Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to write another scene for Kent Ashton’s Backstory. I’m finishing up the second draft of Runaway Bride tonight and will start sending it out to editors. I’d like the book out mid-to-late April.
Falling In Love With Her Husband went through a lot of changes. It started out in 1997 when I was reading a lot of Janette Oke books. I enjoyed her work a lot, especially her Seasons of the Heart series. I was, however, disappointed that the wedding night was never shown. Even back in college, I wanted romances with a little more spice.
Anyway, it was Janette Oke who actually inspired the book that would eventually become Falling In Love With Her Husband. I remember reading her books and thought, “What if a heroine married the hero because she was recently rejected from the man she wanted to be with? What if the hero loved her and willingly married her, knowing she didn’t share his feelings?” I wrote half of the book (Todd’s Bride) in 1997-1998.
Then I graduated from college (in Pensacola, Florida) and moved to Bismarck, North Dakota where I forgot all about it. Real life took over, and I did a couple of jobs. I ended up meeting my husband who was stationed at Minot Air Force Base and got married about four months later. We’ll celebrate our 13 year anniversary in July, which is proof that the length of time you know someone isn’t as important as the quality of the person you meet. Like the old church ladies told me, “Staying married means both sides are committed to sticking together no matter what.” They didn’t say everything would always be sunshine and fluffy happy feelings. They told me it was a lot of work, and darned if they weren’t right. But I married my husband because I saw how he treated his family and others with respect and knew he was a good guy. He also had a good, stable job and shared similar values as I did. There was also the excitement in being with him, but I tend to be a logical in affairs of the heart. I also made sure my dad approved of the match before I considered marrying him.
Fast forward to 2007 when I happened to get a post card in the mail from a Christian Romance publisher “Heartsong Presents” and I found my attachment to romances again. Reminded of Todd’s Bride, I went down to the basement and dug it out of an old bin. I’d love to say that I finished it and was happy with the result, but I wasn’t. After I put Todd’s Bride through a vanity press, I wished I had given Todd’s point of view.
So I wrote Ann’s Groom and published it through a vanity press, too.
I still wasn’t happy with it. I wanted to unpublish them, but since they were with a vanity press, I didn’t have control of them. I still don’t. But, I still owned the copyright to the stories. So I took Todd’s Bride and Ann’s Groom and merged them. I expanded it to complete it, and I added what I thought was missing from the other two: sex. As much as I tried to convince myself I didn’t need to add sex to make the story better, in the end, I knew that to be completely satisfied with the story, I had to include the sex scenes.
Falling In Love With Her Husband was a lesson in learning what type of romances I wanted to write. Todd’s Bride and Ann’s Groom were Christian Romances, but I later discovered I wasn’t meant to write Christian Romances. That isn’t my calling. I get bored reading them (due to lack of spice), so why would I write something I don’t like to read? The first rule of writing: love what you’re writing.
I don’t want people to waste their time reading Todd’s Bride or Ann’s Groom. I’d rather they read Falling In Love With Her Husband because that is the story as it is truly meant to be.
As a writer, I learn ways to improve things all the time. The process of growing as a writer is a complicated and sometimes aggravating (since it’s not always easy to figure out the type of books we’re meant to write), but it’s also a thrilling. Falling In Love With Her Husband was the book that got me hooked on writing romances, and it eventually helped me define which type of romances to write. Second rule of writing: never be afraid of changing the way you’re writing if you’re led in another direction. Third rule of writing: you can’t please everyone.