by Catherine Lanigan
Austin’s character is actually taken from a real-life person I knew who has passed away. This man was my English teacher in high school and he encouraged me a great deal. He was a bachelor and once told our class that he’d been in love once and was literally left standing on the altar, alone—the bride abandoned him. He never got over her. He lived his life alone and became a recluse. He retired from teaching and in later years, rode his bicycle around town and he came to my book signings over the years. He amassed a great many first editions and signed books over the years. When he died, the estate sold the books at auction and brought nearly three million dollars.
I admired him a great deal and have always been thankful to him for his encouragement. I also always wondered what would have happened if that woman had come back to town and tried to make amends. What if they had gotten back together? Married? Would he have been as out-going as he’d been when I knew him? What kind of life would he have had?
I also wanted Austin’s world to be set on its ear each time Katia showed up. He is ten when she and her mother come to live in the mansion with the McCreary family. One day he is an only child—the next day—there’s an inquisitive eight-year-old pesky girl living in the same house. She is like the spring gale winds—a tornado—to him. When she is around, everything changes, because she challenges him at every turn. Their teen love is based on friendship. He teaches her to play tennis and she teaches him to deeply appreciate the finer things that his wealthy lifestyle affords him—like his education. Katia consoles him after his father dies. It is Katia who understands his pain and his loneliness. She is amazingly wise for her young years and she sees first hand, how difficult it is to be “the rich kid”. When her mother is terrified that their young attraction to each other might jeopardize her future, Katia is whisked out of town nearly overnight. Austin’s life is damaged forever— until she shows up at his presentation meeting to the city council for his antique car museum. Just like a tornado, she sweeps into his house and alters his life irrevocably—again.
Catherine Lanigan is the bestselling author of over thirty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, “Chocolate for a Woman’s Heart”, Chocolate for a Woman’s Spirit”. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into over a dozen languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available on audio-cassette, CD and on electronic format. A prolific writer, she is always writing wonderful stories. She has several titles only available in ebook format on Amazon.com Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine for December, 2002, and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference. In March, 2006 Divine Nudges: Tales of Angelic Intervention and the second in Lanigan’s Angel Watch series of books, was published by HCI, the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher.