When I finished the last so called book in my Marriage to a Billionaire series, I decided to do a spin off because I couldn’t bear to leave my beloved characters behind. I needed to have the ability to check in with them like an old friend. Find out how their marriages are going and their children and make sure they’re okay.
Yep. Writers are a bit cray cray.
At least my wonderful readers felt the same way. One of my secondary characters who introduced herself in The Marriage Trap, and had appearances in every one of my marriage books was the matriarch of the Conte family, Mama Conte. Head of the bakery empire, La Dolce Famiglia, she lives in Bergamo Italy. She has a gorgeous kitchen where delicious scents of garlic, tomato, lemons and fresh bread sizzle and bake. She serves at the sturdy pine table and counsels her children on their love lives, usually meddling in the most delightful ways.
In my newest release, Searching for Beautiful, Wolfe is my newest hero, introduced when he was only nineteen years old in the Marriage Merger. He was a badass, wicked smart, and vulnerable. Readers adored him. He grew up throughout the Searching for series, and now it’s his time to find his own happy ever after.
As I was writing, I was able to check in with my characters from Merger, but my most important scene was written with Mama Conte.
In life, sometimes we need someone older and wiser to guide us. If we listen with our heart, usually taking this advice changes everything.
Wolfe desperately needs Mama Conte to help him with an important turning point in his life. As I wrote the scene, and went back to that safe, cozy kitchen in Italy, and listened to her words, I was changed, too.
The powerful matriarch is a wonderful character to introduce to readers, and an even better character to write. I was able to tap deep into my past and channel both my old self, when I was young and immortal and brave, and follow the years to my new self, as a mother, where I worry and fret and yes, meddle, into my children’s lives.
Mama Conte is a character who makes a difference. Her appearances in my books may be brief, but they are powerful.
I truly hope you enjoy her as much as I do.
I’ll leave you with a few of my most popular Mama Conte-isms!
The Marriage Mistake:
“Max loves you. But now it’s your turn to make a decision. You need to be strong enough to stand beside him and ask for his love. You’re going to have to take a chance on yourself. We all believe in you. Isn’t it time you believe in yourself?”
The Marriage Merger
You can fight for my daughter, the woman you love. You can fight for Wolfe and watch as he grows. Or you can take the other path and talk about what you are destined for, because of this past that you say owns you.”
His voice broke. Sawyer bowed his head. “I don’t know if I can.”
She rose and came to him. Strong arms held him with no apology, no hesitation. She stroked his hair like a mother would, soothing him with her warmth and safety and beliefs.
“My sweet boy, yes, you can. Your life is your own. You were a child and could not protect the ones you loved. None of us can. So instead, we choose to love as much as possible, and that needs to be enough.”
She pressed a kiss to the top of his head. Tears stung his eyes as he hugged her back. “My daughter does not choose wrong. You are who she wants, and she will not let you go easily. Let her choose you, and know you are enough.”
Searching for Beautiful
WOLFE BEGAN TO RELAX. The dinner was perfect. They’d feasted on only four courses instead of six, and having Mama Conte on a one-to-one basis was enjoyable. He’d learned stories about Julietta growing up, the launch of her bakery, and got a glimpse of the powerful man Mama Conte loved, married, and lost. She never mentioned anything personal, and Wolfe caught no judgment or worry in her gaze. He finished grinding the coffee beans, and prepared them two cups of espresso to go with the buttery amaretti she’d just baked.
“Did you ever think you’d fail when you first started La Dolce Famiglia?” he asked, settling back into the pine chair.
Mama Conte smiled and sat next to him. “Of course. But I had a partner at my side, and knew if I failed, at least I tried. There is no shame in dreams or hard work or failure. Only not trying.”
About Jennifer Probst
Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.
She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon's Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.
Connect with Jennifer via: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
About Searching For Beautiful
Genevieve MacKenzie has her life completely under control. About to wed the charming Chief doctor at the local hospital, she’s an up-and-coming surgeon with everything she could ever want. Until an escape through the church window on the day of her wedding sends her life into a tailspin…and flings her right into her best friend’s arms.
When Wolfe catches his best friend falling out a window on her wedding day, he doesn’t ask questions. He whisks her away, determined to watch over her and discover the truth behind her desperate escape. But when his feelings turn more than platonic, he realizes he may risk his most important relationship in order to protect his damaged heart, and the woman he loves.
Can Genevieve and Wolfe’s friendship turn into something deeper—or is it already too late for true love?