I first started writing romances for publication when I was still living in Australia. When I began, I did a lot of research about writing for Romanceland, and what editors of the day were looking for. Nearly everyone I knew that was also writing, was writing for publication with Mills & Boon–about the only romances we could get in Australia at the time.
I had already joined the new Internet, and was starting to learn about all the fabulous romances and authors that were available out of North America. I couldn’t get hold of the paperbacks at that time, but I was becoming aware of the market and just how different it was from the English romances.
Fast forward several years, and I found myself living in Canada. Of course, that gave me the perfect excuse to start writing for North American markets.
One of the things that I learned very quickly was that editors were highly resistant to non-American characters or stories that were not set in the United States. As the vast majority of readers are located in the United States, this makes sense. So I swiftly had to learn how to write “American”. That meant a lot of research into American settings, the vocabulary, which is very different, and even how to set up my manuscripts for North American editors.
Fast-forward a whole lot of other years, and I started indie publishing. One of the joys of indie publishing is that you can publish anything you want.
But there’s a catch there. I could, if I really wanted to, write a romance about an amorous squid and a cowboy hero, but I don’t think it would sell many copies.
Nevertheless, sometimes I felt like it would be nice to write a book set in a place that I actually know, instead of researching everything. I research very carefully, and I don’t think I’ve had too many readers bitch at me about getting the details wrong. But when you have to look up absolutely everything, including what Americans call something as simple as a box of matches, it can get very tiresome. (Although I’ve got a lot better at it with practice!)
Now that I was indie publishing, I wanted to stretch out a little bit, and write something that was set in Canada. And of course, it had to be set in the mountains. I just love those mountains! After living in Australia where the tiniest little hill creates excitement, and is promptly labelled a mountain, actual real-life mountains with snow peaks, and clouds around them, were really stunning and very hard to forget. I just love going to the Rocky Mountains. So it was a shoo-in that the book was going to be set in the mountains.
Next, I had to make a decision about my hero. Because I was writing in what many Americans would consider to be a “foreign” setting, even though the foreignness is derived from a line on a map, I thought it wise to make the heroine American. But the hero could be Canadian. And as I intended to write of romantic suspense, I thought it would be interesting to make him a Canadian military hero. More research!
Canada has its Black ops, just like the United States, and so my hero, Seth, came together.
Then I asked myself the usual dipsy-doodle question, “what if…?”
What if a Canadian black ops hero, who tends to shy away from the limelight and work undercover, met someone who adores the limelight and has achieved her fair share of it and more?
That immediately suggested the idea of a super-famous Hollywood heroine. But not just any heroine. What if I made her one of the super brats? The hero is upright, law-abiding, sensible, and self-contained. So the heroine had to be a brat, and anything but sensible, law-abiding, upright, or self-contained.
However, a brat doesn’t make an interesting romance heroine, because there is an element of immaturity in a brat that means true love is next to impossible to achieve. So I needed my super brat heroine to be slightly more stable and capable of love. So I made her a former super brat, who is trying very hard to go straight.
Add in a triad assassin, a completely screwed up Hollywood family, drug and alcohol addiction left right and centre, mountains, and Christmas…which means snow!
Honestly, this book is also one that almost wrote itself. Once I had those elements in place it all fell together like a jigsaw puzzle. That has to be one of the best moments in the development process of a novel. There’s a tiny shift in your perception, and an almost audible click in your mind. Suddenly, you can see the whole story, right there, in your head. All you have to do is write it down.
I do love telling stories.
Fatal Wild Child was only the second indie title I released, but it still remains one of my quiet little favourites because it is set in Canada, unlike the vast majority of my books.
Fatal Wild Child is part of a six book discount deal that begins later this month. Keep reading these blog posts to find out more closer to the end of the month.