Montgomery Beauty Series Book 1
by Stephanie Salvatore
Genre: Contemporary Romance
At seventeen, the local free-spirited, chic Lorelai Castillo loves the community she was born and raised in. With just a summer between her and senior year, she has a big decision to make about joining her father’s legacy or turning her back on the dark and risky organized crime business her parents run.
For Christopher Montgomery, Oroville, California is the hometown he was born and raised in with respect, morals, and responsibility from an early age. In his seventeenth year, on the first day of summer, he woke up feeling a change in the air. Something felt off, different, as if his life would never be the same.
When a new family arrives to the Castillo Yacht Club, Lorelai sets her eyes on the handsome new boy in town. Will Lorelai spend her summer alone? Or will she find a way to heat up the bitter cold Sausalito Nights?
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A soft giggle left my lips. “Nope. You’re the first one. You should feel quite special, Montgomery.”
He chuckled. “Oh, I most definitely do.”
I rubbed my hands over his back gently. “I actually wanted to talk to you about that. As much as I don’t want this to end, we need to talk about the near future and when we’ll see each other without being caught by my parents or anyone that would talk and spread the word around.”
He ran his fingers and hands over my back gently, reaching around and ran his fingers through the ends of my hair. “My schedule is pretty wide open right now. What were you thinking?”
“I have to check which of the boathouses is free, but I figured we could make them our meet up spot? Have our own little getaway out of sight and away from everyone?”
He smiled and pecked my lips. “I love the sound of that. Being away from everyone and taking the natural beauty of this town has been a treat, and even sweeter because it’s with you.”
A wide smile crossed my lips as I gazed up at him. “We can continue discovering the beauty together then. I promised I would break you in easy, and one of the Castillo family values is we don’t break promises.”
- Christopher Montgomery and Lorelai Castillo
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Something unique about me is that I am a die-hard fangirl. You can find me swooning over Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Ian Somerhalder, Miranda Kerr, Paul Wesley, Joseph Morgan, Laura Prepon, Lauren Graham, Scott Patterson and more any day of the week. My fangirl heart swells for all of the pretties.
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
As a die-hard fangirl of not just the show Supernatural, but the actors that make the show possible, I’ve spent the last several years traveling to Fan Conventions. My first convention was in Pasadena, CA in 2015 and I had the absolute time of my life. I came home and decided I needed to start planning another convention immediately and being in the right place at the right time, I snagged myself a second-row gold ticket for the Chicago show.
Fast forward one year later, I had realized that Jared’s Love Yourself First campaign was the perfect motivation for me to change my eating lifestyle and made the bold decision that I was going to ask Jared to write Love Yourself First on a monumental photo of myself at my thinnest figure. With two friends joining me for this convention, I had my support team. The amazing weekend flew by and Sunday night autographs with Jensen and Jared had arrived. I was in line for autos with Jared and I had my photo ready to go. My hands were sweaty, I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, and the anxiety was real. I asked him to sign the photo, or I walk away with regret after I made it through the year waiting for this exact moment.
Getting to the front of the line, I placed down the canvas I wanted him to sign. [The canvas was painted black with the quote, “Driver Picks the Music, Shotgun Shuts His Piehole.” All the other celebrity guests signed it and left the top left and right spots for Jensen and Jared without my asking.] Jared signed the canvas and it was NOW or never.
I said, “Can I ask you a question?”
Me: When you launched Love Yourself First, it really spoke to me regarding changing my eating habits. I tried to amp myself up and I still struggled.
I set the photo down and said, “This is me in 2007, will you please write Love Yourself First on it?”
Jared studied the photo for a moment, and then locked his eyes on mine and said. “Wow! Fuck yeah, I will!”
Overwhelming emotions washed over me, and I gasped. Instant tears hit my eyes as I thanked him. Jared then said, “Keep up the good work.” I walked away and the volunteer was right there at my side. She took me and sat me down and grabbed me a glass of water to help me calm down.
The next day when I came home from Chicago, I knew I had all the motivation to jump-start this lifestyle change. In three short weeks, I lost nearly twenty pounds. I had less than 3 months before I went back to see Jared, and I had decided to take on driving for Uber to pick up extra cash. The first night I began, I was on my third ride and got into a terrible car accident. The car was not drivable, it was towed away, and my lifestyle of Loving Myself First came tumbling over. I spent several weeks dealing with the insurance companies, claims and trying to get myself to work while an infinite amount of regret and debilitating emotions tore me apart.
