Don’t Forget Me is my first reunited lovers book. The hero, Nando Avrogado, and the heroine, Kit Maldonado, were together in a previous Konigsburg book, Long Time Gone. But I always wanted to do more with them—they were a couple of those secondary characters whose stories seem to be worth telling. But if they’re still together, there’s not much story to tell, so sorry guys, had to break you up!
I’m not alone in this, of course. A lot of authors have played with the reunited lovers theme. Jennifer Crusie does it in Maybe This Time, where the hero and heroine have actually been divorced and come together again through trying to foil some particularly nasty ghosts. Susan Elizabeth Phillips does it in Fancy Pants where the first half of the book shows the hero and heroine meeting and parting and the second half shows them reuniting. And of course there are all those historicals where hero and heroine are actually married and parted and reunited, like Eloisa James’s charming This Duchess of Mine.
The tricky thing about reuniting the hero and heroine is finding a credible reason for them to have been apart in the first place. If either has been too dastardly, it becomes hard for you to reunite them (unless, of course, the dastardly one has now reformed and wants desperately to be forgiven). On the other hand, if the event that drove them apart seems too trivial, you doubt their ability to commit. There’s got to be a legitimate reason for them to have broken up, but not something so awful that you just can’t see them ever getting together again.
In the case of Kit and Nando, the precipitating event was cheating, which is a sort of standard way to break things up. But I didn’t want Nando to be one of those guys who just can’t seem to settle down. In their case, the breakup came after a series of increasingly bitter fights as they came closer to the date when Kit was due to return to school from her time in Konigsburg. I’ve seen that happen—I think most of us have. As couples approach a turning point, the stress makes them break apart. A casual affair with somebody else is a way to escape making the real decision.
So now having broken them apart (bad author, bad, bad author), how do you bring them together again? Again, a lot depends on the couple themselves. You don’t want to create a situation where either of them has just too much to forgive. Otherwise, you wonder just why your hero or heroine is such a wimp. In Don’t Forget Me, both Nando and Kit struggle against getting together again largely because they’re both afraid of being hurt after they managed to heal (more or less). Both have told themselves they’ve moved on, but neither one really has. In their case, they’re brought together by a song, “You Don’t Know Me,” and a dance. And, of course, by the torches they’re carrying for each other that are bright enough to light Carlsbad Caverns.
So, of course, they do reunite—this is romance, after all, not Annie Hall or 500 Days of Summer. Here’s the blurb: