Guest Author: Sarah Mayberry

Hi folks.  Please give a big welcome to fellow Superromance author Sarah Mayberry.  I hear she writes some amazing stories for Blaze, too!  Heeere’s Sarah …

by Sarah Mayberry

First up, I want to say thanks to the Riding With The Top Down ladies for having me today. I’ve had two “top down” kind of cars in my lifetime – a General Motors (Ford in Australia) Capri convertible, and a Mazda Miata (MX5 in Australia) – so I understand and admire the whole “top down” ethos a great deal. I think it’s awesome that your blog celebrates this concept.

I wanted to talk today about tough choices. You know, those ones that are going to hurt no matter which option you end up choosing. Often they’re a choice between what we want and what we know is good for us. Sometimes they’re just plain hard.

Gabby, the heroine in my August Super Romance, One Good Reason, is a veteran of tough choices. Three years ago she made the decision to draw a line under her relationship with Tyler Adamson because she understood deep in her bones that she was far more committed to the relationship than he was. Tyler had secrets and hidden hurts that he refused to share with her, and he couldn’t understand why she took this as a sign that he didn’t fully trust her. So Gabby broke up with Tyler, even though she still loved him like crazy. She told herself she’d done the right thing. And she continued to be Tyler’s friend. She even went to work for him, and at the start of the book she is still managing the office in his successful furniture manufacturing workshop.

Tyler is the hero of my February release, The Last Goodbye, and in that story he met and fell in love with newspaper advice columnist Ally. In falling head over heels for her, he also offered up his trust to her, telling her all the things he’d always kept hidden from Gabby. Watching from the sidelines, Gabby saw how happy and in love he was and was happy in turn for him – and sad for herself. She couldn’t help but wonder what this other woman had that she didn’t. We’ve all done that, right?

At the start of One Good Reason, Tyler’s older brother Jon takes up Tyler’s offer to work in his business for a few months. Jon’s recently returned to Australia after ten years in Canada, and from the moment he and Gabby meet the sparks fly – but not in a good way! They both jump to wrong conclusions about each other. And then they work out that underneath all those misconceptions they might actually like each other. Suddenly Gabby is falling in love with another Adamson man. But Jon has secrets and hidden pain, too – like Tyler, his hurts are the result of a difficult and sometimes violent childhood. And like Tyler he wants to hold his cards tight to his chest rather than share them with Gabby.

At a certain point in their burgeoning relationship, Gabby realises that she’s about to lose herself in yet another relationship where she’s always being held at arm’s length. Suddenly Gabby’s faced with another one of those tough decisions. Stick it out with Jon and hope that this time things will end differently, or cut her losses and push him away while it’s still possible. I won’t tell you what she decides in case you get a chance to read the book, suffice to say that either way Gabby knows she’s in for one hell of a battle.

A couple of reviewers have talked about how much they wanted Gabby to have her happy ever after, and how brave they thought she was for holding out for what she felt she deserved. I was so pleased to read that other people got what I was aiming for when I wrote Gabby – a woman who knows herself and her own worth, and a woman who is brave enough to take the tough decision, even though she knows it’s going to hurt.

Can you relate to this? Have you ever had to make a decision that was tough at the time but that you knew in your gut was right? Or is there a decision you wish you could go back and undo with the benefit of hindsight?

I’d love to give away a set of The Last Goodbye and One Good Reason today, so comment to be in the running. I look forward to chatting with you all.


About Helen Brenna

Helen Brenna is the RITA award winning author of romances for Harlequin's Superromance line. Three more books in her popular Mirabelle Island series will be release in July, August and September of 2011. For more information, check out her website at
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35 Responses to Guest Author: Sarah Mayberry

  1. Susan Wilson says:

    Been there. Done that. Walked away from one husband who was the nicest man on the planet but just didn’t do it for me. I still found my happy ending though!

  2. Kirsten says:

    I dumped my boyfriend when I suspected him of keeping important things from me. I knew I had to do it, but still it was really hard. It’s also the decision I want to go back to and undo. You see, I did not confront him with my suspiscion, my hurt and the sadness. I didn’t let him explain & so I wonder if time and trust would have made a differnce. Would he be honest with me if I demanded it, could he see his error and change for me. For our love… I don’t think so, but a girl does dream when she’s lonely.