When it came time to go to New Jersey, I had purchased a new car because mine was totaled and I was ready to get away from it all.
Sunday morning at the convention, I was preparing myself to see Jared once more. Anxiety had hit me hardcore because I felt that I had failed Jared after he did such a nice thing for me by signing that photo. Going into the photo op room for the Jensen and Jared Op with a friend, I set my eyes on the boys and I couldn’t look at them. I glanced and looked away to the wall, floor, ceiling. avoiding all eye contact. I was in a full-blown anxiety attack while my friend explained our photo op pose to them. When the photo was over, Jared looked at me, gave me a cute little smile and said, “Come here,” and gave the biggest bear hug ever! No questions were asked, no explanations were needed, but that hug was EVERYTHING I needed after what I had been through since I saw him last in Chicago.
After working through the motions of the car accident and losing my job when I came home from New Jersey, I’ve tried to apply Love Yourself First in all areas of my life, especially tackling this dream of publishing my first novel.
What are some of your pet peeves?
Some of my pet peeves are liars, unreliable people, broken changes in my very routine lifestyle, and unexpected occurrences whether it be at home or work.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I’ve been blessed enough to travel quite a bit in my thirty-one years, but Cleveland and its stink will always be home.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
If money wasn’t an issue? I would fly my butt to San Francisco and make my first stop Battery Spencer to see the Golden Gate bridge and then continue into Sausalito and enjoy the beauty for all its glory. I would go to the Muir Woods and walk through the Redwood Trees, and try to make my way up over the mountain hiking trails on the Pacific Ocean Coastline.
Who is your hero and why?
Jared Padalecki is my hero. He is so inspiring when it comes to speaking out on mental health, especially at the conventions. I have watched many Q and A panels, and whether he is consoling a crying fan or just speaking out in motivation, or I have a direct memory with him, Jared has inspired me to be a hard-working woman jumping out of massive black holes to chase my dreams. He might not be the direct reason, but his inspiration also pushed me to start working on my mental health and rise from the ashes.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Jared.
“Every point in your life, even if it is tough is something to cherish and be happy about.” Jared Padalecki
“Don’t underestimate your own strength. To persevere. To make it through the most difficult times.” – Jared Padalecki
“Don’t look at things as obstacles, but as steps on a ladder.” – Jared Padalecki
What kind of world ruler would you be?
I would probably use my chain of command to help the hungry, homeless and needy and when that was taken care of, or in between my other important duties, I’d use my powers to reel in all of my favorite hotties for case study purposes in writing the Montgomery Beauty Series.
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about working hard to continue writing the Montgomery Beauty Series. My editor, Kitka Buchanan has graciously taken me under her wings. Book Two is in full swing and I have plans to continue the series beyond Book Two as well. With this series being a work in progress since 2008, it has taken years of work to piece together the characters and their stories. My world is all about the Montgomery Beauty Series now!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Music has complete control of my life. I always have a playlist on in the background whether I am writing, cleaning, waking up and drinking coffee. Music is also my way to unwind and relax.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Sassy, Humorous, Stubborn, Caffeine addict, Crazy
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in elementary school, I had assignments for English that I had to write and I think English was always my favorite subject in school because I loved the art of creating with words. But I don’t think I considered myself a writer until I was twelve. I was hanging with my best friend and we sat in her room and took a couple of notebooks and started to write. From that point forward, my mind was always in another world with imagination and creating stories.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Yes. I have several favorite movies. Big Daddy probably hits the top of the list but I also love Mean Girls, The Twilight Series, The Hunger Games, and the Divergent Movies. The series definitely hit a top tier but I’ve watched Big Daddy so many times, I know it line for line and I saw Mean Girls in theatres six times when it came out.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I have pictured the Montgomery Beauty series becoming a film adaptation [whether it’s a TV show or a series of movies] from the beginning.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
In Fall of 2017, I went on a writing retreat at South Bass Island on Lake Erie for a Writing Retreat at a cottage on the island. Besides the writing coach, there was two other women and another gentleman. The weekend was filled with social gathering with one common purpose. We were all writers. It was remote, educating, and the perfect setting to get some writing done.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
There is an orange dinosaur sticker on Facebook messenger, and I have referred to that cute little guy as my spirit animal to many friends.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve had characters built for this series since August of 2008. Hannah and Hayley were the first characters, and Lorelai and Chris are their parents. I never thought Lorelai and Chris would get their story but an opportunity came along to write a misfit couples story for an anthology and I decided that Chris and Lorelai would headline it. Unfortunately, the story told me I couldn’t continue with placing with the anthology. It wasn’t finished, and I was at my word count limit.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Between the Raindrops, Montgomery Beauty Book Two is in the midst of being created and written, it may be a two-part novel, but it’ll still be in the same series.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
For Lorelai and Chris? No. I did write and finish a very futuristic story to the Montgomery Beauty Series in 2017. Then I realized it was too far in the future, but I will probably eventually release that novel.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Sausalito Nights?
