Guest blogger: Shannon Curtis
Many of you will know by now I was involved in a very, very special project for ARRA – writing a story suggested by readers. The ebook can now be pre-ordered at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, with print copies available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
At the same time, I was going through final revisions for my most recent romantic suspense, Runaway Lies, and each process could not have been more different. Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the differences – and similarities.
Tribal Law – these characters were suggested by readers. Physical descriptions were detailed – hair and eye colour, physique, scars, etc. There was even suggestions for backstory, why a character was doing/looked like he/she did. Family issues. Everyone’s got family issues.
Runaway Lies – I trolled through various images of too-gorgeous models, actors and actresses to find the right kind of ‘look’ for Dom and Darcy.
Tribal Law – there was a consensus for the story to be a paranormal one, so already there had to be some magical, mystical or otherworldly element, such as vampires, werewolves, witches – and then there was the request for ‘ROMAGIC’ – which is a term I LOVE, that incorporates some fantasy ingredients. There was also the request for brothers at war with a domineering father. There were also a number of requests for memory to factor in the story – from a photographic memory, to plain old forgetfulness, to full on amnesia. One of my favourite requests is the truth-compelling object (but you’ll need to read the book to learn about that one!).
Runaway Lies – this storyline was actually spawned by a real situation. My sister witnessed a scene very much like Darcy’s opening scene (except without the swimming), and my imagination took flight as she retold the incident. I thought ‘what would make a woman do this?’ – and so the people involved changed from inebriated young men of the real-life situation, to children in peril in Darcy’s story. That scene sparked everything else – what if the rescuer didn’t want their rescue to be publicised? Why? And Runaway Lies was born.
Just don’t tell my sister I purloined her Very Dramatic Incident.
Tribal Law – Dentistry. So many requests for something to do with dentists. Dental nurses, dental hygienists, orthodontists … many people were curious about the vocation, so making a lead character a dentist involved a lot of research into teeth, gums, and implants – and then extrapolate for the miscreant population. To make the character dentally capable (that’s a technical term, don’t you know) and yet still heroic, still romagic, still other-worldly and maybe just a little wicked, I undertook many arduous hours of studious scrutiny of – oh, who am I kidding? I told everyone that I NEEDED to watch all episodes of all seasons thus far of The Vampire Diaries. It was hard work, and I’m so happy I got to do it.
Runaway Lies – ooooh, this was interesting. I had a fugitive, an injury, a very, very wealthy hero and various actions from not very nice people. I researched the Witness Protection Act 1995 – very interesting stuff, along with a realistic timeframe and recovery physiotherapy for my heroine’s injury – what she could feasibly do, and what she couldn’t – then there was the obligatory glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, and I had super fun researching the effects of super glue and nail polish remover on skin. Probably the most fascinating aspect of this novel’s research was from an explosive and fire perspective, and I’m forever grateful to the NSW Fire Investigation Research Unit.
One thing that I really enjoyed doing for both of them was the book trailer. Because nothing says procrastination on a double deadline like little book movies. So, when I should have been writing my next book (watch this space), this happened: