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And Such a Fine 4th It Is!

by M. L. Buchman

Wait, the 4th? As in July 4th?

Yep! For authors, holidays start months ahead of time. Christmas books are released in October, which means they're written over the sweltering summers. Valentine's Day stories make some sense, written in the dark of winter about the hopes of, well, not spring, but at least February.

And for my second Independence Day romance, the novel started well before that. For the fun of it, I thought I'd trace back through my notes for the origin of this one.

Huh! Okay. In a way it started three years ago when I released my first July 4th romance: Frank's Independence Day.
Now Frank Adams, head of the Presidential Protection Detail, has turned out to be one of the more popular characters in my Night Stalkers series, and not just the Night Stalkers White House series either. Of course his wife, Beatrice Ann "Beat" Belfour might have something to do with it.

Two years ago they figured prominently in the President's love life in Peter's Christmas

Then the next step happened last November while publishing the Vice President's story in Zachary's Christmas. 

That I knew I wanted to revisit the Secret Service White House Detail, but that I wanted to come at it from a new angle. All through the winter and into the spring I kept poking at the idea until I was starting to be afraid that I'd have to wait until next year to find what I was looking for.

I started the actual manuscript in March and by April I had a good start on the book, liked the characters, but I didn't have much else worked out.

Part of the problem was that I was gearing up for a massive vacation / research trip. For the last fifteen years between the recession and having a kid in college, money has been tight. And for ten of those years I've had this really cool idea for a short romance series (probably 4 books, I'm not sure yet) set in Italy. (Yeah, Italy!)

The problem was that I'd never been there and knew I couldn't write it until I'd been there. (I'm hoping to start this series next spring now that I've been there.)

The odd part about this trip was, there is only so much walking and poking around you can do. So after we'd done our 10-20,000 steps of exploring every day, we'd put our feet up. Sometimes we'd be in a tiny cafe, at other times on our balcony just watching the world go by.

And that's where my Independence Day story caught up with me. In that most unlikely of times: my spare minutes tucked away here and there in Italian B&Bs and cafes. The fact that the book was set in the White House and Paris (much to my surprise on the latter but the characters insisted). Thankfully I've been to both a couple of times so that research didn't slow me down.

I played with snipers on White House rooftops outside of Milan. I met the new National Security Advisor by the bridge in Dolceaqua Bridge painted by Claude Monet (picture above). I journeyed along the Seine on a dinner boat while lounging in the little towns of Cinque Terre (the other 2 photos above). I had a chance to walk once again with several of my characters: Frank and Beat, Peter and Zachary, and even Kee and Dilya visited along the way. I actually finished their love story on the flight home. The book just poured out of me.

And it did it in time for a June publication. Welcome to Roy's Independence Day

In many ways it was a journey of three years even though the writing occurred over a quick three months. And oddly, in some ways it was a journey of a decade as my desire to finally travel to Italy (which was amazing, I might add), ended up being the place where I wrote it.

I know that I've mentioned this before, but I love being a writer.