This was originally written for my friend Maggie Blackbird’s blog, and posted in November 2018.
STRICKEN: Love deserves a second chance.
Good day everyone. I’m V.J. Allison, and today, I’m interviewing Ewan Campbell. He’s the hero of Stricken, my debut novel, which is set in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He’s also a member of the Campbell Oil family, and was heir to that empire until he decided a career in real estate on the east coast was more to his liking.
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VJ: What made you decide to go into real estate over something else, like medicine or architecture?
EWAN: I was always good at convincing people to do things my way, so selling anything came natural to me. I love photography and cars, but they are more hobbies than a career path for me. I didn’t want to be heir to the Campbell empire; just a regular guy who made his own way in the world.
VJ: Why Nova Scotia? The province has had a lot of rough times in the last twenty years, and the real estate market is not doing well at the moment.
EWAN: My father’s family is originally from Nova Scotia, and I thought it would be interesting to see where we came from. I had planned on going back home after the trip, but I liked it here so much, I stayed. It felt more like home to me than Calgary ever did. I like a challenge, and there is none better than being successful in a market that’s not doing well overall.
VJ: Why did you continue working for Miranda after she made it clear you had a target on your back from the start? You two are like siblings now, but it must have been awful.
EWAN: I stayed because liked her husband, Ralph. He made working at Hutchinson Real Estate easier for me, especially after it came out I was seeing Marti. Knowing Marti was waiting for me at the end of the day kept me going.
VJ: What first attracted you to Marti?
EWAN: *chuckles* I can’t really pinpoint what made me look at her twice. She was so damn shy back then. I thought she was cute, but that’s not it. Something about her that made me want to become a better person, for her sake. I didn’t care if barely acknowledged me at first, I thought she was amazing. She made me be myself when we were together, instead of a detached person.
VJ: Detached? As in not sharing much about yourself?
EWAN: Members of the Campbell family have kept their emotions and actions within certain limits, especially in public. It’s been that way since before my grandfather’s time. I hated it. It’s more honest if you’re able to share how much you’re hurting, or if you’re in love with someone. I could only do it if I was dating someone, probably because I wasn’t in love with them. Marti changed that, because I fell for her hard.
VJ: Marti ending the relationship without saying why must have been a horrible blow. We know she had been pulling back for a while before it actually happened, but we never found out how it ended.
EWAN: It was the worst day of my life. I went to visit her at her apartment near Acadia University, but she didn’t want me there. We had a huge fight because she started telling me I wasn’t right for her, and she handed me the ring.
VJ: How did you feel on the drive home?
EWAN: It took me four hours to complete a normally 90-minute drive. I don’t remember much on the way home, other than stopping often and noticing a lake near the road.
*takes a really deep breath and grimaces* I wanted to sink into the lake and stay there.
VJ: What stopped you from drowning yourself?
EWAN: I think it was my parents. I’m their only child because Mom wasn’t able to have any more children after me. She had problems getting pregnant, and had a few miscarriages. I didn’t want to hurt them.
My family is deeply religious, and believe suicide is a sin. I didn’t want to disappoint my grandmother. She and I are extremely close, and she’s endured much sadness lately.
I wanted another chance with Marti too. I couldn’t give up without knowing why she decided she no longer wanted to marry me.
VJ: If you and Marti do not get back together, what will you do?
EWAN: *takes a deep breath and closes his eyes for a moment* I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’ve done since we broke up – be the best person I can be, help Miranda and Ralph with the company, keep training others, and hope my parents live a long time.
VJ: Do you see yourself getting married to someone else if you don’t get back with Marti?
EWAN: I can’t see myself married to anyone else, even though my grandfather is pushing me to start looking. Naturally, my parents are pressing me to marry and have children.
VJ: Why not just have a child with someone without marriage?
EWAN: My family prefers the parents of a child to be married or at least engaged at the time of the birth.
VJ: Were there any children born outside of marriage in your family?
EWAN: I’m not aware of any.
VJ: You and Marti had unprotected sex a year after you two broke up. Do you think she had gotten pregnant?
EWAN: If she did, Grandfather will have a fit. I’ll hear it for being “stupid” and Marti will either lose the child thanks to his long reach, or she’ll have to marry me to keep the baby. Not that I’d complain if we were married, I’m still in love with her, but I’d rather she wasn’t blackmailed into marrying me.
VJ: Thank you for your time.
STRICKEN: Love deserves a second chance.
BLURB: Ewan Campbell once thought he had it all – he was a rising star in the real estate field, popular with his peers, and engaged to his employer’s cousin, the shy and quiet little Marti Marlowe.
A heartbeat later, he was alone – shattered, confused and suicidal. Why had Marti walked away from him?
Years later, in another place, and a new chapter of Ewan’s life, fate brings them face to face again.
They start building a friendship, but Ewan wants more. He wants Marti as his wife, and she seems to prefer their current status as friends.
Can he convince her that taking another chance at their failed future will be the start of the best part of their lives?