Saturday, March 12, 2011

Where Did You Come From?

In Florida, spring is in the air. At our house, we’ve turned the heat off and the air on. Tiny leaves have poked through the soil in my freshly planted garden, and I have my fingers crossed that they’re cucumbers and not weeds. Daylight Savings starts tonight (don’t forget to move your clocks forward). And leaves are forming on the Chinese Ting that grows outside my office window.

So, with all this new life bursting on the scene, is it any wonder that I’ve been asking, “Where did you come from?” No, this isn’t a lecture on the birds and the bees. It’s a question about the heroes and the heroines in the stories we write.

Where do they come from?

For me, every new book starts with the characters. And because I write romance, I usually “see” the hero or the heroine first. I’ll be going about my business—shopping, cleaning, cooking, whatever—and one of them will pop into my head. Sometimes, they wave and keep on going. There’s a woman in an orange grove who’s been doing that lately. But she doesn’t stop, so I wave back and let her go, knowing her story isn’t quite ready to be told yet. When it’s time, she’ll come back and stay a while. She’ll start talking or she’ll do something that catches my attention.

That’s how it was with heroine in The Daddy Catch, my second book for Harlequin American Romance. Before I even started working on the book, I caught a mental glimpse of a feisty fly fisher landing a redfish in the Indian River. At the time, I was knee deep in edits for my first book (The Officer’s Girl, April 2010), so I just gave her a nod and went back to work. She didn’t leave, though. She hung around. She’d pop in at the oddest moments. Each time she did, I got to know her better. I learned that her name was Jessica Cofer, that she was a widow and had a little boy. She owned a fly fishing shop in nearby Merritt Island, and was passionate about preserving a slice of undeveloped riverside for future generations.

All well and good, but what’s a romance without a hero?

Dan Hamilton took his own sweet time making himself known. But one day, as I watched Jessica land another big red, I noticed this tall, dark-haired man in a business suit leaning against a palm tree on the bluff overlooking the river. Right away, I knew my hero had arrived on the scene. Of course, Dan didn’t think he needed a woman in his life. He was a thoracic surgeon, and he pretty much thought he had it all. In fact, he’d just received the sign that he’d “arrived” when a tightly knit cadre asked him to join them in building an exclusive cosmetic surgical center.

Clearly, Dan needed convincing. That’s where my job came in. The result was The Daddy Catch, my second book for Harlequin American Romance, one that I hope you’ll enjoy. The Daddy Catch will be available in June.


Estella said...

Love the insight into how your characters make themselves known.

linda s said...

How fascinating. I really look forward to reading your next book.

Winter said...

Oh, that sounds good! Isn't it weird how those characters pop up for us?

Leigh Duncan said...

Sorry that I didn't get back to everyone sooner, but today was my sister's birthday, and the party was at my house. Tomato and zucchini tart for appetizers. "Regular" lasagne, seafood lasagne and Paula Dean's recipe for Strawberry Shortcake instead of cake--all her favorites. Two days of cooking, and well worth every minute. :)

Estella -- Every writer has their own process. I'm glad this is mine. According to Julie Leto, however, the process changes from time to time, and you have to be ready to change with it. I'm hoping to hang onto this process for a long time. :)

Linda S - It won't be long now. June is only a few months away. I hope to see the cover before my next blog post. Can't wait to share it with you!

Winter - I love it when they pop in and say, "Write me!"

Linda Warren said...


The book sounds great. Can't wait to read it.

It's wonderful how characters just appear.