Tuesday, March 28, 2006

How did you come up with your story idea?

A reader asked me the other day how I came up with my ideas for my third Quelgheny Romance from Leisure Love Spell, Endangered by Magic.

Although Kissed by Magic and Enchanted by Magic stand alone, I think I have always been working up to Endangered by Magic. The fairies Allegro and Largo had trials and tribulation in the first two books, which they needed to experience in order to face the dark dangers in this third book. This story was particularly challenging to write because I also added historical fact into the fiction. The king who took over France after Napoleon's defeat was gluttonous and ridiculous, a poor leader who impoverished the people even more. This, as I'm sure you can well imagine, caused unrest. Plus, he insulted the Tsar, which added to the strain. The feuds that I depict between Napoleon and his generals were the absolute truth, taken from several history reference books. All of this fit perfectly in my plot, to my delight.

A dark hero is my favorite kind of a hero. And Nolan is very tortured. I introduced him in Enchanted by Magic as the Bow Street Runner. In Endangered by Magic he has dark spells and doesn't know what causes them. He blacks out and can't remember what happens, which adds to his fear of losing control. Why are his clothes torn? Where has he been? In the prologue, he awakens to discover his beloved wife murdered and blood on his hands, which makes him go a little crazy. By chapter one, he becomes suicidal, taking horrendous risks with his life, not caring if he dies. Where did I get my initial idea for him?

Well, I have a friend who refuses to room with anyone during writing conferences because a couple times she woke up to discover she was naked. She had no memory of how she got that way or what she had done when she was in the nude. It totally freaked her out and she feared doing something that she'd be embarrassed about later, and so she didn't want anyone in the room with her. Although, I'm sure she wouldn't have murdered me, , and her situation was a more on the funny side, this kicked my imagination in gear for my hero, Nolan. Losing control is a scary thing, and that's what I wanted my strong masculine hero to experience to make him vulnerable.

At the beginning of the book, a troll attacks Allegro (my warrior faerie) and severs his pinky. This time, magic doesn't heal Allegro's finger in the manner he got his wings fixed at the end of Kissed by Magic. I did this on purpose, because I felt it strengthened his character. I'm a big fan of Terry Brooks. If you like fantasy, you really need to read his stories. Start out with the Sword of Shannara. Anyway, one of Brooks' characters in a later book loses his whole arm, and it was never restored although I found myself hoping it would be. But I realized the trauma made him a warrior, scarred in battle, but stronger than ever. That's what I wanted for Allegro.

Tessa, the heroine, was someone I've been wanting to write about for a long time. Half gypsy, she was raised in the camp for most of her life, then she was forced to live in English society. I did this for two reasons; I wanted her to learn her knife skills and how to survive in a very primitive, rough world with the gypsies because she would need to know exactly that to survive in the upcoming ordeal. Also, I wanted her to yearn for an identity, a place to belong. She's seen and experienced things no prim miss from the haut ton would ever dream of facing. If she was going to survive being with the hero and living in his magical world, she was going to have to already be acquainted with the idea of transition, because shifting to a magical world was going to be all that much more difficult. So that's why I had her switch from a wild gypsy girl in a totally different social structure to a member of the haut ton in a staid, uppercrust society.

Anyway, those were my thoughts, my ideas when I created this story. I hope you enjoyed the book!


Sally MacKenzie said...

People sometimes ask if I start with a plot or with some characters, but as you say, Gloria, the answer is both--the two interact to create the story.

Gloria Harchar said...

Yes, you said it in a nutshell! :)