I figured I’d lump these all together.
The first book I wrote in this series was An Inconvenient Marriage. During the writing of that book, I came up with the short Christmas play titled, “The Path to Christmas”. I didn’t originally write the entire play out, but someone asked me if I had the whole play available to read in an ebook. Since there was interest in this project, I went ahead and wrote the complete play. I have had the honor of one of my readers presenting this to her church, and the church wanted to put this on for their children’s Christmas show. I was thrilled to give my reader the go-ahead to do this. That’s one of the best things that has ever happened to me as a Christian.
One more thing about “The Path to Christmas”… The final lines about Jesus Christ dying on the cross at Calvary at the age of 33 was inspired by a poem I heard on the Thru the Bible Radio program with J. Vernon McGee. I can’t remember the name of the poem McGee read on the air, but it compared Alexander the Great to Jesus Christ.
As I mentioned above, An Inconvenient Marriage was the first book in this series I wrote. The idea for it was inspired while I was writing Falling In Love With Her Husband. In Falling In Love With Her Husband, the hero was in love with the heroine, but she didn’t love him. She did, however, know he was going to be good to her, so she proposed the idea of marriage. During the course of the marriage, the hero waited to consummate the marriage until she came around to loving him. While writing this book, I thought, “What if I wrote a book where the hero and heroine couldn’t stand each other but had to marry for a short time? What if both of them never wanted to consummate the marriage?” That is how An Inconvenient Marriage was born.
An Inconvenient Marriage was meant to be a standalone romance, but I liked Justin Monroe a lot. He was Jake Mitchell’s best friend. I wanted to write Justin’s story. But before I could do that, I wanted to write the other book that had to come before it. I decided to write about Chad and Kate Walker. At the time, I was reading a few books where a woman had disguised herself as a man, and I thought this was a fun plot. So that is how An Unlikely Place for Love was born, and it’s why Kate disguised as a man to be Chad’s farmhand.
I picked North Dakota for An Unlikely Place for Love because I spent a couple of years in that state and had good memories of my time there. It was my way of going back there. (A quite note: I also picked Falling In Love With Her Husband, Meant To Be, A Chance In Time, and the entire Native American Romance Series in North Dakota for the same reason.)
The reason I made it a point to have Kate return to Virginia was because I had developed a crush (weird, I know) on Jake Mitchell while writing An Inconvenient Marriage, and I wanted to “see” him again. That was the ONLY reason she went to the bank. I did, however, make the trip fit into the plot so it wouldn’t be a waste of space.
The other characters thinking Chad loved his first wife in An Unlikely Place for Love was loosely based off of a book I read in the 8th grade called Rebecca. Rebecca is a gothic tale written by Daphne du Maurier. It was written back in 1938. The heroine of this book is never given a first name. The book is in first person point of view, so everything we are exposed to is from her perspective, and she was jealous of her husband’s first wife, Rebecca, because she assumed he loved Rebecca more than he loved her. (Spoiler alert: he hated Rebecca, and this was a huge relief to the heroine of this story since she was assured of his love for her.) So anyway, in honor of that book, I decided to have Chad secretly hate his first wife.
Early on when I was writing, I was making a serious effort to write Christian romances, and the ones I had read had a lot of references to God and a few quotes from Scripture. I found it difficult to write this way because it felt like I forcing God into the storylines. (The books where I wrote from this angle were An Unlikely Place for Love, Falling In Love With Her Husband, and An Inconvenient Marriage.) I was never comfortable writing this way because I felt like I had to keep hitting people over the head with a Christian message rather than letting the story just play out as it wanted to. After attending a Christian writing conference, I came across someone who gave a workshop where he explained that planting seeds is just as important as bringing in the harvest. In other words, a writer didn’t have to preach God to the reader. They could just write the book from a Christian worldview. That changed everything about about the way I approached writing, and I was finally comfortable in my writing skin. Sometimes it takes a writer time to figure out where they fit in with a world full of other writers. 😀
The Cold Wife was an arranged marriage type of book that turned out to be more difficult to write than I expected. At the time, I thought I had to make the book at least 95,000 words since An Inconvenient Marriage and An Unlikely Place for Love were about that long. So I extended the original version way longer than I should have. Later, I realized I didn’t have to write every single book in a series at the same length, so I ended up trimming this book down to what I had originally wanted it to be.
I originally wanted to write a novella about Jonathan and Mary who were secondary characters in The Cold Wife, but I wrote the novella A Chance In Time to go with Meant To Be first. Well, while writing A Chance In Time, I got the idea for Restoring Hope, and while I was writing that book, I fell in love with Julia and Chogan so I had to write their book, too. So the Native American Romance Series was born. Suffice it to say, things snowballed and I never did get to write Jonathan and Mary’s story, and today, I have no desire to.
I wrote Romancing Adrienne last in the Virginia Series, and I did this because I liked Trevor, who was Sue’s brother in An Inconvenient Marriage. The idea for this book was inspired during the writing of The Cold Wife. While writing The Cold Wife, I thought, “What if Carrie had run off instead of marrying Justin?” So I gave Adrienne the arranged marriage where she ran off. She bumped into Trevor while on the train, and the rest is history.
I have been asked if I’ll ever write a story for one of Kate’s brothers. (I think it was Paul.) At one time I wanted to, but I got tangled up in writing about the Larsons. I was only supposed to write Eye of the Beholder with Dave and Mary and let that be it, but then Tom and Jessica wanted a book, then Jenny wanted one, and I had to redeem Neil Craftsman. So anyway, once again, I found myself going down a rabbit trail that never did take me back to Paul.
The Virginia Series is the most hated and most criticized series of all the work I’ve done. Due to my lack of research (which I admit is a valid criticism), the whole series came off as “too modern”. I did attempt to correct that years ago. I can’t even remember when, but I think it was 2013. I took the whole series and made them contemporary romances in order to appease the critics. (And I’ll tell you, these people were not the least bit nice in their emails.) Anyway, after I republished the books, I ended up with emails from people who had read the original versions and preferred those. They said they didn’t care if the stories were modern sounding or not. They loved them the way they were. In the end, I concluded it was better to write for people who love my books instead of writing for the critics. So I pulled the contemporary versions down and put the historical ones back up. Now, I could go back and rewrite the historical versions to make everything more “authentic”, but that would take a year, and in that year, I wouldn’t write any new books. So I have decided to let those books be what they are. They will just have to remain “too modern” forever. I’d rather focus my efforts on writing new stories. If nothing else, these books are proof of how much a writer can improve when they put their mind to it. 😀