  3. Stonehawk says:

    I had a boyfriend which I dumped due to that he was acting inappropriately towards me. i wish I had the courage to confront him of that. i haven’t had a relationship since. Oh well.

  4. Hi Susan. I think there are a lot of people who have walked away from men or women who were lovely but not the person that made their heart sing. It’s a tough call every time, but I’m glad you found your happy ending.

  5. Hi Kirsten. It’s so hard when we second guess ourselves. I hope you find some peace with this question in the near future. Hang in there!

  6. Hi Stonehawk, As you can see from Kirsten’s post, you’re not alone in this situation. I hope that one day you can look back and feel more certain about this decision. If it’s any consolation to you and Kirsten, as I get older I trust my gut more than ever – most of my “gut decisions” have proved pretty solid over the years.

  7. I’m off to bed down here in Australia, but I will check in again in the morning to respond to any posts. Have a good one!

  8. Cindy Gerard says:

    Hi Sarah. Congrats on your new release and I love the subject of you post. i suspect we’ve all had to make those kind of difficult choices. Love that you made it the focus of your book!

    • Hi Cindy. Thanks for having me at the blog. As I said above, I love the whole top down ethos. One Good Reason was a tough book to write, particularly certain parts of it, but I loved finding a happy ending for both Tyler in his book and Jon in his.

  9. DeborahR says:

    Congrats on the new release, loved your post. There are a few things I wish I could go back and have a “do over” I think we all have those!! Still waiting for my HEA… Can’t wait to read these books!

    • Hi Deborah. I have a few “do over” regrets, too, but whenever I think about changing some part of my life I realise what a huge domino effect it would have. At the end of the day, we are the sum of our experiences and decisions, good and bad. Fingers crossed Mr HEA is around the corner…

  10. Leanne Banks says:

    Welcome Sarah! Congrats on your new release! It sounds great! Yes, I’ve had that occasion to make painful, difficult choices more than once in my life. Years later, I can tell that some of them were for the best, thank goodness!

    • Hi Leanne. As I said to Cindy above, thanks for having me here today. Sometimes it’s only when enough time has passed that you understand that the tough decision was for the best. Definitely that is the case for Gabby in my book, but although she understands and accepts it rationally, her heart still aches for what could have been.

  11. Janet says:

    Just finished the book. Very good. Though, I had a hard time liking Gabby at first. But it certainly brought out the tears. The best scene was Jon and Tyler finally opening up to each other. Powerful.

    My daughter just ended a relationship she was in for several years. She told me she was proud that she had gotten out and I told her I was proud of her too. It wasn’t a healthy relationship and she had known it for a couple of years, but just couldn’t bring herself to leave until now.

    • Hi Janet. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I know a few reviewers have found Gabby to be hard work – she’s definitely a prickly, tough minded woman – but I love writing women with sharp edges and I like to think that at heart she was a very generous, loving person. And, you know, sometimes Jon deserved the tongue-lashings he got! It sounds as though your daughter has made a smart if painful decision. I hope things settle down for her and that she finds her feet and thrives very shortly.

  12. Charlotte M says:

    Definitely been there. Tough decisions come in all shapes & sizes. But when you make the right choice it’s worth it in the end.

    • As a few commenters have said, sometimes you can only go with what your gut tells you at the time. If it’s telling you to get out or whatever, even though it might seem crazy at the time, I think we can do many worse things than to trust our instincts. The older I get, the more reliable I realise mine have been over the years.

  13. Diane Sallans says:

    I believe you have to go with your gut feeling, even if it doesn’t make sense to your rational brain or those around you. Then things will work out as they should, often in a way you’ve never imagined.

    • Well, Diana, I must have been channeling your post when I responded above! I love the “never imagined” part of your post. That phrase opens up lots of interesting possibilities in my mind…

  14. Quilt Lady says:

    Congrats on your new release! Yes I had to make a tough decision like that many years ago. I was dating a guy I thought to be a bad boy and I really cared deeply about him but I knew he was not good for me so I dumped him and started dating someone else, who I married.

