Annabeth is a hopeless romantic who believes in soul mates. In fact, she’s been writing to hers each year on her birthday since she was sixteen.
Now, at 34, she’s still holding out hope of finding Mr. Right even though he’d be fighting an uphill battle to gain her trust, thanks to a traumatic experience years before that’s left her unable to commit.
When Annabeth meets a handsome literature professor named Alex on her 34th birthday, she thinks her quest may finally be at an end. Things don’t quite go as planned, so Annabeth resolves to do everything she can over the next year to find the unknown recipient of her letters. But blind dates, Meetup events and online singles sites have nothing on what fate has in store for her when a co-worker unexpectedly quits and Annabeth finds herself working in close quarters with both Alex and her long ago ex, Nick. Fighting her attraction to one and loathing for the other, Annabeth is forced to face all of her old insecurities while keeping an eye on a scheming frienemy who may derail her hopes and dreams.
Written in the tradition of Bridget Jones' Diary, Kim Gruenfelder’s A Total Waste of Makeup, and Melissa Pimental’s Love By The Book, it shows that love on the sweet side can exist for the modern girl, if only she’s willing to trust herself and search hard enough.
Been Searching for You was the winner of the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
On inspiration, characters, and themes
by Nicole Evelina
I never thought I’d write a romance. I actually swore I’d never write romance because I really disliked romance books for a long time – until I realized what I really hated was certain types of romance. Others are pretty darn good.
But I still had one pet peeve: most heroines, especially in romantic comedies, are under 30. If there’s a wedding involved, it’s “OMG, I’m going to be 30 and not married!” As a 36-year-old single girl, allow me to smack you. So, what did I do? I went and wrote my own love story, one for those of us who are over 30 *gasp*, still single and still romantics at heart. I wrote it because I wanted to write the happily ever after I haven’t yet experienced.
The book came to life because of the Civil Wars songs “To Whom it May Concern” and “Dust to Dust,” both of which my best friend introduced me to. They seem to be bookends to a love story to me, so I swore I’d write a book that began with the words “To Whom it May Concern” and ended with the words “Dust to Dust.” And I did.
The characters mean so much to me.
Annabeth was the first to arrive in my head. Plop. There she was. She’s very much like me in many ways. We’re both single, hopeless romantics with trust issues, but for very different reasons. Her letter writing is fictional, but it’s something I *wish* I’d done.
Alex is a combination of all of my favorite traits from the men I know. In constructing him, I asked myself what I’ve learned that I like in men from every guy I know. So his humor came from one person, his sense of style from another, his graciousness from one more, but his love of education actually comes from a combination of me and my aunt who is a mathematician. He’s an anti-alpha male fantasy man.
Mia is the frienemy we’ve all either had or witnessed. She’s partially based in reality, but also blown totally out of proportion for the sake of the story. She’s almost like a reverse fantasy. She’s your rich bitch worst nightmare of a friend; you want to trust her, and sometimes you can, but when she’s out for you, watch out.
Nick was so much fun. He came into my head with the attitude, so I had to give him the looks to match it. He’s a player who wants to be the big man, the important one. And he connives to get there, but doesn’t quite have what it takes to pull it off. He and Mia are alike in many ways, only he has humbler roots and a smaller bank account.
Miles is like my dream best friend. He’s charming and sweet, funny and always there, but without the commitment of a boyfriend/husband. He’s a truly great guy who isn’t modeled on anyone in particular, yet is likely the guy everyone will love.
The themes are really about trust and believing in true love, holding out for that person you know is out there, no matter how long it takes. I chose trust because it’s something I have an issue with and I know many other women do as well, so that helps make the story relatable. Their situations may not be related to sex like Annabeth’s is, but whatever they are, they were traumatic. Getting over that is so important to growing as a person and being able to have a strong long-term relationship with another person. Believing in true love and holding out for the person you know is meant for you are things I espouse in my life and I feel like more women should know its okay. You can have high standards and not settle. Forget what society says and do what’s right for you.
About the Author:
Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year, she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.
Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.