Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Romantic Reads: Husband Auditions

The Story behind the story Husband Auditions by Angela Ruth Strong

To my husband’s great relief every time he hears me mention my next novel, I’m not actually holding Husband Auditions. It’s just the title of my book.

I got the idea for this story from a popular article that was making the rounds on social media a couple years ago. It included a list of ways to attract a husband in the 1950s. Ideas included everything from crying softly in a corner to painting your phone number on your roof for pilots to dial. I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if a modern-day woman decided to try this list out.

I took the article to a writer’s conference and invited others to help me brainstorm. Peter Leavell, being a history professor, was particularly intrigued by the suggestion of carrying a hatbox around. He said, “Ooh…a hatbox.” To which I responded, “Only you, Peter.” And thus I had to make him a character in my book.

The story revolves around Meri Newberg being the last of her friends to get married, which means she inherited her best friend’s magazine list at her wedding. Meri’s then forced to move into her brother’s house since she’d been roommates with her best friend, but she’s in a funk and feeling like a failure.

Kai Kamaka, her brother’s roommate, is a cameraman for the local news and has no ambition to get married, but he does want to get hired to work on a local television show for which he needs a demo reel. He sees Meri’s list as an opportunity to start a YouTube show and thus make a name for himself. He’s the last man she’s looking for, but as he films “Meri Me” and becomes her new best friend, she starts to wonder if he would ever change.

My author friends and I couldn’t help laughing as we plotted, which is how I knew the book was going to be a romantic comedy, but I also wanted it to have a strong message about healthy relationships.

I’d just recently read a self-help book called The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick, which talks about seven heart issues that create dysfunction. One of those issues is laziness. This is something I’ve seen many women deal with in our society—they have husbands who don’t want to get up off the couch to help out. The men are likable and have redeeming qualities that made their wife fall in love with them, but the wife didn’t realize how hard their marriage is going to be when she has to do all the work. I wanted to offer some insight to women dealing with this since you don’t see lazy heroes in most books.

Enter Kai. He’s lazy but lovable. One of my pre-readers even labeled him in their “top five” list of heroes, while another one said, “He’s perfect because he’s different.” My publisher was actually worried about this at first. They made me give him more redeeming qualities in the beginning so readers wouldn’t be disgusted and put the book down. Apparently, it worked.

The story practically wrote itself. And the end is what one endorser calls, “Better than an easy happily-ever-after.”

Life can be happy even when it’s not easy. Really, it’s all the characters’ challenging and embarrassing moments that make the story fun for us. Then seeing them overcome their challenges can help us overcome our own.

My own challenge is that I was diagnosed with cancer before I sold this book to a publisher. Through my chemotherapy, I didn’t have the energy to write anything new, so I thought about this book. I imagined the different scenes and dreamed of the opportunity to share it with you. The fact that you are reading this article means my dream is coming true.

I’m also cancer free now, though I did have to go in for another surgery recently. Thankfully, my husband is taking good care of me. Had I ever actually held my own husband auditions, he would have been the clear winner.

Author Bio:

Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. 

Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there's nothing else she'd rather write about.

Her books have since earned Top Pick in Romantic Times, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. Her book Finding Love in Big Sky just filmed on location in Montana and will air soon. She also writes nonfiction for SpiritLed Woman.

To help aspiring authors, Angela started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at Write That Book.

Blurb for Husband Auditions:

How far would you go to find the perfect husband? All the way back to the 1950s?

In a world full of happily-ever-after love, Meri Newberg feels like the last young woman on the planet to be single, at least in her Christian friend group. So when she's handed a strange present at the latest wedding—a 1950s magazine article of "ways to get a husband"—she decides there's nothing to lose by trying out its advice. After all, she can't get any more single, can she?

Her brother's roommate sees the whole thing as a great opportunity. Not to fall in love—Kai Kamaka has no interest in the effort a serious relationship takes. No, this is a career jump start. He talks Meri into letting him film every silly husband-catching attempt for a new online show. If it goes viral, his career as a cameraman will be made.

When Meri Me debuts, it's an instant hit. People love watching her lasso men on street corners, drop handkerchiefs for unsuspecting potential beaus, and otherwise embarrass herself in pursuit of true love. But the longer this game goes on, the less sure Kai is that he wants Meri to snag anyone but him. The only problem is that he may not be the kind of husband material she's looking for . . .

With droll comic timing, unbeatable chemistry, and a zany but relatable cast of characters, Angela Ruth Strong has created a heartfelt look at the reality of modern Christian dating that readers will both resonate with and fall for.


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