Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Guest Blogger Nikki Duncan - Scent Of Persuasion, Naughty Trouble

I thought writing SCENT OF PERSUASION would be easy. I knew my plot. I knew my hero. I knew my heroine. What I didn’t know was that knowing the heroine would give me fits. See, this Kami is not just any fictional character I cooked up or who came to me fully formed like some of my characters. I had trouble writing her for a good while. I knew what the problem was, but I couldn’t make myself change the heroine, because Breck was meant to be with Kami. No, I had to get past this.

So what was my issue? Other than the fact I was seeing a friend in the ever naughty role of an escort?

That was basically it. We thought it would be fun to name a heroine Kami. And it was. But no matter how loosely based the character was on my friend, it gave me a hard time. I was seeing my friend being put in the situations my heroine was in and they were NOT computing. My friend has spunk and a ton of heart and a loyal streak as wide as the Grand Canyon, but I could not imagine a single scenario where she would in real life pose as an escort to prove a loved one hadn’t committed suicide. I can see my friend fighting for her beliefs. I can see her falling for a guy like Breck. That was about it.

Another big issue I had was that the opening scene is Kami’s first assignment and every doubt she’s got is lunging to the surface and shoving her into a desperate back pedal. Proceed? Retreat? Find answers? Live in doubt? What’s the right answer? What price is too high to pay?

I tried to answer these questions for Kami. I found I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the answers, which made it impossible to write her for a long while. Only once I got it into my head that Kami was fictional, that she was not my friend, could I answer the questions and move forward. Yes, there were some similarities between my friend and Kami. There still are. Her spirit. Her generosity. Her spine. That’s about it.

My friend is an inspiration to me, but I’m still not sure I could answer any of those questions about her. What about you? If someone you loved died and you knew deep in your heart that it was not accidental or at their own hand, what would you do to convince the police? What if all you had to go on was your gut? Your instincts and knowledge of the person? What if you were faced with overworked cops who didn’t buy your story? Would you let it go? Would you push?

I know it’s a tough question to answer, and you may not be able to. But playing the what if game is what we writers do. It’s what makes our jobs fun. It’s what makes great stories possible. So, even if you can’t answer the questions about yourself, what is a great book you’ve read that made you wonder... What if?

SCENT OF PERSUASION release from Samhain Publishing, Tuesday, May 4th. It is the second book in the Sensory Ops Series, where each book is centered around a different sense. In book one, SOUNDS TO DIE BY, the hero was a blind listener for the NSA. In SCENT OF PERSUASION, escorts become a man’s lure to death by wearing a, shall we say, SCENT OF PERSUASION. :)
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Meg Benjamin said...

Hi Nikki, thanks for visiting us! You're right about the "what if" game. But I've gotta say, if it were me in danger, I'd probably end up cowering under the furniture. LOL

Debra St. John said...

Great post. I can't imagine having a main character based on someone on know, even in name only.

Nikki Duncan said...

Meg, thanks for having me here! And I can't blame you for the cowering bit. That would likely be me, too. lol

Debra, it was a tricky challenge. A very tricky one, but I love how it turned out.

flchen1 said...

Very neat, Nikki! Thanks for sharing that today!

Kelly Jamieson said...

Welcoem back Nikki and congrats on the release! Like Meg, I'd be cowering, too. That's why I love writing and I love that "what if" question - the heroine can be brave and smart and strong and many things that I am not!

Kinsey Holley said...

Oh wow - I'd never thought what it would be like to write a character based on someone I know. Now you've got me thinking. My old roommates been a suburban wife and mommy for 15 years now, but back in the day....lordy. The stories I could tell. That girl cut a swath...

Nikki Duncan said...

Thanks, Fedora.

Kelly, it's great to be here and I love the "what if" game and putting what I want to be in the heroines.

Kinsey, it's tough, but can be super rewarding and fun.