One of the joys of writing a series is to revisit old friends–characters you’ve used in previous books–and then add in a few new ones. And if you get really lucky, one of those new characters jumps off the page for you and demands a book of his/her own.
When I wrote the first Mill Pond romance–Cooking Up Trouble–Ian’s brother, Brody, came to help him get the inn ready. Brody’s a bit of a curmudgeon. He’s a little too responsible for his own good, and I fell in love with him. Whom to pair him with? Someone who doesn’t pay attention to schedules and likes to bend the rules. Harmony drives him a little crazy, and Brody makes her want to whack him in the head every once in a while. A perfect match. For the story, I made Paula, Ian’s chef, and her two kids a part of the plot line, and I grew so attached to them, I wanted to find someone for Paula. Hence, book 3. So far, with every book, there’s a new character who begs me for more time in the next book.
I just finished final edits for Book 4–and I know this isn’t fair since I’m writing a few books ahead of what you can read–but Miriam just walked onto the pages in that book and told me that I was lucky she graced me with her presence. She has that kind of personality. And I couldn’t wait to write a book with her as the protagonist.
I’m starting that book now–the fifth Mill Pond–and I’m trying my darndest to do justice to the personality that is Miriam. I also tried to give her a story worthy of her. She teaches high school English, so I wanted a kid to be part of the romance.
The first time I wrote Miriam’s first chapter, it contained everything in the plot point I’d written for it–all of the characters, a hook, and the inciting incident–but it was flat. That only goes to show that just because I know what’s supposed to happen, I don’t always get the voice and tone right. Nobody wants to just plod through a story–not the readers and not me. So I deleted the whole thing and tried again. This time, I concentrated on the snark that’s part of Miriam, and it worked. The woman can quell a rampaging teenager in her third period class with a raised eyebrow. My type of heroine. She’s almost six feet tall, gawky and bony, with short, corkscrew curls. So who could be her Mr. Right? A man who’s comfortable in his own skin and brews beer. Miriam has a thing for hops:)
I’m going to have to push myself to keep the energy up for this book. I’m hoping to deal with a couple of serious subplots in a funny way. I might need more chocolate. I know I’ll need wine. But I have goals, and that’s a good thing:)
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