs to you and your family.

Taryn said...

Oh wow, Gindy. I can't imagine going through that. I'm sure it was a long and difficult road down recovery. I'm so very happy to hear that you both built a new life together. That's awesome.

Mary G said...

I love that a book/author can generate so much discussion. There's probably people out there who would say, "They're not real people!"

I've always loved analyzing what makes people tick and fictonal characters are no different. Decisions we make in real life are based on what we know, feel, have read somewhere, fictional or otherwise.

While it's great to play "what if" here, I hope we're never there for real.

Marie Force said...

Yes, Mary, what you said. Let's hope and pray none of us ever has to face such an awful situation.