(Talking about my latest, steamy romance novella, By The Book)
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
By The Book was actually a very small concept at first. It wasn’t even really sure how to flesh it out until one of my other author friends decided to start and anthology project. I elected to be part of it and finally decided to dust this idea off the shelf and give it a go. There were some stipulations about the anthology project that actually helped fill in the blanks, so to speak. For instance, the fact that it takes place in Texas was a requirement for the anthology and it ended up adding a lot of meaning to the story.
The whole story started with a meme I saw on Facebook and the jist of it was the idea that a character from a book could fall in love with the reader. The first scene of By The Book played out in my mind, when Tara is in the bookstore and Beau walks in. I imagined how confused she would be to be reading about herself in the book, and then read about this handsome stranger who walks in and looks just like the model on the book cover. That was all I had to start with, and like I said, having those few requirements for the anthology really helped. The project fell through before it could start and I was free to do what I wanted with the story. I finished it and went back, adding a few details like the fact that Beau had a crush on Tara in high school, and I added some background drama about his family dilemma with the ranch.
The characters have never been difficult for me to create and my beta readers all love Dixie, Beau’s niece, because the way I’ve written her is so accurate to how a little girl would behave. The only character that I struggled with was Daniel. I wasn’t sure whether to make him a cold, unfeeling kind of guy who was shy and still mourning the loss of his wife, or the resentful older brother who harbored some bitterness about having to take care of the ranch when Beau was a better candidate. Tara’s love for line dancing stemmed from my own passion for country music. I often picture Beau as a counselor I had at a summer camp I went to in Hunstville Texas. Broad shoulders, strong, compassionate. He’s both dynamic and single-minded in that he wanted to do everything he can for his family, while still struggling with what he wants in the end.