Monday, December 12, 2011

Don’t Forget Me



My sixth Konigsburg book, Don’t Forget Me, was just released last week, and I’m really excited about it. But what I really want to talk about now is why the book is named Don’t Forget Me, aside from the fact that that phrase conveys every author’s most fervent hope.

Don’t Forget Me is the story of Nando Avrogado and Kit Maldonado. Readers who know the other Konigsburg books may remember Nando and Kit from Long Time Gone, where they seemed very much together. What that book didn’t include was their breakup at the end of that summer. Don’t Forget Me deals with the aftermath of that breakup a year and a half later.

All my Konigsburg books are named after songs, sometimes obscure (Venus In Blue Jeans isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s playlist) and sometimes very well-known (Long Time Gone has been used as a title for over fifty songs—if you’re interested, I was thinking of the Dixie Chicks version). When it came time to write about Nando and Kit, my original idea was to call the book Heartbreaker, after Pat Benatar’s great raver. But somehow, the more I got into the story, the less appropriate the title Heartbreaker became. Heartbreakers, after all, hurt their lovers deliberately, or at least they do it without really caring. But that’s not true of either Nando or Kit. They’re both heartbroken themselves.

Still, I was going to go with Heartbreaker until one evening when I was riding into Denver with my DH, listening to Prairie Home Companion. The musical guest was Neko Case and the song she sang was called “Don’t Forget Me.” I only half listened to it, but I noted a couple of odd lyrics—one where the singer talked about being old and full of cancer, which isn’t exactly what you expect in a love song. Still, for some reason I couldn’t get that song out of my mind, so I went to my ultimate resource for song information, iTunes. There I discovered the song was written by Harry Nilsson, which explained the quirkiness (he also wrote “Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me” and the “Coconut” song). I also found it had been recorded by a lot of different people, including Nilsson himself along with Neko Case.

I hadn’t really thought of it as a book title until I listened to it a second time—and a third and a fourth. It seemed to me the main qualities of the song were regret and longing: it’s an emotional roller coaster. And it suddenly struck me that those were also the main qualities of my separated lovers—regret that their love affair had ended so badly and longing for a second chance.

Of course, they get that second chance—this is romance, not tragedy. But it takes a lot to bring them back together again, most of the novel in fact.




Don't Forget Me
by Meg Benjamin

Available from Samhain Publishing

Once they said goodbye forever. Now they want to walk it back.


BLURB

Konigsburg, Texas, Book 6
Eighteen months ago, Kit Maldonado was so over Nando Avrogado, she left Konigsburg without a backward glance. With the family restaurant in San Antonio sold out from under her, though, she’s back to manage The Rose, an exclusive resort eatery outside town.

Dealing with a stingy boss, an amorous head chef, an understaffed dining room and planning her aunt’s wedding should have kept her hands full. But she realizes she might not be as over Nando as she thought.

As the town’s new assistant chief of police, Nando’s got enough trouble without sexy Kit fanning embers he thought had long ago turned to ashes. Every time he turns around, she’s there—and it doesn’t help that everyone in town wants to see them back together.

One incendiary kiss, and there’s no denying the force of their attraction. But there’s a mysterious and oddly familiar burglar who’s been lurking around Konigsburg, someone who isn’t above a little mayhem—maybe even violence—to cover his tracks.

EXCERPT

Nando Avrogado was hiding. Granted, the Dew Drop Inn didn’t provide much in the way of cover, although it was dark enough to make identifying anyone pretty challenging unless you were less than six inches away. Granted, Nando himself, at six three and a hundred eighty-eight pounds, was somewhat difficult to hide, even when he wasn’t in uniform (as he wasn’t at the moment). Nonetheless, he was hiding. From Francine Richter, five three and a hundred five.

It was embarrassing. It was nothing a mature adult male of twenty-eight should be doing.

He should just get over it. He knew that. He should just head down the street to the Faro tavern, where he usually hung out, and take his punishment, whatever that punishment turned out to be—tears, curses, possibly violence. It wasn’t exactly his fault that Francine hadn’t understood the meaning of their goodbye date the way she was supposed to. It sure wasn’t his fault that she’d been leaving messages on his voice mail for the past two days.

Except that it was his fault. Sort of. He’d tried to make it clear throughout their handful of dates that nothing more serious was on the horizon for them. That they weren’t going to hook up for the long term. That they were just having some temporary good times.

And in reality, the times hadn’t even been all that good after the first couple of dates. He had to admit that, for the most part, he’d just been going through the motions. Francine was okay. She didn’t natter too much. She looked good. She was…a decent kisser. Not bad exactly, but not good either.

Nando sighed, taking a sip of his lukewarm beer. If he were honest, it wasn’t Francine who’d been the real disappointment. He was the one who wasn’t measuring up to expectations, Francine’s for sure, but his own too. Given his lack of enthusiasm, maybe it was just as well that they’d never progressed beyond a few hot make-out sessions on Francine’s couch.

Of course, if he were honest he wouldn’t be sitting in this dive, drinking beer that tasted like dishwater. He’d be down the street with his friends at the Faro, drinking some honest brew and dealing with Francine when and if she showed up.

He rubbed his eyes and fought back the impulse to groan in frustration. God, he was tired. And it wasn’t just the hours from his job as a Konigsburg cop. During the last few months he’d seemed to fall into a rut that just got deeper and deeper. Same people, same problems, same everything. When had this feeling started anyway? And why? He’d gotten all the things he’d once thought he wanted in his life—full-time appointment to the Konigsburg police force, a decent place to live away from his parents (sharing an apartment with his brother Esteban, but doing that wasn’t such a bad deal), an active social life without being tied down to anybody.

Yeah, right. It was that “active” social life that was the problem. Maybe he should try deliberate celibacy rather than the unintentional kind for a while. See what it felt like to not hit the clubs on his night off. The whole excitement-of-the-chase thing was getting very old. And truth be told, the chase hadn’t been that exciting for a long time. Eighteen months, in fact.

Don’t go there. It’s over. No matter how much you wish it weren’t.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Meg Benjamin


Meg Benjamin is the author of the Konigsburg series for Samhain Publishing. Book #3, Be My Baby, won a 2011 EPIC Award for Contemporary Romance. Book #4, Long Time Gone, received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Indie Press Romance. Book #5, Brand New Me, was a Long and Short Reviews Best Book. Meg lives in Colorado with her DH and two rather large Maine coon kitties (well, partly Maine Coon anyway). Meg loves to hear from readers—contact her at meg@megbenjamin.com.

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