The Story Behind Oliver Sand

The Story Behind Oliver Sand

(The following article debuted on Rose’s Book Blog in 02/2014.)


Many of my readers have found a new kind of romantic “book boyfriend” in Oliver Sand. Though Cate is the heart of the book and definitely who most of my female readers feel most connected or relate to, it is the allure of Oliver that often yields the most feedback. His origin is amusing. The book exists because of Oliver. I happened to be flipping through some entertainment web pages and I stumbled upon an actor I’d never seen before nor heard of. And I was immediately captivated. Who was this guy? I started seeking movies that he appeared in, watching him in action. And it was like I knew immediately: I wanted to write about this man. Never before in my entire life had I experienced such an odd creative epiphany of sorts.

I have not nor will I share the name of my “muse” for Oliver Sand, but I can tell you that it was that vision that led me to write my first scene. In doing so, Cate was born as his counterpart, and like so many things, the further I explored and wove a story, the more I realized Cate was the main thread of it but Oliver was technically the catalyst that got the whole creative process flowing. To this day, whenever I stumble over the actor appearing on a TV show or in a movie, I get a little warm, fuzzy feeling for him because he is my Oliver Sand. And I’ve chosen to keep his identity hidden because I want every person reading this book to see their Oliver, whomever they would like to imagine in that romantic role – Cate, too, for that matter. That’s actually why I went the direction I did with the cover. I didn’t want to plant images of the two leads in my readers’ heads.

As I was writing the book, I stared at photos of the two actors, my original Oliver inspiration and an actress who I came to know and think of as my Cate. It helped me tremendously as I wrote about them, but I will not reveal their names because I think the most valuable joy in reading is the freedom of using our own imagination, and I wouldn’t want to rob a reader of that joy.In creating the character of Oliver Sand, I certainly wanted to build a man who felt and looked contemporary, but it also was more important to introduce a romantic hero that maybe readers hadn’t met before in today’s romance novels. He is not the bad boy or the rocker or the misunderstood, intense millionaire executive. Yes, he is a knockout, his good looks and charm are indisputable, and the boy does like his motorcycle and showcases proudly a bit of ink. But that’s where the similarities stop. Oliver is a poet. He may be an actor by trade, but he has the heart and soul of a romantic, and I deliberately wanted to infuse in him almost an old-fashioned quality that you might expect in a classic 30s or 40s Hollywood romantic comedy. I have been thrilled to hear readers are captivated by that unexpected retro feel he exudes through his language, his gestures and his words of love.

For some, he might not be outrageous or scandalous enough, but I truly believe that at the heart of most women, we really want a caring, tender and thoughtful lover who also has the ability to make us drip in anticipation each time he peels away his clothes or ours and goes out of his way to find new ways to reach our heart and stimulate us emotionally as well as physically. That’s what I’ve tried to create with Oliver Sand, and based on reader feedback so far, he seems to have his own legion of admirers, and I couldn’t be happier about it.  ~  Chris

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