Claire Marti had always longed to write a book, but life got in the way.
Various careers, including as a fitness instructor in the North County area, took precedence over the Leucadia woman’s passion for writing. But in January 2010, when Marti was diagnosed with breast cancer, books and stories overtook her life once again.
“For me, my biggest escape, if it wasn’t yoga or working out, was reading and escaping into another world for a while,” she said. “I like romances because you know they have a happy ending.”
She set her mind to begin her writing career, and began steadily focusing on it when she moved to Denver for two years for her husband’s job.
“All of a sudden, it was cold outside and I didn’t have any friends,” she said. “So I found myself with time to just sit down and write.”
Marti, who still teaches yoga and pilates classes, will release her first book, Second Chance in Laguna, on March 31.
The 200-page story follows a woman who gets left behind at the altar by her fiance, who she learns has been cheating on her. She moves to Laguna Beach to write a novel and start over with no intention to date, but ends up meeting a man who could tempt her otherwise.
Regarding her choice of location for the book, Marti said the city in coastal Orange County is unique, romantic and does not feel commercial. She also said it holds a special place in her heart since her husband proposed there.
Marti described Second Chance in Laguna as the perfect book to read while at the beach, by the pool or on an airplane.
“It’s kind of funny, it’s light, it’s not a big literary novel,” she said. “It’s more of, here’s your escape for a few hours, especially if you’ve ever been really rejected or cheated on. You’re really cheering for her to get over it and find a happy ending.”
She said the writing process — which took about six months — was cathartic because she could pull from personal experiences.
She remembered how it felt to be cheated on by an ex-partner.
“It was easy to pull up those emotions of when you look at the cell phone bill, and you see someone else’s number a bunch of times,” she said.
Marti said she was encouraged by other authors at conventions a few years ago to submit her stories into writing contests. She ended up winning first and third place in two of them.
She signed her book contract with The Wild Rose Press in March 2016.
Second Chance in Laguna is the first in Marti’s Finding Forever in Laguna series, with the other two books featuring characters introduced in the debut.
Marti said she has already finished writing the second book and has written a first draft of the third book.
She also plans to write and release historical fiction books, as well as a larger hardback novel focusing on a romance set in 1920s Paris.
“I purposely decided to do the contemporaries first because I wanted to master my craft, get my feet wet and learn as I go,” she said. “I wasn’t ready to sit down and write the epic novel yet.”
A public launch party for Second Chance in Laguna is scheduled for April 6 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Stratford House Salon and Spa, 1408 Stratford Court in Del Mar. Champagne, wine, cupcakes and snacks will be served.
Second Chance in Laguna is available for pre-order at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Wild Rose Press, iBooks and Kobo in paperback and e-book editions.
For more information, visit www.clairemarti.com