We host the Name Before The Masses: Anything You Want by Erin Nicholas tour today. We asked the author about her process with character creation and the things involved with bringing Sabrina, Marc and Luke to life. Be sure to read her informative Guest Post below. Erin will also be giving away a $25 Amazon GC and a choice of an ebook from her backlist so keep reading to find out how to enter.
It figures the one time Sabrina Cassidy is determined to do the responsible thing, karma kicks in. After four years on the road chasing her musical dream, she’s stranded six hours from home with no money, a ruined credit history—and morning sickness.
Out of options, she swallows her legendary independent streak and calls the only person who won’t hang up on her. Luke, the man she left behind.
Marc Sterling’s first instinct is to protect his business partner and best friend from another broken heart. That means letting her think she’s talking to Luke, then finding a way to send her in the opposite direction.
When he shows up at her hotel room, there’s something in the air beside their customary insults. Sure, her rebellious attitude, smart mouth—and purple panties—still drive him crazy, but now it’s a different kind of crazy. The kind that has him driving her home instead of to the nearest airport.
And when Luke offers to solve all her problems if she’ll only say “I do”, Marc realizes he’s just crazy enough—about her—to forget whose heart he wanted to protect.
Warning: Contains two people who don’t like each other very much, a Toyota that can’t quite handle the road trip home, and a spontaneous proposal. Or two. Or three. And foreplay with—what else—pie filling.
Guest Post: What Ifs
What do you suppose is a romance writer’s favorite game? Twister? Strip Poker? Suck and Blow? Well, yes. Those are all great, of course. But my favorite is “what if?” You take a situation, a person, an item… and you start asking “what if….” over and over again.
You have a wedding ring that’s been missing for one hundred years suddenly turn up in someone’s possession. What if that person is the ring owner’s great-great-great granddaughter? What if the ring has special powers? What if those powers enable the wearer to find their One True Love?
See what I mean?
For me, usually the first idea I have for a book is a character in a specific situation. And then the What Ifs start.
In Anything You Want, it went something like this: The heroine is a woman, estranged from her father, who’s been away from home for four years. Now, what if something happened so that she has no choice but to return home? What if on the way home, her car breaks down? What if she has no money, and no one she can turn to? What if she decides to take a chance and call the only person she’s ever been able to count on? But what if that guy is the man who proposed to her, who she spent one night with, and then left in the morning without an explanation?
I’m not a plotter. You won’t find story boards or plot worksheets in my office or on my computer. What you will find, though, is unorganized, multi-colored sticky notes, notebook after notebook for handwritten notes, and pages of character interviews. So, when I get through a few “what ifs…” I then start getting to know these people.
Then the characters write the story.
So developing them, getting to know them well, really understanding what motivates them, what they want, what they’re willing to do, is very important.
In Anything You Want, I started with Sabrina. Once the premise of a girl estranged from her father, who left town, and who is now in trouble and needing to come home was there, I needed to know who she really was. I needed to figure out what could have made her leave home? What could be important enough to bring her back? What’s going to be waiting for her--- and who?
The first thing I knew about Sabrina was that she was spunky. Even when things didn’t go her way, even when things didn’t turn out at all how she wanted or expected, she made the best of it. But what I discovered as I went along was that she was completely open and accepting of all types of people and had met and learned things—like how to play the banjo and to speak French—from some very unlikely friends.
Luke came next. He was the one she left behind. He’s the one she’s going to ask for help. But my what-ifs led to Luke being in love with her practically since childhood and still carrying a torch for her all this time. What I didn’t know, was that Luke had seen Sabrina’s dad as a father-figure while he was growing up and some of his connection to her came from that.
And then there was Marc. Yep, I had a love triangle (which was also something I didn’t know in the very beginning) so I had another guy to figure out. I knew right away that he didn’t like Sabrina. He blamed her for breaking his best friend’s heart and was willing to do anything to keep it from happening again. He’s fiercely loyal to his family and pretty unforgiving. I knew that. What I didn’t know was that he is so protective of family because his parents were killed in a car accident and Luke’s family took him in, eventually adopting him.
I think my favorite part about writing is having these unexpected things turn up. To start with a general idea and then dig deeper and deeper until you discover something really special… that’s what keeps the writing fresh for me and makes me want to sit down at the computer every day.
Creating stories about people that can make someone laugh, sigh, maybe tear up, or hug someone they love a little harder or more often is the best thing I can imagine doing.
Because the one what if question I hate to think about is, “What if there were no love stories?”
Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, flawed heroines, sex with food and happily ever afters. She does not like to write dark moments, synopses or bios.
You can find Erin on the web at her blog, on Twitter and even on Facebook.
Erin will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour and choice of an eBook from her backlist to one commenter at every stop. In order to be entered, leave a comment below along with your email.