If you were a fan of the hit sitcom “Friends,” you remember when Phoebe excitedly carried her brother’s triplets as a surrogate. As we watched the story unfold, we asked ourselves whether we would do the same – would we carry our sibling’s child to help make their dreams come true?
That’s the question at the heart of “Happily Ever Before,” a new novel from co-authors Melissa Peterman and Aimee Pitta that explores the relationship between two sisters as they navigate a surrogate pregnancy.
Clair and Grace are complete opposites. Clair has a structure, well-planned life and has hit all her milestones. Career? Check. Husband? Check. But “baby” is proving harder to check off the list.
Her sister Grace is taking a more meandering approach to life – bouncing between jobs and boyfriends. But when Clair and her husband Henry realize they need to find a surrogate, Grace steps up to the plate and accepts the job.
The inspiration for the book stemmed from a combination of ideas between Peterman and Pitta. Since both writers work in the film industry, the first thought was to develop a TV series.
“Melissa and I always wanted to write something together. We were working on some different ideas and when we hit upon this one, we toyed with making it a series, but thought we could really get around the story better and get more in depth with the characters if we made a novel,” says Pitta.
Both women have impressive resumes. Peterman is best known for playing Barbara Jean on the TV series Reba, and is currently the host of CMT’s The Singing Bee. Pitta has worked as a freelance producer and copywriter for films like Crazy Stupid Love, The Blind Side, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Amazing Spiderman.
With so many different experiences between the two, some of the plot must have been drawn from their own experiences. Pitta says, “Have I ever experienced the extreme? Luckily, no, but it is something I’ve thought about, absolutely. And if it was needed I’d like to think I had what it takes to step up to the plate and take one for the family.”
When asked if there was a specific character that she related most to, Pitta responded that all the characters reflected bits of her and Melissa’s personalities. The important part was that all the characters were relatable and no one was hated. For example, the character of Clair’s mother-in-law is “snooty, but loveable, and Melissa cracked that code.”
We won’t ruin the ending, but we will say that there’s certainly room for a sequel!
As Pitta says, “Melissa and I have to discuss if we’re actually going to take the plunge and write a second book, but we have set it up so the story can continue.”
We absolutely loved this new book, and we think you will too! Learn more online and check it out for yourself!