Michelle Smart‘s new book The Secret Behind the Greek’s Return stars a hero who has returned from the dead. We caught up with her to find out more about writing this story and what readers can expect…
A long time before I started writing The Secret Behind the Greek’s Return, a scene conjured itself in my mind of a beautiful heroine at her engagement party. She feels sick. She knows she can’t marry her fiancé, even if it is only a business arrangement, and is trying to pick the right moment to tell him. Hundreds of guests surround them. A hush falls. The guests part and a figure is revealed. The heroine thinks she’s hallucinating. The figure steps closer. The heroine realises she isn’t seeing things. The figure standing before her is the man she should be marrying. The man she loves. The father of her son. A man who just happens to be dead…
And that was it. That one scene became The Secret Behind the Greek’s Return.
I’ve always loved the emotional drama that comes from a book in which a hero or heroine is presumed dead but then, surprise! they’re alive. Often it’s for reasons beyond their control, but when it’s because they’ve deliberately faked their death then that’s a whole new layer of emotion and betrayal to unpick. How does someone cope when they’ve lost a person they love deeply, have mourned and felt the pain of their loss every waking moment only to discover the whole thing was a lie? How do they deal with the knowledge that they weren’t trusted or thought enough of to be spared the pain of believing the other person dead?
That’s what Marisa Lopez, my heroine, has to deal with.
Marisa loved Nikos Manolas beyond reason. His death at sea devastated her. She only found the strength to pick herself up when she discovered she was pregnant with his child. She’s grieved him, and now he’s back, a ghost in solid form, and the joy of his return is shattered by the knowledge that all the pain she’s suffered was deliberate. How can she forgive a betrayal that fundamental?
And what drives someone to fake their own death in the first place? Nikos, my hero (although Marisa, once she realises he’s not actually dead, might disagree with calling him heroic), felt he had no choice but to die. Things had become too dangerous for him and too dangerous for anyone with a connection to him and he needed to be thought dead to sort it. Is that a forgivable reason? And is it forgivable not to tell the woman you’re in a relationship with and who you know loves you? Or is it a convenient excuse to end a relationship that’s suffocating you without having to bother with the whole ‘It’s not you, it’s me,’ business?
The biggest question of all is would Nikos have come back to Marisa and told her the truth of his resurrection if he hadn’t discovered she’d had his child…?
The answers to these questions are all contained in The Secret Behind the Greek’s Return! I really hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!