It’s odd yakking about my books, because book 3 hasn’t even come out yet, but right now, I’m busy working on book 5 of my Mill Pond romances. My brain is full of Miriam and Joel, but no one’s met them, and no one will meet them for a long time. And when they do? I’ll be working on something else. So in my head, I have a whole community of couples who you have and have not met yet. Yes, I have plans for almost every character I’ve given some pages to in different books. And I’m fond of every single one of them. Each one of them intrigued me in one way or another.
When I wrote book four–which won’t be out until spring 2017–I combined a guy, who had enough self-esteem and confidence to flatten any obstacle that got in his way with a girl, who barely believed in herself. Tyne’s parents loved themselves much more than they ever loved their two sons, so the boys learned to be strong and self-sufficent. They supported each other. Daphne was the only child of parents who loved and sheltered her, as long as she met their expectations. She’s a gentle soul who owns a stained-glass shop. She’s pretty and succeeds at everything she does, but has no confidence in herself.
I could really relate to Daphne. My parents didn’t coddle me. They did love me. I have two sisters, and we’re still great friends. I was pretty much a straight A student, but I had no social skills. None. And I always felt like the odd man out. No one’s fault but my own. Kids at school were nice to me. They invited me to things. I didn’t have to eat at the no-man’s table in the lunchroom. The trouble? Me. Everyone thought I was decent but me.
I went to college, got braver, met my John, and graduated. I loved teaching, married my John, taught six more years, then had my daughter. Two plus years later, I had my second daughter, and life was good. I’d grown into myself. My husband, bless him, believes I can do anything. His confidence in me gave me confidence. But guess what? Our older daughter had lower self-esteem than Eeyore. And both of our girls had it all. Gorgeous–yes, I’m prejudiced, but most people agree with me. Smart. Funny. And so damned good at so many things. But daughter #1 didn’t see it. I read books about building confidence. Give a child chores, and when she succeeds, praise her. So we did that, and #1 succeeded, and we gave real praise for jobs well done. (Never fake praise. She’d spot that in a minute.) Sign a child up for activities she might be good at. #1 won ribbon after ribbon on the swim team. She excelled at gymnastics. She sucked at ballet, but hey, you can’t do everything. She scored off the chart on her SAT tests. None of it mattered. That’s when it occurred to me that I don’t really know how to build confidence in a person who doesn’t have any. #1 finally grew into herself, just like I did. But it took a while and some serious jostling before she was strong and tough enough to meet Life head-on. And that’s how my character, Daphne, in book 4, came to be. She cowers at life until she meets Tyne, who challenges her every fear–just like my John–who has self-esteem to spare–did to me.
Of course, everything in fiction is dramatized to make a point. But the basis for the story rang true to me, so I liked the characters even more. That’s the fun thing about writing romance. I can take characters that I can really relate to and throw them together for a happy ending. How great is that?
Happy Writing! Judy
BTW, chapters 6 & 7 are up on website: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/