A lot of people have asked me about the inspiration for Playing the Player, especially the nanny part of the story. It’s not an easy question for me to answer, because in some ways, this story seemed to magically drop into my writer brain, like a gift from the creative universe. Slade, especially, showed up fully formed in my imagination, cocky and gorgeous, with two spazzy kids clamoring for his attention.
However, lately I’ve thought a lot about my own misadventures as a teen babysitter, and it’s possible they informed this story in subconscious ways I wasn’t aware of at first.
When I was a teen, one of my best friends was one of those “super sitters” – she could wrangle a house full of kids, diapering and feeding at the same time. I used to tag along sometimes and watch her in awe. She came from a large family, and I was an only child, so she had loads more day-to-day experience than I did. The kids she babysat knew right away that I was an impostor, and saved their worst behavior for me, while my friend was busy…kind of like crazy-pants Gilly in Playing the Player….
The only babysitting jobs I took on were for single kids; I instinctively knew I couldn’t handle more than one kid at a time. I babysat for a couple of my teachers. They had brilliant, precocious children, and I spent a lot of time arguing with one child in particular about what books she could read, when bedtime really was, and exactly what she’d tell her mom about my performance, and how it might impact my report card.
A few of my babysitter fails:
Not knowing how to change a diaper: For real. I called my super sitter friend who tried to talk me through it, but she was laughing so hard at my cluelessness. I ended up calling my mom to come over and do it. Yes, I had practiced beforehand on a doll, but the stinky reality overwhelmed me.
Falling asleep on the couch, and the parents coming home to find their daughter (about four years old) watching Saturday Night Live with me snoring away. Hmm…some of Gilly’s inspiration becomes clearer as I write this…
Failing at making the infamous blue box of macaroni and cheese. Insisting that the noodles were not rock hard. Eventually caving and serving popcorn and cupcakes for dinner.
And finally…a vague memory of one of my babysitters, whose boyfriend snuck over after I’d gone to bed. I got up for a drink of water and busted them kissing on the couch. Did I watch in awe or sneak back to my room? No! I was a snitch of the highest order, calling my grandparents who lived close by, and ratting them out.
My teen self was never lucky enough to share babysitting duty with a swoon-worthy guy, but Slade definitely would have been my dream partner…when he wasn’t driving me crazy or making me want to throw stuff at him.
I hope you enjoy reading about two very stubborn nannies, the crazy kids they babysit, and an unlikely (yet inevitable) frenemies-to-lovers romance.
About Playing The Player:
The Good Girl Vs. The Player
Round one begins…
Trina Clemons needed the money. Why else would she—the most organized, prepared student in school—spend the summer as a nanny and partner with the biggest slacker ever? Now she’s ready to tackle nannyhood with her big binder of research and schedules. Just don’t ask her about the secret job of “fixing” the bad habits of a certain high school player…
Slade Edmunds prefers easy hook-ups, and Trina is definitely not his type. She’s all structure and rules, while Slade wants to just have fun. Fortunately, Trina has no idea about the bet Slade made with his best friend that he can totally get her to unwind by the end of summer…
Then the weirdest thing happens. There’s chemistry. A lot of it.
But nothing gets between a boy and a girl like a big, fat secret…