Monday, October 20, 2014

Finding Love After Devastating Loss

Following her husband's sudden and tragic death, Beth Franklin finds solace on her couch, watching Dream House, a home improvement show—until she tires of the show's routine and writes in to the network, suggesting a plot twist.
When TV executives ask her to consider appearing on the show, she finds herself not only renovating a house but her own life when she and co-host, hottie Scott Roberts, hit it off.
With broken hearts in common, Beth and Scott take a risk on love, surprising not only themselves but the show's viewers, as well.

          Good morning, all. Fall has finally hit Western New York with a bang and it looks like it’s here to stay for awhile. To celebrate, Wild Women Authors welcomes author Allyson Hayes and Beth Franklin, lead character from Ally’s latest book Reality Re-Do. This book is a honey. To learn the real story behind the emotionally wrenching first chapters of this delightful tale, read on . . .
Welcome, Beth. To begin, please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? I grew up in Michigan but have lived in Minnesota for over twenty years now.  I’m getting tired of snow.
Can’t blame you about that. WNY is the bane of existence for someone who hates the cold! Tell us a bit about Reality Re-Do. It tells the story – which I still can’t believe is my story – of how I went from depressed on the couch, passing the time by watching reality shows, to appearing on Dream House and falling in love with the co-host, Scott Roberts.
What did you think the first time you saw Scott? The first time I saw him was on-screen. Still in my self-imposed couch confinement stage, I was flipping through the channels and stopped when I saw this burly man sporting a tool belt, grungy hat and flannel shirt.  He was swinging a sledgehammer to break up outdated looking tile. I put down the remote and became instantly intrigued in whatever it was he was doing.  Moments later he turned to address the camera explaining the old tile was cracked and damaged from having been installed improperly and he was planning to replace it with hardwood. I felt like he was talking just to me. I couldn’t believe I was feeling attracted to someone on TV. 
Yeah, sort of like us and Raylen Givens or Andy Flynn. What was your second thought? Scott seemed too perfect so I quickly assumed he was an actor playing the part of a contractor and told myself he couldn’t be the whole package. Later, I would discover I was wrong.
Did you feel it was love at first sight? I was definitely attracted when I saw him on TV.  I had been numb from my husband’s death for so long the feeling surprised me, I forgot about that tingle of attraction. I have to admit, it was kind of embar-rassing, even though I didn’t tell anyone.
The first time we met in person was intense. By that time we’d already formed a connection over the phone, somewhere between friendly and flirty. Meeting him sealed the deal for me.  The moment he stepped into my house he hugged me and I was a goner. 
Love at first sight – I’d have to say yes.  Love at first hug – absolutely.
That is so sweet, and given what you’d been through, especially intense. What do you like most about him? The way he makes me feel. Scott brought me back to life. He encouraged me to take a chance on doing the show, which led to taking a chance of having a relationship with him.  He makes me feel both and ease and excited to be alive again.  He tells me I can do anything and understand my insecurities while helping me conquer them.
How would you describe him? Scott is above all kind hearted and sincere. That said, he is sexy in a rugged, mature way.  His warm brown eyes and easy smile speak of his softer side.  He’s passionate about everything he gets involved in, from career to personal life.  He’s smart, thoughtful, comforting and insightful. Did I mention he’s sexy? No one pulls off the jeans and construction boot look the way he does. Even the grungy hat he wears only on the show looks hot on him.
Exactly what we wanted to know. How would he describe you? This is a tough one, but he always tells me I’m beautiful – something I hadn’t felt for a long time, he actually makes me feel beautiful.  He’d also say I’m fun and spontaneous; both attributes he helped bring back out in me.  He’d also say I’m short because he’s much taller and teases me about it.  And of course, he’d describe me as older. Yup, I’m a few years older than him, but the only problem it has caused is the seemingly endless supply of jokes and puns from our friends and even ourselves.
What made you choose travel writing as a career? I was one of the lucky ones.  Right out of college I was able to make a career out of my two favorite things – traveling and writing.  I traveled extensively through college; I met my late husband while abroad, and kept journals for all my adventures.  I submitted a few stories to the campus newspaper and it got the attention of a professor who was friends with an editor for Escape magazine.  They ran a few small pieces then offered me an internship, which launched my passion and career. I went freelance when I had my daughter and worked as much as I could with my husband, Tom who worked full time for a large travel company and wrote for them as well.
What is your biggest fear, Beth? For a long time after Tom’s death I told everyone I wanted to be alone, when in fact that was the last thing I needed. Now that I’ve found Scott, and love again, I’ve found life.  I fear being alone again and going back to that lonely place, but my fear is dissipating as Scott and I become closer and talk of a future together.
How do you relax? For me, it’s all about the clothes. I can’t relax until I’ve taken off the heels, bra and jewelry. As soon as I’m in an oversized sweatshirt and yoga pants I’m calm. Fuzzy slippers and a glass of white wine help, too.
Who is your favorite fictional character and why? Hermione Granger.  My daughter, Emma, and I read the Harry Potter series together as she was growing up and saw all the movies the day they premiered. While she loves Harry, I admire Hermione’s courage, loyalty and intellect. She’s the best friend you ever have and great role model for girls.
Terrific. What is the best piece of advice you ever received?           “Get off the couch, live your life.” Or something like that from my college-age daughter, Emma.  If it weren’t for her encouraging me to send an email to the network about Dream House, I’d still be on the couch.
Thanks, Beth. Now we’d like to chat with your creator, Ally. What movies or books have had an impact on your career as a writer and why? As a child I was obsessed with Little House on the Prairie, first the television show and then the book series.  With Laura Ingalls Wilder as inspiration, I began keeping a daily diary at the age of eight. Soon, the diary wasn’t enough and I started writing stories and have never stopped.  Every movie or television show that has captivated my attention led me back to the book that inspired it to see how it all began. The process fascinates me.
What event in your private life were you able to bring to this story and how do you feel it impacted the novel? We meet Beth a few years after the tragic death of her husband.  While I’m happy to say my own husband is alive and well, I was able to describe Beth’s anguish from my own experience with loss.  My mother died from cancer when I was twenty-one and about six months after I went through a period similar to Beth’s of wanting to be left alone in my sadness, refusing the support and comfort being offered.  Like Beth, I finally realized being alone was not the answer.  Though I didn’t have a hunky reality show star to help me get off the couch, I had a support system of friends and family for which I’m grateful.
Tell us a bit about your publisher: how did you hear about them and what influenced your decision to submit to them? I’ve been writing for years but didn’t seriously begin querying agents and publishers until four years ago when all my kids were finally in school full time. What a process! I was astonished at how brutal the publishing world could be and soon developed a thick skin for rejections.
          After another round of getting auto-rejections from agents and their assistants, I began researching small publishers. Once I reached out to the small, independent publishers everything changed. I was pleasantly surprised to hear back personally from editors at the Wild Rose Press, including feedback and encouragement. I heard back immediately thanking me for the submission and asking me to wait a few weeks for reply.  I heard back the next day asking for more. A week later I had an offer to contract Reality Re-Do.  My head was spinning, my dream was coming true thanks to the nicest, most supportive and informative group of women anyone could ask for.  A few rounds of edits and ten months later I became a published author.
What project[s] are you working on now? Reality Re-Mix, which continues Beth and Scott’s story, is being reviewed for consideration presently. While I wait to hear about that, I’m putting the finishing touches on Reality Rewind which will be the final installment in the series. It will fill in the past and answer all the questions.
What's up next for you? As Beth and Scott’s story comes to a close I find myself feeling nostalgic for the characters in the full length contemporary novel I originally submitted years ago. I’ve been revisiting them and polishing the manuscript with the experience of now having been through the edit process.  I hope everyone will get a chance to meet them one day.
Kat and I thank Ally Hayes and Beth Franklin for visiting us today and we wish them much luck with this story and those to come!

