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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

Life takes us where we need to be

Photo from Wikepedia

Years ago I got the call from Hollywood — but it’s not what you think. I nabbed a job as an Internet editor for, the entertainment news daily. I was honored and thrilled, even though that little voice inside my head kept saying, “I thought you weren’t happy in web work, missed the people and writing stories.” It was true. I had spent years working in entertainment reporting and editing for newspapers but got talked into going to the Internet side when our newspaper began its web presence. (And I might add that The Advocate of Baton Rouge was one of the first!)

But I wasn’t happy doing web work. Still, I took the job. After all, it was Hollywood!

You will probably see this coming, but I wasn’t happy. The job and I were not a good fit. Down the line I took a position at a newspaper that better accented my personality and then moved back to Louisiana to be a features editor at a daily newspaper. Hollywood paid off; the experience taught me a lot.

During that time, I lived in this sweet community in the northeast corner of Los Angeles County, an area called Santa Clarita. It’s actually made up of several small towns — the beautiful planned community of Valencia, historic Newhall with its interesting parks and a western studio and Stevenson’s Ranch. You can see photos here.

Santa Clarita would become the basis for my novel, “Ticket to Paradise,” the first in my Cajun Embassy series.

My main character, Lizzy Guidry, is a Louisiana transplant. Even though she loves living in the town of Santa Helena, California, she’s a bit homesick, probably because everything seems to be going wrong these days. It takes newspaperman Martin Taylor, having his own set of troubles, to cheer her up. And it all revolves around a California Lottery ticket. You’ll have to read the book to learn how.

So many times we wonder why life puts us where we are. I was miserable in that job, even though everyone kept telling me how lucky I was to work at the world’s greatest entertainment publication (which made it worse). I kept thinking why was I there and what it was all about. Every night I would return home to my oasis of Santa Clarita, thrilled to be climbing up the Golden State Freeway to my lovely home and my family.

And yet, I learned a lot from that job, my kids were in good schools (thank you Santa Clarita), I met amazing people who are with me today, not to mention my son later met through a friend the love of his life, and I got to live in Paradise for a while.

And, of course, I wrote a book.

Hope you enjoy my “Ticket to Paradise” set in Santa Helena. Don’t tell anyone but it’s really Santa Clarita.

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