Just like all of my other books, If I Could Stay involved a lot of rewrites. I’ll write a scene as I imagine it and then I’ll realize that I don’t know enough about a subject to be sure that the scene is realistic. For Painting Rain, it was the painting scenes. I had to go out and research renaissance painting techniques and then go back and incorporate them. For Keeping Kinley, it was how to tend an orchard. What fruit should I use? How can you tell if a pear is ready? And then I went back and rewrote.
However, in the case of If I Could Stay, the rewrites were nearly always caused by the fact that I am woefully unqualified to speak about law enforcement and police procedure. So I did some research, but trying to figure out how law enforcement would respond to a very specific circumstance is hard to find with just Google.
Luckily I have friends/relatives/aquaintances who are better informed than I am. In my efforts to be sure that this book was realistic, I spoke with a state trooper, a lawyer and an FBI agent.
And then I realized I would need to rewrite the second half of my book.
And rewrite it I did. It is vastly different from how I originally wrote it, and though it was tough at the time to murder all my precious darlings, it made it so much better. The relationship was more realistic, the circumstances felt easier to navigate, and even the romance improved.
Just goes to show that the first idea isn’t always the right idea.