For a lot of romance writers, each new book starts with the characters…which is logical as romances are, more often than not, character driven. For me, being logical is a stretch too far and many of my stories start with a premise, or situation, and everything grows from there. The problem with this process is finding the right characters to tell the story.
Worse, I have to find the perfect main characters – the hero and heroine who will not only find their happy ever after, but be interesting, complex and amusing enough that the reader wants to follow them through every one of their 90,000 word journey!
So how do I do it? Well, it all begins with the tiresome (!) job of browsing the Internet for my hunky hero…and then the inevitable job of finding my heroine. When I started planning What A Woman Desires, I was lucky enough to have my premise given to me by Monica Danes, a secondary character in the previous book (The Temptation of Laura), being inspired by Emily Blunt and established in my mind. I loved Monica and was determined to give her a book of her own.
But who would be her hero? Monica is middle class but working as an actress. I wanted to take her back to her roots, back to her home and family, forcing her to confront all the issues from her childhood that have shaped the woman she is today. So, by taking her back home, I took her back to a man she had loved from afar…the family’s groom, Thomas Ashby.
Working class, ruggedly handsome and a man of the world, Thomas was inspired by Tom Hardy in Lawless. Yum! The two come together in push/pull situation of Monica wanting to return to Bath and Thomas needing her to stay for his own family’s stability.
The two of them were a joy to write and I hope that shows on the page––as an author I have to have faith that my process will work and, continue to work, as long as I continue to write.
What are your most memorable fictional characters and why? Your answers might inspire a new book the right way around for me this time!