To purchase Reality Re-Do, go to: and follow the prompts for author search and/or title search.


  1. It sounds like a great story with a mature heroine. I'm calling my sisters ASAP.
    Good luck and great sales for Reality Re-Do.

    1. Thanks so much, I appreciate the support!

  2. It's neat that this will be a three-part series. Congrats on the first release and good luck with the next two.

  3. Great post. Here's wishing you many sales!
    -R.T. Wolfe

  4. Love the premise of this and can't help thinking of that Ty guy from Home Improvement. He's kind of cute... I always love stories of damaged souls finding each other and helping each other to heal. It makes the payoff that much more sweet! Congratulations on your release and may your writing career soar!

  5. Ally, if it's not too late, i think right at the top you misspelled devastating. maybe i misunderstand, just pointing out in case. and death is hard to bear and usually you have to do what you need to do. some people mean well and try to help, others just advise and don't know or really care. but you relate it well and probably makes a good part of the novel.

    1. Thanks you, I will contact my host to see if she can fix it. Thanks also for the kind words, I appreciate it.

    2. the mis-spelling of devastating is my fault, Cotton Sr. Thank you so much for pointing it out.
      Veronica Lynch

  6. Congratulations on your new release and welcome to the garden. Many happy sales!

  7. Congrats on your new book and many happy sales!

  8. Congratulations on your first book, Ally! I wish you much success!! I can't wait to have you on my blog in December. :) And congrats to Beth, too. :D

  9. I am impressed with your blog and your excerpt. TWRP is my publisher, too and they are a joy to work with! Congrats and good luck.

    1. Thank you, Susan. Having a blast so far!

  10. As someone who loves HGTV, I'm very intrigued with your book. Sounds like a great premise for a romance novel! Best of luck with your book.

  11. Hi Ally,

    Congrats on the release of your book. Sounds like a great story. Hope you have great sales. :o)

  12. the response to Ally's visit and her first book is wonderful. Thanks to all who have taken time to comment!
    Best wishes
    Kat Doran and Veronica Lynch

  13. Ditto what Jana said! I love the "love at first hug" description of how the relationship grew. Withing you every success with this terrific tale! --Katie O'Boyle

  14. As others have said, welcome to the garden. Best of luck with your series. Injured souls make for the best characters.

  15. Thank you all, so glad to be in happy place amongst the roses!

  16. I love this premise! Having been a long-time fan of the old Dean-and-Joanne duo on "Hometime", I've already "chosen" what Beth and Scott look like! Good luck with the series!

  17. there's no such thing as developing thick skin about rejections.