If you read my cover reveal post for Big Girls Need Love Too, you know that this is a book I wrote a while ago, and that it’s not like my Devils Ranch Series. In preparation for the release day, I wanted to give a little bit of a “behind the scenes” look at this book because I want to make sure reader expectations are met.

First, though, I wanted to share with y’all the full cover for the trade paperback version. I have to say I’m absolutely in love with it.

BookCover5x8_BW_330_lighterbg_2So now that we’ve got that out of the way (okay, so I’ve been having a hard time not looking at that cover since it was completed last week), let’s move on, shall we?

Like I mentioned previously, this is an older book, written long before the Devils Ranch Series was even a thought in my brain. Because of that, I did have to make some revisions–like changing flip phones to smart phones, making sure some places were even still in business, and even changing the soundtrack in places. I finished it in early 2008, so the original finished product reflected that (Molly just has a weird love of early 2000s music is all *g*). Luckily, those were all easy enough changes to make (and I really hope I didn’t miss any, but if I did I’m sure someone will catch it and let me know, right? *wink*).

Big Girls Need Love Too came from a very personal place inside of me. At the time, there really weren’t any plus-size heroines in romance, and as a bigger girl myself that began to bother me. Sure, I would read about heroines who had once been plus-size and had lost a bunch of weight and were now thin and THAT is where their love story began. It irked me, because love isn’t just for thin people. Everybody needs love, no matter their body type.

If you’ve ever struggled with body image issues (and really, I think most women have at one point or another–and yes, even thin women have body image issues), you can probably relate to Molly. Because she struggles. Like I did at her age (and honestly, in the book she’s the same age I was while writing the book, because that was what I related to), Molly struggles with liking herself and learning to love herself, and believing that she deserves love despite what she’s been told in the past.

And Molly’s been told a lot of things. Most of them not very pretty.

So at the very heart of Big Girls Need Love Too is a story about the heroine’s journey–Molly’s journey of self-acceptance and yes, love. But she has to learn to love and value herself first.

Is there a romance? Oh, absolutely. It’s through seeing herself through someone else’s eyes that she begins to see herself differently, in a better way. It’s not all because of him, but like in real life, he does play a role. Because let’s face it–knowing someone else sees you as beautiful makes you look at yourself a little differently. Having someone who unequivocally thinks you’re beautiful and so, so worthy of love makes you open your eyes and your heart and your mind so that maybe you, too, can see what that other person sees.

That’s not really that different from most romance novels, though, right? There’s always that black moment, and then there’s always that moment when one or both of the characters realizes that maybe their view is a bit skewed and maybe the other has had it right all along. Opening yourself up to love means being vulnerable and opening yourself up to pain, but doing so is one of the bravest things we can do–especially for anyone who’s ever been led to believe time and time again that they don’t deserve love for one reason or another.

So it’s a romance, but it’s also a little bit of women’s fiction. Or maybe it’s women’s fiction with a little bit of romance (or, rather, a decent amount of romance). Maybe it’s both. I’ve been told before that it bends genres, and that’s one thing that’s held me back from publishing it. I mean, how the hell do you market and properly label and categorize something that bends genres and can fit into either one? And it can fit into either genre, because it does have a happy ending and it is all about the heroine’s journey.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here and break down into some real talk, y’all: this book is highly personal. I’ve always used writing as a form of therapy–ever since I was a kid–but this book? Holy crap. This book was THERAPY. And I was in actual therapy at the time, so I totally know what therapy really is. This book was it. In so many ways, this book was healing for me. Writing Molly’s story helped me to see so many things about my OWN story that I hadn’t understood before–that I needed love, too, and that I deserved to be treated better than I had been in the past.

I guess–oh, hell, let’s be honest here, I know–that I hope that when you read this book in a few weeks (or months or years, whenever you get around to it, really) and that if you’ve been struggling that Molly’s story gives you hope. Because it is hopeful. It’s sad at times, but in the end, it’s hopeful. Because big girls do need love too–and that ultimately means big girls of all shapes and sizes because we all deserve love. I’m not egotistical enough to think I can change the world with a book, that my Molly can help dozens upon dozens of other women begin to love themselves, too. But I’m hopeful that there will at least be a connection. That Molly will resonate. And that maybe, one day, we can all jump off this roller coaster of self-hatred and love ourselves as we are rather than what other people tell us we should be.

At the very least, I hope I make people laugh and cry (that probably sounds mean, but there are a couple of scenes where I honestly hope people DO cry because that means I did my job and I did it well), and that they enjoy Molly’s journey and love her as much as I do.

At any rate, keep checking back over the next couple of weeks as I’ll start posting teasers and excerpts leading up to the release.

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