I cannot believe that it's already been four years since my first novel, How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back went on sale. Since then, I've had nine other releases, transitioning from ebook/print on demand, to full on print. There have been a slew of blog tours, giveaways and signings, during which I've learned a great many things. I've also grown as an author, becoming increasingly aware of what my strengths and weaknesses are.
When I wrote How Miss Rutherford Got Her Groove Back, the character point of views were dancing all over the pages. Why? Because I wanted the reader to know what everyone was thinking! I've since found other ways of achieving that goal. Of showing rather than telling and of taking advantage of the fact that the reader doesn't always have to know what everyone is thinking.
Writing dialogue is one of my favorite things to do, so this has now become my most important weapon. After all, it flows more naturally if a character talks about their emotions and thoughts rather than the writer explaining what they are - an obvious observation perhaps, but a trap that many aspiring authors often fall into.
But I digress...
When I initially started writing, my primary aim was to tell a good story. It still is. But with every book I've written, it has also become something more than that. Now, I want to tell a good story with strong characters who set good examples. I want flawed heroes and heroines who eventually make the right choices - selfless and honorable choices - that readers can admire. I don't want them to lie and keep secrets from each other once they decide that they might share a future - unless they have a REALLY good reason that can later be forgiven. Instead, I prefer honesty and trust, developing a solid friendship on which to build a romantic relationship later. Isn't that more realistic anyway? Tension can be external, compounded by insecurities and fear. In my most recent novel, The Earl's Complete Surrender, Chloe has just escaped a horrible marriage, so the last place she's heading for is the altar. Meanwhile, James' work as a spy/investigator for the king makes an attachment difficult since he fears risking other people's lives by association. In spite of the obvious attraction between them however, it isn't until they start working together that they begin thinking about sharing a future - once they realize how much they have in common and how well they click. Conversation is a great way in which to achieve this.
The same holds true for His Scandalous Kiss. Due for release on July 29th 2016 and inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, this story is all about overcoming insecurities and fear while putting the person you love ahead of yourself. It's about acceptance, change and the inevitable decision to risk it all in the quest for true love. The plot will take readers on a wonderful journey beneath the foundations of Thorncliff, allowing for an element of adventure. But at the end of the day, it is the romance that takes the lead in this book, offering a tortured hero and a kind heroine who are much to be admired.