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Guest Post: Amelia Grey, author of A Marquis to Marry

marquis coverFor 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 meetingthe first love scenethe 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?

A Marquis to Marry, Book Two in the Rogues’ Dynasty Trilogy, In Stores October 2009amelia-grey-photo

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.

Giveaway Info

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.

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12 comments to Guest Post: Amelia Grey, author of A Marquis to Marry

  • Please count me in as this sounds a very good book.

    Me being first I hope this is going to be lucky for me.

    Mystica

  • Interesting to see Grey’s general working notes. Not even as an editor can I generally tell what was planned from the beginning and what was spontaneous. Please don’t enter me in the giveaway.
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Fall Festival Recipe Exchange: Spiced Cider =-.

  • Good morning Everyone! I’m so happy to be here at Medieval Bookwrom today. Thank you for having me. This is a fabulous site.

    Mystica, thank you for stopping by and good luck winning the books!

    Beth, thank you for stopping by.

    I’ll check back later in the day so please feel free to leave a comment or questions.

    Amelia

  • I usually think that I can tell, but that’s usually just going on a feeling. I have had the opportunity to ask twice and happened to be right both times. Growth just feels more organic in some books than in others.
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Fall Festival Recipe Exchange: Black Bean Brownies =-.

  • lindymc

    I would guess that most authors do a little of both. As a reader, normally I can’t tell what is planned outside of the main characters “getting together” eventually. Certainly some spontaneous action adds to the story. These books sound good. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • I love reading about how authors craft their stories. As I’m reading a book, I generally don’t think about whether the storyline is planned ahead of time or not.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Mailbox Monday =-.

  • Hi :)
    Thank you for the great post here today Amelia.
    Sometimes I can tell right away & sometimes it comes as a complete surprise to me how the hero & heroine get their HEA.
    All the best,
    RKCharron
    xoxo
    .-= RKCharron´s last blog ..RKCharron: CONTEST from @sophisti_katied to win ARC of @maureenjohnson’s SCARLETT FEVER! http://bit.ly/PkP0k =-.

  • Hi Ladies! Thanks for stopping by. Nicole, sometimes I think I can tell what is planned to, but it might be what lindymc said about it being a little of both because that is the way I write, too. Kathy, I’ve found that a lot of readers like to know how authors come up with their storis. And RKCharron, great family picture!
    Amelia

  • Love the cover of the book! Personally, as a writer I do both–but I only write about art history, so it’s not really the same. I would hope as a reader I wouldn’t be able to tell what was planned in the plot or what wasn’t–I would want it to be seamless.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Fall Festival Recipe Exchange–Creamy Spaghetti & Chai =-.

  • etirv

    I really have no clue if what develops was planned or spontaneous. I just lose myself in a historical romance and don’t overanalyze! All I know is I’m guaranteed a HEA!

  • Very interesting post. I have often wondered how scenes and relationships like this came about, but never really knew for sure. I always thought if things were too painstakingly planned the effect might appear cardboard, but I have never had the opportunity to peek in on how a writer creates a relationship between two characters. I guess everyone does it differently, but it was very cool to see these sketches and how they go into the making of a story.
    .-= zibilee´s last blog ..Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel – 256 pgs =-.

  • Anita Yancey

    Most of the time I can’t tell what’s planned. But some books you can just tell what’s planned from the very start of the book. I don’t mind saying that I don’t care for reading those kinds of books. Please enter me. Thanks!