As a general rule, I don’t base characters on real people, particularly not on people I know. It’s just too much of a sticky situation. For one, I have this lingering fear, however unrealistic given what I write, that someone might recognize themselves and be upset or offended. For another, it’s too easy for my perfectionistic side to get bogged down in what that person is “really” like rather than being able to let the character development happen naturally over the course of the story. Lainie Taylor is the exception to that rule. In a way,Learning to Live Again is an exception to that rule. Unlike anything else I’ve ever written, it was somewhat based on a person I knew and her family situation. Not the story itself, but the general background idea of an overwhelmed working wife and mother trying to juggle the household and uncooperative teenagers basically on her own because her husband was working all the time. A former coworker of mine was in a similar situation. After hearing her talk about it for quite some time, I started to wonder and imagine what it would be like if that workaholic husband believed in DD and decided to step up and try to be an HOH. It was out of that what if question that Learning to Live Again was born.

But then, I had a slew of problems to deal with right from the start. Why haven’t they been practicing DD all along if it was something Grant believed in. How did they get to this place in their marriage? How is this going to shift and change the family dynamic, and how will all the different people involved react to it? Would Lainie agree to it In the first place?

It wasn’t originally envisioned as part of the Corbin’s Bend series. Truth be known, I tried to write it three times as a standalone story before Corbin’s Bend ever came onto the scene. I just couldn’t make it work. Grant and Lainie couldn’t do this on their own. They both needed people they could turn to for support. When I learned about the Corbin’s Bend series, I knew right away that this community might just be exactly what I needed for my struggling uncooperative story.  So I rewrote the story for the fourth, or maybe even fifth time, as a Corbin’s Bend book, and miracle of all miracles, this time, it worked.

The prologue of the new story had at one time been one of several versions of the first chapter for the original story.Writers and readers alike are divided about the use of prologues. Some people like them. Some people think they are totally unnecessary. Like with most things, I stand somewhere in the middle. Some stories need them; others don’t.  I knew from the start, at least the start of what would become my last attempt at writing the story, that this one did,  We needed to know where they had been to understand why they would make such a drastic move and undertake a rather dramatic last-ditch attempt to save their marriage. That became the springboard from which the rest of the story was told, and frankly, I still rather like it personally.

Grant made his way into their bedroom. He may have talked to Lainie into trying domestic discipline and letting him be head of household, but that didn’t mean he had a clue of how to actually go about it. Theory was quite different than practice. He needed to do some research. Glancing at the phone on the bedside table, he was overcome with a familiar biting longing to pick up the phone and dial his dad. Dad would have known exactly what to do.

Since he no longer had that option, he went to the Internet, powering up the computer that lived on a desk in the corner of the bedroom. To his great surprise, he found a veritable cornucopia of information. Apparently, domestic discipline was more common than he had ever imagined it might be. He clicked through several documents and websites, reading as he went. As a police officer, Grant was long used to taking in information, making connections, and drawing conclusions. What he found there though inevitably lead to more questions than answers. How in the world was he ever supposed to figure out how to do this? There seemed to be as many different variations to the lifestyle as there were people involved in it. How was he to know which way was the right one? He gave thought to posting some of these questions on one of the many discussion boards, but he was reluctant to reach out to strangers. He knew as well as anyone that anonymity on the Internet was little more than an illusion. What if somehow his post managed to get traced back to him? He was a cop. That’s all we needed was for somebody to decide he was abusing his wife. However untrue it might be, it would likely cost him his job. That was too big a chance to take.

Just when he was about to give the research up as a lost cause, he ran across the website for the Corbin’s Bend housing community near Denver, Colorado and stopped dead. Could it possibly be true, and entire community of people who practiced exactly the kind of lifestyle he wanted to get back to? The more he read, the more intrigued he became. What if they didn’t have to figure this out alone? What would it be like to live in a community where they could talk about and explore things openly? It seemed too good to be true.

Learning-to-Live-Again-Final-200Tired of increasing chaos in his family life and the distance that is growing between him and his wife, Lainie, Grant Taylor decides the only way to save his marriage is to get back to the domestic discipline lifestyle he grew up with. When he finds Corbin’s Bend on the Internet, he is certain it is the perfect place for them to start over.

Exhausted and tired of juggling everything herself, Lainie reluctantly agrees to her husband’s suggestion. However, she is new to the lifestyle and more than a little uncertain about it. To make matters worse, their 15-year-old daughter Kathleen is convinced they had moved her into some kind of weird spanking cult. She is miserable and not at all shy about letting everybody know it.

Will moving to Corbin’s Bend be their saving grace, or will it be the final straw that tears them apart?

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