Someone mentioned Slightly Scandalous in a private message at my Facebook page last week and I wrote back with a brief account of the difficulty I had writing that book. It occurred to me that perhaps more people would enjoy reading the inside story behind the writing of certain books. My aim as a writer is always to make the finished book seem seamless and effortless, a smooth read that is difficult to put down once it is started. I want to give the impression that it was smooth and easy to write. Rarely is that so. Sometimes a book can be a perfect beast to write! And one of the worst was Slightly Scandalous, Book 3 of the Bedwyn series, Freyja Bedwyn’s story.
You will have to know a number of my books to appreciate this story. I had to choose a hero for the moody, haughty, fiery Freyja. Believe it or not, I decided to pair her up with Sydnam Butler, the tortured and horribly maimed younger brother of Kit Butler in A Summer to Remember. I thought the pairing would be an interesting challenge. Freyja had once been betrothed to the eldest brother. Then, after his death, she expected to marry Kit, the middle brother. Let her end up with Sydnam, then, I thought. I wrote one third of their story and got stuck. There is nothing too unusual about that. I thought long and hard about what was wrong, solved the problem with major changes, and started all over again. I wrote a third of the story and…got stuck. Irretrievably! I had invested a few months of time and energy but had to make the rare and painful decision to abandon the book. Freyja and Sydnam just did not belong together. I imagine that a number of you might have told me that from the start! After all, Sydnam’s future love was waiting to be created right in the middle of Freyja’s story, though I did not know it when she first appeared! Anne Jewell’s love story with Sydnam is told in Simply Love, a favorite with many readers.
So…I needed to write a love story for poor Freyja, who was upset and humiliated (and very bad-tempered) over Kit’s marriage to Lauren Edgeworth and the birth of their first child. But I had no hero for her. Trust her to be such a problem! That was when Joshua Moore, Marquess of Hallmere, stepped into my imagination and offered to take Freyja on. Her story with Sydnam had been developing along angsty lines. Her story with Joshua was quite different–fire and brimstone and two strong wills pitted against each other–not to mention Wulfric putting in his two cents’ worth. Finally THAT story was relatively easy to write and oh, so much fun! Obviously those two belonged together.
To one person who leaves a comment before the end of next Tuesday, August 6, I will send a signed copy of one of the two books mentioned above or THE PROPOSAL–winner’s choice. I would love to hear some personal experiences from the writers among you. And I always love reading all your comments. Last week’s winner was Cathy Stout.