For today’s guest post, I’ve asked Amelia Grey to share with us how she manages to build the relationship between her hero and heroine. I hope you find her answer as interesting as I do. Stay tuned for giveaway info at the end of the post!
Every writer has a different way to develop the relationship between the hero and heroine. Some plan out the development from start to finish and they know exactly everything that will happen between them before they write the first word of the book. Others allow the relationship to grow spontaneously from the start and never write a word of synopsis or plan any of the story in advance. When I think about this concerning my books, I realize that most of the time I actually do a little of both.
I always start by writing a master plan, which is actually my synopsis, and the development of the romance is a big part of that. Writing a synopsis allows me the time to think through the major events in the hero and heroine’s relationship. To me those major events are the meeting, the first love scene, the break up, and then the makeup. Everything that comes between the meeting and the makeup is what I like to call the courtship.
To me the courtship of the relationship is the part that is spontaneous as I write. That is what I allow to grow and develop as I write the story, and sometimes, I’m astounded at what comes up during the courtship. Let me give you an example from my current book A Marquis To Marry, which is the second book in The Rogues’ Dynasty Series.
First I’ll give you a short, word-for-word excerpt from the original synopsis that I sent to my editor. This will show you how from the beginning how I set up what I call the major events to love story.
The meeting: But then the duchess shows up at his door. She’s not old and she’s not ugly. Susannah Brookfield is Race’s age. She’s beautiful, enchanting and has the most tempting lips he’s ever seen. With her intelligence and wit she intrigues him as no other woman ever has.
Susannah doesn’t care how fast her heart beats when she encounters the Marquis. She can’t allow him to intimidate her with his commanding words or enthrall her with his chiseled good looks and charming smile.
The love scene: Race and Susannah meet again at a party, and Race asks Susannah to dance. The minute their hands touch he knows he wants her in his bed. And he has no doubts he’ll get her there. He senses she is as drawn to him as he is to her, and being a widow she has the freedom to accept him as a lover.
Even though Susannah believes Race is trying to trick her into giving up her claim on the pearls by charming her into his bed, she finds his kisses too persuasive to resist. She surrenders to his skilled seduction and they become lovers.
The break-up: But later, things take a decided turn for the worse when Race discovers the ropes of pearls have been stolen from his home. He automatically assumes Susannah had someone steal them while he was at her house making love to her. With distrust between them, separately they search for the pearls.
The makeup: Race and Susannah’s attraction to each other is maddening and irresistible. Before too long they end up back in each other’s arms.
All of the above was written before I wrote the first sentence of the book. But that gave me a fairly good outline of where in the book I needed the major scenes of the loves story. I had no idea what would happen during what I call the courtship. That is where I let the characters take over and show me what they want to do and say to build their relationship.
When I started writing A Marquis To Marry, I had no idea that in the beginning Race and Susannah would be competitive with each other, but they are. I had no idea that throughout the book Race was going to write Susannah short, informal notes that makes her heart pound with excitement every time she gets one. I had no idea that Race would have to cut a hole through a seven-foot high and three-foot wide hedge to get to Susannah’s house, or that they would attend a boxing match together. I hadn’t planned out any of the little things that would make their relationship grow and thrive.
So now that I’ve shown you how I develop the relationship between the hero and heroine, why don’t you tell me if, when reading a book you can tell what is planned from the beginning, developed spontaneously, or do you think all authors are like me and do a little of both?
Alexander Mitchell Raceworth, the dashing fourth Marquis of Raceworth, is shocked when the alluring young Duchess of Brookfield accuses him of stealing pricelesspearls belonging to her family. Susannah Brookfield is the most beautiful, enchanting woman he has ever met, but despite his attraction, he’s not about to hand over the pearls.
Though suspicion and mistrust drive them apart when the pearls are stolen, Race suggests they pool their resources to recover them. If they do find them, will they finally be able to give in to love, or will the truth of the elusive necklace tear them apart once and for all?
About the Author
Amelia Grey’s awards include the Booksellers Best and the Aspen Gold, and as Gloria Dale Skinner, the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Happily married for twenty-five years, she lives in Panama City Beach, Florida.
Sourcebooks is sponsoring a giveaway for one reader to win a set of Amelia’s current romances in this trilogy, A Duke to Die For (which I reviewed here) and A Marquis to Marry. To enter, leave a comment on this post with an answer to Amelia’s question above before midnight on Monday October 26th. US and Canada only. Good luck! The winner of this contest according to random.org is commenter number twelve, Anita Yancey.