Quick note about The Stagecoach Bride: Before I get into the trivia part, I want to send out a quick reminder to anyone who has read The Stagecoach Bride and filled out the form. I sent an email out to quite a few people, and while most have gotten back to me, several have not. Please check your spam folder just in case the email ended up there. The subject heading will read, “Re: [Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author Blog] If you read The Stagecoach Bride, please fill out the form below.” As a side note, if you have The Stagecoach Bride and would like to fill out the form, here’s the post to do that.
I enjoy reading through trivia that goes with the making of movies, and today I thought it’d be fun to offer some trivia about what went into the writing of some of my books.
Trivia for Eye of the Beholder
1. Neil Craftsman was originally given the role of the hero. He was supposed to be Neil Larson. I also had come up with the brothers, namely Tom and Joel, who were supposed to look at Mary and only see what was on the surface. I got halfway into Chapter Two where Neil was on his way to meet Mary at the train station when this question popped up in my mind: “What if Neil rejects her?” I spent a couple of days weighing the pros and cons of making the Neil the antagonist, and in the end, I created Dave Larson and gave Neil the last name Craftsman.
2. This book was submitted to Harlequin and Wild Rose Press back in 2008-2009 when I was on the fence about self-publishing or traditional publishing. Feedback from both places expressed an interest in the story. One wanted me to give more “angst” between Dave and Mary, and I didn’t want to change their relationship to what I felt was too much of a romance trope of endless friction between the hero and heroine. The other wanted me to add more description, which I wasn’t interested in doing. So I ended up picking the self-publishing option, even though it was a very unpopular option back then.
3. The miscarriage scene was inspired by my own miscarriage during my first pregnancy. Mary’s experience was pretty much mine.
4. Isaac Larson has the same birthday as my firstborn son, which is August 7.
5. My original plan was to write Eye of the Beholder as a standalone book. While writing the scene where Jessica tells Mary why she married Tom, I knew I would end up writing Tom and Jessica’s story. That was beginning of me writing a story for each Larson sibling. It’s also why the books were written out of chronological order. Back then, I didn’t even think about writing a series in order.
6. I had originally planned to put Neil in prison after he abducted Mary. He was supposed to take Mary to a remote cabin, and she was supposed to swim to get away from him. (This was why I had Dave teach her how to swim.) But when I saw the way Neil was with Emily even though she wasn’t his child, I realized Neil was redeemable. I ended up keeping Mary’s abduction to the train and giving Neil a change of heart.
7. Dave’s threat to Neil that Mary never heard was that if Neil touched Mary again, Dave would kill him. And Dave was serious.
8. I knew Isaac and Emily would end up together when Mary and Cassie (both pregnant at the time) were talking on the front porch at Connie’s house. This was the scene where Cassie and Gwendolyn guilt trip Mary into making clothes for Cassie’s baby. Cassie felt the baby kick, and I thought, “There’s a connection between Emily and Isaac.” At that moment, I knew I’d be writing their book.
9. The book was set in Omaha, Nebraska because I lived in that area at the time and had easy research at the local attractions. I’m not much of a book reader when it comes to research. I prefer to be there in person and learn the history by seeing what people wore, how they lived, etc. Though, for the sod house, I went to Minnesota because there were no sod houses I was aware of in the Omaha area. I’m sure South Dakota or Iowa had them, but my in-laws happened to be in the area at the time, so that’s why I went there.
10. Before I wrote this book, I was mostly writing fantasies and YA thrillers. I had written Falling In Love With Her Husband, An Inconvenient Marriage, An Unlikely Place for Love, The Cold Wife, and Romancing Adrienne before I wrote Eye of the Beholder. My plan was to go back to writing the other genres when I was done with Eye of the Beholder, but, as you can see above, Eye of the Beholder inspired more romances. Eye of the Beholder is why I ended up falling in love with writing the historical western romance genre.
11. The reason I started the book with Neil’s mail order bride ad was because I had recently read a romance that started off with an ad, and that hooked me in right away to that story. Writers in my critique group didn’t like that as a way to start the book, but I’m happy I did it.
12. The idea for this story came after I read a lot of romances and noticed that every single heroine was thin and gorgeous. I also noticed that movies and TV shows feature these types of women a lot. I wanted to write about a heroine who wasn’t society’s definition of perfect. I wanted a hero who could look past the superficial, and in doing so, he shows others around him what real beauty is. Cassie wasn’t in the original plan of the story since I had marked Neil down to be the hero, but after I put Dave in, I created Cassie, too. Cassie turned out to be a big part of the story, and without her, the story isn’t nearly as effective.