When I wrote Suddenly a Bride, Caitlyn’s best friend who worked at the diner with her just popped up in the book. Usually, I’ll have the main characters in mind but their family and friends develop as I’m writing. I start a book with basically main plot points that involve the hero and heroine. I don’t give thought to their family or friends because the focus on the romance novel is the two main characters. Now, if I am writing a book that is already part of a series, then I already know the family and friends of the secondary characters because I’ve already established the world the characters belong to.
I know a lot of authors outline. A lot of authors do character sketches and map out the worlds they create before writing a single world. Well, not me. I write the first sentence and things just develop from there. It’s only when I’m writing that I finally learn the setting, about the characters, and everything else that I need in order to write the book.
So when I introduced Caitlyn, she was a waitress in a diner, and the other waitress happened to be her best friend, Sandy. Caitlyn quickly developed into this woman who was easygoing, fun to be around, and accepting of changes–even the dramatic ones. Sandy, on the other hand, was the character who balanced her out. I like to pair up friends who complement each other, which means they are going to get along well but also present an opposite way of seeing the world. Sandy is cautious, not easily won over by anyone, has a harder time getting past her insecurities, is more likely to keep emotions to herself, and has a tendency to hold on to past hurts.
This was why Sandy was never paired up with Chris or Mark. Her personality wouldn’t have gone along well with them. Chris wouldn’t have been able to get past her wall (because she does have one due to some things that she won’t tell even Caitlyn), and Mark wouldn’t have had the patience to wait for her to become vulnerable enough to open herself to him. How do I know all this? It just came to me as I started His Abducted Bride. I mean, from the beginning of Suddenly a Bride, it seems that Sandy would automatically fit with Mark, but when the scene developed where Sandy told Caitlyn that she didn’t believe Chris was from another planet and that Caitlyn should have had him arrested, I knew Sandy wasn’t right for him. Then when I introduced Lexie at the BBQ lunch, I had that “ah ha” moment where I knew Mark and Lexie would somehow end up together. As I’m writing Runaway Bride, it occurred to me that Mark is the only person who can pave the way for Caitlyn to finally have a good relationship with her mom. (That hasn’t happened yet in Runaway Bride, but I sense it’s coming as I finish the last three chapters of the book.)
So anyway, at the end of Suddenly a Bride, I realized what Sandy needed was a hero who doesn’t mind pursuing her. He needed to be someone who could handle her attempts to push him away because that is what she’s been doing ever since he pulled her out of our world and placed her into the story she’s writing. He comes off as rather demanding (though fair and patient–both traits he’ll need in order to break through her wall). He’s not intimidated by any of her threats, and when he finds out her secret, he won’t be devastated. (Chris and Mark would have been devastated, another reason why they weren’t paired up with her.)
This hero was created by her when she wrote a fantasy, intended to be the first of a trilogy. She gave him the name King Blackheart and pinned him as the villain of her tale. As soon as he realized her plan was to kill him in the final battle of the book, he erased all of her story up until the first scene where she created the world in which he and the other characters lived. Neither Chris nor Mark would have thought to change the course of her book, but King Blackheart doesn’t mind taking matters into his own hands in order to be the character he was meant to be–the hero instead of the villain. 🙂 So he’s perfect for her.