The cover was made by Bonnie Steffens (one of my awesome readers). 😀
I knew Isaac and Emily would end up together while I was writing Eye of the Beholder. This was while both Cassie and Mary were pregnant. Cassie was further along than Mary was. Cassie was surrounded by Neil’s mom and two friends (Connie and Maureen) while they were talking about Cassie’s baby moving in her womb. Cassie offered to let Mary feel the baby move, and when she did, I thought, “Mary’s child is going to marry Cassie’s child. Dave is going to be pissed.” 😛 Hey, every story needs conflict right? So that’s when I decided Mary would have a boy. I knew right away Cassie and Neil would have a girl. I felt Neil needed a girl after the way he treated women all of his life because it would show him how wrong he’d been to use them the way he had. Only a daughter was going to turn him around.
This book was completely different from how I had envisioned it when I started the story. Originally, Isaac and Emily were supposed to elope but Isaac was going to have no clue when it came to providing for her. The two were going to be knee-deep in financial problems. Emily was supposed to feel like she had no place to go to since there was supposed to be this blowup between Dave and Neil, and she didn’t want to make things worse. So she was going to leave and search for her real mother. Cassie was going to be in this huge house entertaining guests and having a wonderful time. (Sorry, but Cassie didn’t end up in a ditch somewhere, which I’m sure is what most people wanted to hear.) The basic idea was that sometimes bad people get away with doing bad things (at least in this life). Emily was supposed to feel like she had no one, but Isaac was supposed to follow her and tell her he was sorry and that he loved her and was going to do whatever it took for them to be together. Then somehow, they were going to work everything out between Dave and Neil. That was my original plan for the book. As we all know, the characters went on a totally different tangent.
Dave’s hope that Isaac would marry Eva Connealy was based partially off of my mom’s hope that I was going to end up marrying a guy I was dating in college. She was very excited about him. He was a nice guy, but there was no “spark” between us. I tried, but you can’t force something that isn’t there. Poor Isaac was in the same situation with Eva.
I really liked Eva, but since I already knew Isaac was going to choose Emily, I had decided I would do a book for her in the future. That book ended up being Boaz’s Wager.
Emily felt the same way about book reports that I did in school. I loved to read, but I hated doing those reports.
A minor character I had mentioned but never showed in the story was Mrs. Ritter. She was pregnant and worked in a factory. Her husband had recently died. I had planned to set her up with Isaac’s friend, Wiley. Other stories, however, took over, and I never did write it.
In the first draft, when Dave found out Isaac had eloped with Emily, he punched Neil out. After some time to think it over, I decided that was too extreme. Plus, I had no idea how Dave and Neil would ever be able to work things out after that. So, I deleted that scene. Instead, I opted to have Dave in tears as he wondered where he went wrong.
I had Isaac tell Emily (disguised as Elmer) about The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg because I wanted a book that would shock Eva. Eva was created to be a contrast to Emily. So I had to pick something that would get Emily into trouble. The Confession book fit perfectly. I found it during a search on Goodreads, and I read through the plot descriptions and the spoilers. To this day, I have no interest in reading that book.
Another little trivia is that I have never read over half the books I mention in my stories. Some people are under the impression that I enjoy reading certain authors just because my characters do, but that’s not true. Some of my characters love the books they do because I’m conveying something about their personalities. For example, Eva loves the classics, and she hates dime novels. To Eva, dime novels are fluff. They are a waste of time. I, personally, prefer entertainment over the classics because I like fluff. I read to relax. Eva read to be educated. I still like Eva, though. But her choice in books says a lot about her, as does Emily’s choice in books.
It was nice to finally heal old wounds between Dave and Neil. It paved the way for me to write another story where one of Dave and Mary’s children would marry another one of Neil’s kids. That led to His Convenient Wife where Harriett Larson married Stan Craftsman.