What If…?

running blind
This is the paperback edition that I owned when I was still living in Australia. By the time I left to move to Canada, it had become very worn and well thumbed.

A great many authors start off their stories by asking themselves a very famous question.

What if…?

For example, the English author of action thrillers, Desmond Bagley, wrote his best seller, Running Blind, not because he wanted to write a spy thriller, but because he had spent his summer vacation in Iceland, and wanted to set a story in that very unique culture. As he was famous for his action thrillers and spy novels, he started off with a very basic what if. What if there was a spy in Iceland?

Winston Churchill wrote an article in 1931, “If It Had Happened Otherwise”, where he speculated what would’ve happened if Robert E Lee had won the Battle of Gettysburg.

What if the Romans won the battle of Teutoburg Forest, against the Germanic tribes? Well, we probably wouldn’t be speaking English right now.

A lot of my romances have started off with ‘what if?’ questions based on the romance itself. Who is the most unlikely person for this hero or heroine?

For example in my recently released Perilous Princess, I already had my hero in place from the previous two books, an unacknowledged  bastard of a noble family, Rhys Davies. I asked myself, “Who would be the most unlikely person for him to fall in love with?”

Of course it ended up being a princess.

I set out to write Dead Double knowing that it was going to be an action thriller with a romance. Oddly enough, I didn’t start a what-if question based on the action thriller part of the storyline, but on the romance. I sat down with a pen and paper and started writing down all the different ways that a romance could happen between very unlikely people.

Double 3DWhat I ended up with was the question, “What if the hero hated his ex-wife? And what if he met a woman who looks exactly like his ex-wife?”

The story almost wrote itself after that, especially when I tangled up the ex-wife, now played by the heroine, in the hero’s espionage activities.

It ended up being one of the most fun stories I have ever written.


Dead Double is part of a six book package going on sale towards the end of November. Keep stopping by the blog to find out more details closer to November 23!

Tracy Cooper-Posey
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