Hi friends! So Nina Bocci‘s newest book just came out this past Tuesday! On the Corner of Love and Hate has such an interesting premise, and I’m about to start reading it soon. 😀 It’s also the first of the “Hopeless Romantics” series. Anyway, Nina is a delight, and I hope you enjoy this post, and pick up her newest book! So without further ado … Nina!
When Emmanuelle Peroni’s father—and current mayor of Hope Lake, Pennsylvania—suggests she help with Cooper Endicott’s campaign, she’s horrified. Cooper, one of her (former) oldest friends, drives her crazy in every way possible. But he’s also her father’s protégé, so Emma reluctantly launches her plan to help him win the local election.
It’s not as easy as it looks. Cooper’s colorful love life is the sticking point for many voters, and his opponent is digging up everything he can from his past. It seems that every time Emma puts out the flames from one scandal, another one flares up. Emma knows that if Cooper wants to win, he needs to keep his nose clean. The only problem? She might just be falling in love with the one person she promised never to pursue: the mayoral candidate himself.
Don’t write a book with politics.
You’re a debut (basically), you’re going to kill your chances of people picking it up.
My God, you’re an idiot, why didn’t you listen?
Those are just some of the messages that I’ve received over the past few months leading up to the release of my first solo book On the Corner of Love and Hate. I won’t lie, they worried me at first. How could they not? Though I’ve been in the publishing world for what feels like a hundred years (it’s closer to eighty) I’ve never seen people so divided over, well, everything.
Now, can we solely blame the current political discourse? No, not entirely but it’s got a lot to do with it. People are on edge, snappier perhaps than usual. Romancelandia isn’t any different. There are varying opinions from damn near close to everyone when it comes to putting any sort of politics into a romance.
I did it anyway.
There’s risk in putting anything considered taboo today into a book. What’s the saying? At the dinner table, no politics, no religion. Well, you’ve got a bit of all both in here – not necessarily in that order. Now, don’t get nervous, no one is selling bibles door to door and they’re not Wrestlemania’ing their way through Thanksgiving dinner in front of Nana. It’s subtle(ish)
I won’t lie. The 2016 election kicked the ever-loving hell out of me creatively. There was SO MUCH HOPE leading up to it for so many, and then well, I don’t think I need to get into what happened. We see it daily. My problem was that I was in the downward spiral and this book took FOR-EH-VER to write because it was about an election and the outcome of the one I was most looking forward to celebrating, went to hell in a handbasket.
For On the Corner, I wanted not only for there to be a romance that was tied into a political race, but also two candidates that were so polar opposite (sound familiar) that it was almost comical. If I’m being honest, writing this was a bit cathartic given that I was pulling for HRC to pull out a big win in 16’.
For me, having the male character be similar to Hills — earnest yet flawed, strong and full of a thousand plans – was important but also important was that I wanted that character to pull out the win. Maybe it was my brain’s way of rewriting what happened in 16’ but hey, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
That being said, people were really pushing me to not have it be very clearly one-sided that Cooper, our hero, should win.
“Make it a little tighter of a race.”
That was the one that stuck in my craw more than any other piece of feedback. I didn’t want it to be tight. I love the people of this town and wanted their votes to reflect their goodness, their values and what they hold dear. I didn’t want them to look at someone like Kirby (Cooper’s opponent) and think, ‘Yeah, I think what he’s spouting off sounds grand!’
But, to make it interesting, I toyed with the back and forth a bit more than maybe I wanted to originally. I’m happy with how it turned out, come on, it IS a romance after all. All I needed was a landslide in the end. That good, the honest and the true would prevail.
I just wish that would have happened in real life.
Alas, having a book that stresses the importance of getting out to vote was risky, IS risky and we’ll see how that risk pays off in the end.
What I hope people walk away with is that voting, no matter how big, how small of an election or how flashy or how boring one may be, they are all important. I still remember a staff member from Governor Casey’s (PA) visiting high schools to instill the importance of registering to vote. Casey’s term was up the year I graduated, but the message stuck with me. I’ve since voted in every election since turning 18, whether it’s for local school board, or president.
I hope that I’ve instilled that same gung-ho attitude in my 12-year-old who has come with me for every vote. Pushed buttons, gotten the sticker and worn it to school proudly.
People have called the approach preachy but honestly, I don’t care at this point. We can’t afford complacency. We need mobilization, movement and numbers. Sweeping masses of voters that march to the polls and show them that this country, founded on the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of mf’ing happiness isn’t going backward anymore.
Dolores Umbridge is quoted in On the Corner for a reason.
“Progress for the sake of progress must be discouraged.” That seems to be the party line for a certain party if you know what I mean.
I much prefer a George Bernard Shaw quote on progress.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Let’s change our minds. Let’s move forward. Let’s not turn our back on the past mistakes but charge forward knowing that we’ve learned hard lessons and have the tenacity to move toward a better world.
We’re all on this big rock together.
Thanks so much for guesting with us, Nina, and congratulations on your newest release! Y’all, you can buy a copy of the book here! Enjoy!