    • Ah, the bad boy. In romance novels, he’s often reformed. In real life, he often has good reasons (or bad modeling) behind his behavior. Being smart for yourself and walking away from someone you love is a tough call. I’m glad it worked out for you.

  15. TrishJ says:

    Not only are the emotional decisions hard to make, you don’t always know you made the right decision until years later. The books sounds good.

  16. Laney4 says:

    Like Quilt Lady, I dated someone who was considered a “bad boy”, and I knew it wasn’t going to work out for us in the long run. We dumped each other in August. I dated ten different guys in September, but I soon realized that one man stood out from the rest and seemed to want to be with me, whereas the others were “just dates”. I stopped dating all the others and “settled down” with “the one” (even though I was having the time of my life dating, so you see that when you aren’t looking, oftentimes good things happen!). Unbeknownst to me, “the one” bought my engagement ring in October and proposed on Christmas Day. As an aside, he asked me to marry him, and MY MOTHER said yes on my behalf. I, on the other hand, said I’d have to think about it, as it was all too fast for me. (I was 21 and “the one” was 31.) Two days later, I said yes, we married the following July, and we just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.

    • Hi Laney! How nice to see you over here. I love this story,and I love that you’re still happily married after 30 years. Nice of your mother to get in on the act with your proposal!

  17. Hi, Sarah! Welcome to our ride, and thanks for posing such an interesting topic.

    You often hear the claim that there are no do-overs in life. But, really, who needs do-overs when we get second chances? We get to make choices and learn from those choices and then make more choices–which is obviously what ONE GOOD REASON is all about. I’ve lived long enough to have been through the wash-rinse-repeat cycle many times, and believe me, I’ve gotten some soap in my eyes. But I’m still here. And that means I get more chances to try for more do-betters.

    I can’t wait to read ONE GOOD REASON!

    • Kathleen, it’s lovely to be a passenger for the day. I like your philosophy! At the end of the day, life is one big learning curve and learning from our successes and failures is what makes us – hopefully – more rounded and better people. In a way, One Good Reason is Gabby’s second chance at love. I hadn’t thought about it in that way before, but she sort of gets a do-over and a second chance all in one!

  18. MaryC says:

    Congratulations on your new release, Sarah!

    I left a job to stay home with my parents who both had health issues. Both are gone now and I have never regretted it.

    • Mary, I think it’s such a gift if you are able to be there for your loved ones when they need you. Incredibly generous of you, and I’m so glad that you don’t regret it. I’m sure it must have made your parents’ final years so much more happy having you be there for them.

  19. chey says:

    Congrats on your new release!
    Both those books sound great!

  20. Hi Chey! Thanks for the congrats. Lovely to see you over here.

  21. Helen Brenna says:

    Sorry for being AWOL today. Just got back from moving my dd into a new apartment. Unfortunately, it took muuuuuch longer than we anticipated and I could barely get out of the car once we got home. Cute new place, though!

    Hi Sarah and welcome!! You always tackle such interesting subjects in your books. Real down to earth, real life issues. This has to create stories that people Identify with, yes? Do you get that kind of comment from readers?

    Thanks for coming to visit today! 🙂

    • Hi Helen, glad the move went okay and that you survived. I know that “can barely get out of the car” feeling. I did some hard core gardening with my mum last week and felt as though I’d been beaten with baseball bats the next day. Re my books, I think the most common review of my books is that they read like they’re about real people, like your friend or next door neighbor. I don’t know that I intentionally set out to write those kinds of books, but I am fascinated with the “why” of people, and that tends to come out in my stories when I go searching for reasons for my characters to make certain decisions. Thanks for having me over to play for the day – I’m having a lovely time!

  22. Stephenia says:

    I try not to second guess those tough decisions in life that I’ve had to make. I also try to live by the “no regrets” rule – don’t do anything you think you’ll regret later on. I try not to take tough decisions lightly but also don’t agonize too long over them! But drama is spice of live in books, movies and I always enjoy reading how authors have their h/h work out their issues in life. The drama and turmoil is what makes the characters and their stories real. Congrats on your new release!

    • Hi Stephania. I think most of us agree that while we like a bit of angst and torture on the page, in real life we’d prefer to cut to the happy ever after part. I love it when I get a chest ache reading a romance as I long for h/h to get together.

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