Inspiration for Heroes

Another question from my FB page. Someone asked where I get inspiration for my heroes. So here’s my attempt to answer:

Firstly, none of my characters are based on real people. I have utilized little quirks from people I’ve known and incorporated them into some of my characters, but that’s the extend of it.
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The Original Idea for Ella and her Sisters

I had a reader ask on my FB page where I came up with the original concept of Ella and her sisters.

The first few scenes that I wrote for Just Ella were so bad. They were stilted and awkward, the dialogue was contrived, and I was trying to write in the style that Jane Eyre was written in, which didn’t work since I’m not Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t have a handle on the old timey speech, and I didn’t really know who Ella was.
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Will Lorraina’s Story be Next?

Short answer: Yes.

I’ve been surprised at how many people ask this question. I doubt it will come as a surprise that out of all of the sisters, Lorraina was my least favorite. But I couldn’t just keep her as the token brat throughout the books. It didn’t feel realistic. So when her storyline started to progress in Missing Lily, I appreciated the chance for her to grow. Yes, she was still selfish and overly critical, but I started to better understand the reasons behind it, and I was able to make some headway with her character development. However, by the end of Missing Lily, I still didn’t like her enough to want to write from her point of view. I couldn’t empathize with her enough.

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Deciding to Save Marilee

43While I was still in the middle of writing Missing Lily, I started contemplating my next project. I decided that I didn’t want to do another princess story. I was done with those. I tried starting the story of Gavin’s younger sister, Kinley, but it never grabbed me. I thought about telling the story of Brinna, Gavin’s jilted fiancée, but I barely got beyond a couple of paragraphs with her.

As you know, my decision to not do another princess story didn’t pan out.

I had always liked Marilee because she was fun and made me smile, but I knew that she wasn’t mature enough for me to want to be inside her head for an entire book. I knew that if I was going to make her a heroine, she’d have to grow up, and she’d have to do it the hard way.
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The Chiseled Hero and Willowy Heroine.

I’ve read a lot of books. (Shocker.) And most of those books are romance because I love reading about those feelings—the discovery of attraction, then waiting on pins and needles to find out if the other person feels the same way. There is something so basically human about finding love. However, I think many authors get stuck on attraction and have a hard time moving on to meaningful relationships. When I’m reading a book, there is only

Unknownso much physical description that I can take. If the hero’s rock hard abs are the main focus, it’s tough for me to take it seriously. I tend to roll my eyes when the heroine’s berry red lips and tiny waist are expounded on. Physical description is fine. It’s good to know that the hero and heroine are attracted to one another. However, should that really be the characteristic that is focused on the most? Do we need to keep going back to the fact that she is the spitting image of Aphrodite anP10_116_1d his physique is like the statue of David?

My objection isn’t just that it’s redundant, or that it flattens the characters into nothing but their physical attributes.
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The Rest of the Story – Part 3

I went to see Into the Woods the day after Christmas. I love that musical to the moon and back, and I’m still just a little bitter that I wasn’t cast in it that one time in college. Granted I wasn’t actually enrolled at the time, but still!

Anyway. The hubby and I were driving home and he commented that Into the Woods was a perfect example of what I was talking about in my blog post about The Rest of the Story. Ain’t that the truth. The brilliance of that musical (in addition to the incredible music and lyrics) is that Act I tells the fairy tales so well. They are wrapped up in their neat happily ever afters, and then in the stage production, act II starts with “Once Upon a Time…Later,” and proceeds to tell the story of what happens AFTER the happily ever after. Because once you get what you wish, there will always be another wish to take its place.

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What I’m Working On

I’ve dropped some hints here and there on social media about my next book, but I figured I’d give an official update.

I’m working on Marilee’s story! If you’ve read Just Ella, you’ll remember Marilee as the vibrant, fun, and often silly sister. She is the second youngest and was more than a little bit shallow and naive.

Marilee has her happily ever after. She married the handsome son of a sovereign duke and moved to his picturesque estate. But after eight months of marriage, Marilee has lost her love for life, as it’s been squashed out of her by her domineering husband. He has pushed her to the breaking point. So when he suddenly dies, she is left to rebuild her life and her confidence with the help of a few loyal servants, and her kind neighbor, Mr. Sutton. But reclaiming the ability to love and trust will take time and patience, from both of them.

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The Rest of the Story – Part 2

There’s a flip side to the rest of the story. My last post was about how we often think the worst of people, only to discover they aren’t so terrible. However, we can also think the best of someone, only to be proven wrong.

In high school I had a major crush on a boy. I can’t even remember his name now, but I thought he was a hottie. My best friend was a social butterfly and when we ended up talking to him and his friend, I (not so casually) signaled to Emily that she should introduce me. Some weeks later, a group of us ended up going to six flags one evening for fright fest. That was the night my crush died a rather abrupt death. Not the boy, he was perfectly healthy, but any admiration I had felt for him died that night. Continue reading

My Characters Run the Show

I was working on book #2 the other day, pounding out a scene that I had finally outlined, just happy to be making any progress in my limited writing time, when something happened. Something wonderful.

The scene fell off the tracks and I lost control of it entirely.

I love it when that happens. No, really, I’m being serious. Because as much as my original idea might have worked, if I get into the scene and my characters take over…that’s when I feel the magic happen. I’ll get into a groove and instead of forcing myself to come up with the next line of dialogue or the next move they make, I just know. Because suddenly my characters’ intentions, desires and flaws will come together and it will be obvious what their next move would be. And those scenes, those wonderful scenes where my characters barge in and tell me to get out of the way, those are the ones I end up loving the most. They feel the most genuine, the most honest.

Sorry to get in the way, characters of mine. By all means, carry on.