This is a special date for me and my book, April 16th. If you read it, you’ll know why. It’s the main character’s birthday, as well as some other important little tidbits…
When I first started writing this book, it was starting over. I’d been shopping out the same tired manuscript for two years, revising and resending, lather---rinse---repeat.
I was ready to start something new, but unfortunately for me, I don’t just think up an idea and fill in the blanks. I’m a character-driven writer, finding my peeps before I find the story, and I can’t go looking for them. They find me. I know, it’s a bit strange, but if I try it the other way it always fails.
I started playing with two characters that had hung out in my head for a while…a forty-ish woman with a teenage daughter, and something unresolved in her past. All I knew so far was that her name was Dani Shane (they tell me that too), and she was driving down a highway in the hot summer weather in a car with no air conditioning, and her daughter was painting her toenails and hanging her feet out the window. Dani was stressed and tired and headed back to her hometown to start over. Someplace she didn’t want to go.
I had to come up with a whole storyline around that. A reason for why she could see what she did…a reason for why she didn’t want to come home… And believe it or not, once that idea took root in my head, the whole plan came in one day. At work. I came home and told my husband, “I think I have an idea for my story.” He nodded as he does, because he knows the next day may be completely different.
At that point, it grew and morphed and so many things changed and expanded into a story that constantly astounded me, as they all do because I don’t plot. I can’t. Well—I CAN, technically, but by page two it’s already going off the rails, and that just annoys me over the time I’ve spent. So I start with one scene, hope it’s really the beginning, and see where it goes. I feed ideas in as they come, and keep working it backwards, weaving it in. About halfway through the book, I’m pretty sure of the direction, and can kind of mini-plot out scenes as I get there, but still it’s a crap shoot. It’s scary and exhilarating, but it works for me. I don’t recommend that method on purpose, however—to anyone. LOL!
Thank you for letting me share my somewhat convoluted process!
Hope you all enjoy the results.
In the small river town of Bethany, Dani Shane never fit in. Being different pushed her to the fringes of society, and even leaving town for two decades didn't stop the talk. Now, with her sixteen year-old daughter Riley in tow, Dani is back in Bethany looking for a fresh start. Too bad her plans for staying under the radar are about to be thrown out the window.
Mischievous and sexy, Dani's old friend Alex still has the power to rock her world, but there's a big obstacle standing in their way—Alex has been dead for forty years. With a ghost popping up at inopportune moments and sparking conversations with her teenage daughter, Dani scrambles to find solid ground and get a grip—both on her sanity and her heart.
Preface: Dani and her teenage daughter, Riley have arrived back in Dani’s hometown, and one of the first things Dani has to deal with is catching her daughter talking to her old best friend Alex in the front yard. Alex is a ghost…
My head said to walk forward, but my feet went numb. Then he looked my direction, and suddenly I was head-to-toe buzz with blood rushing in my ears. I took a deep breath and attempted normal as I made it down the steps without tripping.
Riley saw Alex. Riley wasn’t supposed to see people like Alex.
She had her usual folded-arms-with-one-hip-jutted stance, looking annoyed as hell, while Bojangles circled the yard in a frenzy with his nose to the ground. Alex slowly took off his glasses and locked his blue eyes in on mine with that arrogant little smile of his. I felt heat radiate from every pore.
“Dani,” he said, low and smooth, and all the breath left me. “My God, look at you.”
I opened my mouth to say the same thing, that after twenty-plus years he still looked exactly the same, hot enough to melt my shoes. But then the mommy gene stood up and waved and I remembered Riley was there.
He laughed, a deep throaty sound, as he pointed at Riley.
“I knew it had to be.”
A nervous noise squawked from my mouth. Nothing profound like I always imagined it would be.
“The eyes were the first clue,” he said with a wink.
Riley frowned, her expression a mix of disgust and wariness.
“God, you know this perv? He was here on the car watching me and won’t tell me who the hell he is.”
He smirked. “The sweet, gentle nature was the clincher.”
Thanks Sharla for taking over!!! Hope you had a great time!!
Sharla can be found at her website http://www.sharlalovelace.com,
Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sharlalovelace,
Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/sharlalovelace,
Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/sharlalovelace.
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