I’m 34,000 words into Perfectly Matched right now, and this book is NOTHING like I had planned. It’s a good thing I didn’t spend time writing the book description because I’d have to go back and change the entire thing.
So my original ideas was to have this be a romantic comedy where Jim marries Patricia Larson (that’s Tom Larson’s 2nd daughter) and takes her to downtown Omaha where he lives in what he believes to be a haunted house. The house, of course, wasn’t haunted, but he was supposed to think it was, and this was going to be the avenue where there was a lot of humor.
Remember in Nelly’s romance (pictured below) how her sisters were all excited to have her get married because then it meant they could start getting husbands?
Well, Val’s friend (Jim) got off the train, and Nelly and Val brought Jim out to Tom Larson’s farm to stay until he got a job and place to live in town. All at once, two of the three remaining unmarried sisters started to compete for his attention, leaving poor Jim overwhelmed and unsure of what to do.
This angle was turning out to be so much fun that I decided to keep going with it. I’m over halfway into the book, and we’re still at the point where Patricia and Erin don’t know which of them he’ll pick. Daisy (the youngest at 16) is convinced he’s fallen in love with her despite her attempts to stay out of the way. Now, Jim’s never told Daisy he’s interested in her. That’s something she came up with all on her own. And since it adds to the humor of the story, I decided to roll with it.
These girls are a hoot to work with. I had a lot of fun writing the scenes with Tom and Joel, and these girls are just as fun.
Now, the way this book has progressed, I had to throw out my original idea. Instead, the book is going to end at a wedding. This is one of the few books I’ve done where I don’t feel a sex scene would add anything to the story. I could throw it in, but there’s really no purpose except to let new readers know that I don’t primarily write “clean” romances. Most of the time, I feel a scene does add something, usually to the development of the relationship between the hero and heroine. In this case, a sex just wouldn’t have added anything to the story, so I wanted to leave it out.
I wasn’t sure if this would be disappointing to people who do read my books, so I posed the question on Facebook. I do want to make people who take the time to read my book as happy as I can. I realize I can’t please everyone, but I do try. Thankfully, people said they’re fine if ends at the wedding scene. This puts a lot of pressure off from trying to wiggle in some way to make a sex scene fit into the story.
I would like to have this book out in March, but I can’t promise that since I went through 2.5 months where I was unable to write more than a few hundred words on any one day. It’s only been since the past two weeks that I finally got the “spark” back. I think I can still make it for a March release as long as the momentum keeps going.
One of the things that gave me the “spark” back was giving myself permission to write something different from what I typically do. An Earl In Time is going to be different. It helps me to dive into other genres.
While I was in my writing funk, I was browsing pre-made covers on The Book Cover Designer. I found that one above. It was love at first sight. But I couldn’t see buying it unless I could write a story for it. I spent a week or two thinking over what kind of story I could write to fit that cover. Obviously, the cover isn’t your typical historical romance. The mirror is separating the hero and heroine. It appears as if he’s stuck in it. So that gave me the question, “Why is he stuck there? What happened to cause him to be there. How is she going to cross the divide and be with him?”
I had other things I wanted for the story to hit in order for it to be something I could get excited about writing. I wanted something along the lines of the Grimm stories, not the light Disney adaptations. I wanted something that would allow me to break outside the box of realism. I wanted the possibility to work with magic and curses, and I wanted something dark. I wanted to be able to take the limitations off of historical romance. I wanted my imagination to be able to go in any direction it wanted to.
After working with several ideas, I settled on a time travel romance that starts in our current day. The heroine has inherited an English estate, so she leaves the United States to go there in order to sell it. Yeah, she could have stayed in the US, but for the sake of the story, she goes to England. Once she crosses the moat (I decided on adding a moat after finding out that a property over in that area actually has one), she’s going to be unable to leave. The moat contains the magic that keeps her there. Other people can come and leave, but she’ll be unable to. I want there to be some creepiness feel to the story, so I’ll have her be alone. Things always feel creepier when people are alone.
Here’s what I know so far:
The curse started in the early 1800s when the earl lived there, and there’s a mirror on the second floor that is a portal between our current day and the past. He can’t go to the present, but the heroine will be able to go into the past. When the curse was set, the hero and the servants were transported into a state of suspended time. For two hundred years, he’s been having to live the same day over and over. The servants, however, aren’t aware of it. To them, no time has passed at all. That’s the setup on that side of things, and I have no idea what caused the curse or why the heroine is the key to breaking it. And for some reason, the curse only effects the hero and the heroine. No one else in the family line was touched by it because the person she inherited the estate from came and went without any problems. The only thing is that no one in the family had ever been able to sell the place for some reason, which I don’t know yet. This is a story where I find out the answers as I write the scenes.
Right now, I’m at the point where she’s about to notice something moving in the mirror that’ll totally freak her out. She hasn’t passed through the portal into his time yet. That comes later. At the moment, she thinks everything is normal. She doesn’t even realize she’s unable to leave the property. That’s coming soon, and I’m excited. I enjoy writing the high tension stuff. I feel like it flexes my writing muscles.
Bottom line, if you don’t like dark/spooky fiction, you’ll want to avoid this book. The goal is to do a fairy tale with gothic elements.