I love writing romances novels--love every part of it. I love the drafting, the coming up with each scene, how to open it, how to end it, where to go with it next. I love the polishing and buffing, the peeling back layers of rough draft to find prose that sings and skips along to tell the story.
I love the revisions, the re-crafting of the story line so the characters' development takes twists and turns they didn't see coming--and I didn't either. I love the once-over and twice-over that is copy edits and galleys.
I'm not always so keen on launching the book, though.
Will the readers like those twists and turns? Will the prose work for them to convey the story, or will some of the decisions I've made slow the story down. I'm a word nerd, and we are not exactly a majority of the population.
Will my characters steal into the readers' hearts, or be forgotten by morning?
An author frets, and about some books, we fret more than others.
And then along comes That Book, the book we know--almost for certain--is going to make the cut. One sign of such a book is that it makes me cry. No matter how many times I go over it, there are scenes that twang my heartstrings. Another sign is that it makes me laugh. No matter how many times I buff that prose, there are some lines of dialogue or internal observation that surprise a guffaw out of me.
"Once Upon a Tartan" is That Book for me. Every book is a book of my heart, but these are never-let-me-go characters... Hester and Tiberius are in a tug-of-war over a niece whom both come to love, and they're falling in love with each other as the battle lines are drawn. They're people whose confidence has been betrayed by others. In Hester's case, a former fiance violated her trust, and in Tye's case, family has let him down. That they must navigate their way through disappointment in each other about broke my heart.
And yet, they DO.
And then there's that scene in graveyard between Tye's parents that about makes me howl, so badly do I hurt for my characters, and so proud am I, that they've finally turned toward the love they bear each other.
And then there's the lovely, fascinating setting in the Scottish Victorian Highlands....
All of which is to say: My book comes out today. I hope you love it as much as I do. Excerpts for your enjoyment are here.
What's something you love to do, or something you're passionate about? Something that enthralls you in every particular? To one commenter, I'll send a signed copy of "Once Upon a Tartan."