Sure. Lorelai Castillo grew up in a big Italian family. Her parents and other family members are all apart of an Italian Mob business called the Castillo Syndicate. Living and breathing the details of the business from her parents and siblings, she picked up on the risks her parents took. Lorelai has a big decision to make in her 17th year, she joins the risky family business or turns her back and walks out on the opportunity forever.
Christopher Montgomery comes from a small tight-knit family. His parents and grandparents are all he has, but it’s enough. Chris was raised with morals and responsibilities. This young man is as charming as they come and wise beyond his years after watching his mother and father’s relationship grow through thick and thin while he grew up. His father worked in the Montgomery family construction business, but his work never stopped when he came home from work. He would spend quality time with family, work around the house, or on the cars
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
When I was trying to figure out what Lorelai’s last name, I went searching through the world wide web for the last name. I already had the Castillo family in place and when none of the last names I found through research clicked. I asked myself, what if Lorelai was a Castillo? The rest is history.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
My inspiration for Lorelai and Chris came from Lorelai and Luke on Gilmore Girls. I knew I needed to make them my own characters, but I knew exactly what I wanted Lorelai and Chris to be like as parents for Hannah, Hayley and their older brother Nathan.
For Luciana, I wanted another L name, and when I found the name, it was an easy grab.
Marie is based on my best friend who is really from Oroville, CA. [And the fictional character isn’t too far from the actual person.]
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Developing a risky forbidden relationship with the Italian Mob drama factor playing in the background.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
For Lorelai, her caffeine addiction. She also loves having her freedom. She grew up in a rough situation with the family business surrounding her home at the Castillo Yacht Club, so any kind of adventure to take her away from her home life is what drives her.
For Christopher, he’s a bit of a home body. He loves helping around the house. Whether he is helping his Father work on repairing the family wheels, or getting his hands dirty to fix something around the house. He also values family camping trips and going to Napa to visit his grandparents at the Montgomery Vineyard.
Some of these details are not shown in Sausalito Nights, but the details are what make them who they are.
The romance between Lorelai and Chris that develops drives them deep!
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
I knew that the relationship was going to be forbidden, and most forbidden affair meetings occur late in the night. Lorelai was an inspiration as much as the town of Sausalito. I knew I wanted the story to take place around San Francisco because I have a fascination for bridges and the Golden Gate makes the top ten list. Sausalito Nights came to me and stuck easily.
Who designed your book covers?
The very talented JM Walker, owner of Just Write Creations and Services. She also did the formatting.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I love it the way it is, but if I could’ve included the operation of the Syndicate more, I would have. I figured that could be a motive for a sister series, digging deep on the Castillo’s dark operations.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I learned that storyline development is hard without alpha readers. I will definitely be utilizing my alpha’s more for book two. Also, that my characters control everything!
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Lauren Graham and Scott Patterson, hands down.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Get ready for a wild ride. The chemistry of MontAstillo will pull you in, give you ALL the feels and break you, just to put you back together again afterward. You might not have the same soul when you’re finished. Pay CLOSE attention to the ending!
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The instantaneous connection between Lorelai and Chris. Their dialogue stabs me in all the feels.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
Oh, it would definitely be Lorelai and Marie. We’d set sail on the San Francisco Bay and go run amuck in the Muir Woods!
I would’ve said Chris, but Lorelai might stab me in my sleep if I had. Haha!
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Marie is based off one of my best friends, all the others came entirely from imagination.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? Convince us why you feel your book is a must-read.
I believe the characters and I worked together for the most part. One of the characters hijacked my brain at the VERY last second when I was finishing the story.
These characters will pull you into their world inside of Sausalito. The romance will pull you in, and the drama will leave your jaw hanging. It’s a dark and curvy road and you won’t see what’s coming at the end. It’ll hit you in the face like a deer in headlights, or a smack in the face when you actually realize what’s going on.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I wrote a futuristic story that could be included in this series, and book two was supposed to be apart of an anthology as well. As thankful as I was for the opportunity in two different anthologies, the universe had a different plan for me.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Cedarwood, and something sexy.
What did you edit out of this book?
I do not think anything major was edited out.
What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?
All of the Harry Potter Books – JK Rowling
Pretty Little Liars – Sara Shepard
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
Anything Nicholas Sparks
I used to read Danielle Steele A LOT in High School. Love her books!
We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
What book do you think everyone should read?
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for about twenty years.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I’m a plotter. So I develop my characters and their storylines before I write.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
Location, sceneries of the location. I’ll watch youtube videos of the area and try to get a solid grasp on what it’s like. Vocational research for certain careers.
Do you see writing as a career?
I wish it could be my only career, but I do consider it my second full-time job because I put a ton of time into everything between plotting, writing, and marketing on social media.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I do love to read, but I don’t do it as much as I used to or as much as I would like too. I’m planning to buy a Kindle Paperwhite and see if that changes the e-book reading experience.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I must write with music in the background on; it pulls me into the scene.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I write one book at a time, but I also have a timeline of storyline development for several novels after this one.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
Harry Potter, because the imagination of JK Rowling is out of this world!
Pen or typewriter or computer?
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Katniss Everdeen. You are shown a girl who lives through so many struggles in district twelve. She has a fierce protection over her baby sister and the strength she has against the capital is admirable in more ways than one.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
According to my mother, my imagination has always been overactive. I took it to heart and when I discovered how much I loved writing, I kept working at it until I had the confidence and the means to pursue publishing.
A day in the life of the author?
A day in my life as an author? Well. I work night shift and I have a ton of downtime. So, I sleep most of the daylight away, wake up, get coffee, catch up on social media, start shenanigans with my fan group on Facebook, and then when I get to work, and I’m settled in for the night, I’ll turn my music on and write as much as humanly possible. There are also times when I’m at work in the mornings chugging along through our routines and my tunes are playing and my characters show me what they want through the lyrics of a song. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.
The advice they would give new authors?
Never give up. If this is your dream, keep working at it. Read, write, take your imagination to the ends of the earth and use Facebook for an outlet on connecting with other Authors and all resources to become a published author. The world of social media is an author’s best friend because you have everything at your fingertips.
Describe your writing style.
I used to write third person omniscient. I have just recently switched to the first-person point of view in the last year or so and I was surprised at how easy it was to transition. I can really get inside the character’s heads when I’m writing from the first person. Emotions become stronger, sceneries become more vivid, touch becomes more personable. It’s a very different experience.
Glitz and glamour is my best friend when it comes to writing. For most of the Montgomery Beauty characters, they all come from a rich background. I place a lot of what I can’t or don’t have into my characters and storylines. [Besides for the Mafia, that’s just my inner demon laughing like an evil buffoon!]
Last but not least, I am a sucker for jaw-dropping drama and cliffhangers. [Cliffhangers can be an art when left at the end of a chapter too. ?]
What makes a good story?
-Well-rounded characters with a solid background.
-Drama of any kind.
-A sudden event that draws you in and you can’t put it down.
What are they currently reading?
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What are common traps for aspiring writers?
I have a giant timeline, and from the timeline, I’ll outline chapters. Sometimes when going back through, I’ll realize that something else needs to happen to make the story complete and with Sausalito Nights, it occurred more than once.
Common traps for aspiring writers is having a plot lined up and having another ARC of the story come to you. Having plans for your characters, and suddenly one of those characters becomes the devil and you have to listen to them!
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I deliver what the characters have given me. These characters in the series are very defined in what their personalities are like, and while there were a few brand new characters added into Sausalito Nights, my original characters stayed true to who they were.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
Never give up your dreams! When your computer crashes, the writer in you will be shocked back to life eventually. If someone pushes you into a brick wall and a hard place, use your resources soon rather than later. It’ll prevent devastation of thinking this publishing dream was over!
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I really don’t have an issue writing the opposite sex. I’ve studied fan-favorite characters and write fanfiction in my free time and I think I’ve wrapped my head around it pretty well.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I started Sausalito Nights on Memorial Day of 2018 and had the 80K novel finished shortly after October 15th but Montgomery Beauty has been a WIP since August of 2008.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes. It happens with burnouts and when you’ve worked extremely hard on novels and lose them because of a computer crash. The devastation of losing work you’ve worked so hard on is probably almost worse than writer’s block, it still haunts every corner of my mind.
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