Tuesday, April 22, 2014
I was at a writers’ conference several years ago when I first heard this term. If I remember right, Mary Jo Putney was talking about how ideas for new books can form spontaneously…how a simple “throw-away line” in one book can spark and idea that suddenly unlocks a possibility that hadn’t been there before. It struck me so strongly perhaps because it had recently happened to me.
At that time, I had just finished what would become my first published book, ROGUE COUNTESS. I already had much of the follow up title, RECKESS VISCOUNT, worked out in my mind if not on paper. But something had happened while I was writing ROGUE COUNTESS. My hero in that book had a friend; a stuffy, arrogant marquess named Rutherford. He was created as a foil for the hero, a man’s man who tended to say what did not want to be heard, but needed to be.
I had no intention of giving Rutherford his own story. To be honest, he didn’t seem to be much of a hero type. He was a conventional English lord with no great back-story, no inspiring goals or challenges. He was sort of dull.
But then…one “throw-away line” changed all of that.
It occurred near the mid-point of ROGUE COUNTESS, at a house party where my hero and heroine were exchanging some barbed words and thinly veiled threats (they did not get along very well at first). Rutherford was there, unabashedly eavesdropping on the encounter, ready to take his friend’s side. Their hostess that night happened to be a woman who was relentless in her attempts at enticing Rutherford to consider her daughters for matrimony. And Rutherford was equally dedicated to avoiding such match-making schemes.
My heroine, the rogue countess herself, grew irritated with Rutherford’s intrusion and couldn’t resist pointing something out just to annoy him.
“By the way, Lady Terribury has seven lovely daughters, three not yet out of the school room. Good luck.”
And with that “throw-away line” a whole new world came into existence for Rutherford.
How fun to have such a stoic self-contained gentlemen as the target of an obsessive match-making mama with no less than seven daughters to marry off? And what if, after evading six of them, he encounters something unexpected in the seventh and final Terribury…?
Of the three in the series, REBEL MARQUESS was the most fun to write. There was just something exciting about discovering the sexiness beneath Rutherford’s staid and haughty exterior. And then to pit him up against an unconventional young woman with a quick wit and absolutely no interest in marriage, especially to him…I never knew what sparks would fly between them.
The below excerpt takes place just after Eliza Terribury unknowingly falls in with one of her mother’s plots and finds herself meeting the Marquess of Rutherford for the first time. Gratefully, Eliza manages to thwart her mother’s plan by hiding in Rutherford’s water closet. But once free of her mother, she still has the marquess to deal with.
“A clever predicament you have put us in, Miss Terribury.”
Eliza didn’t miss the way he said her name as if it were a curse. Her indignation grew. He may have reason to distrust Lady Terribury since he had been countering her machinations for more than a decade. But Eliza was getting annoyed at how readily he was prepared to think the worst of her. She did not appreciate being the object of such blind and unreasonable prejudice.
“Now just a moment. You force me to be insulted after all.” She propped her hands on her hips and eyed him with a direct, accusing stare. “I tried to be empathetic since I know what you have had to endure from my mother over the years, but I have had enough of your continued insistence that I had something to do with this when I stated I did not. I have absolutely no desire to maneuver you into a compromising position. In fact, I would prefer to avoid the whole marital business altogether.”
He harrumphed. “You expect me to believe—”
His argument was cut short by the sound of the outer bedroom door opening.
Eliza froze, her breath stopping. Surely her mother wouldn’t come back again.
Rutherford must have considered the same possibility since he stepped forward into the small bathing room and kicked the door shut behind him. He placed his hand over her mouth to silence her.
She yearned to tell him the precaution was unnecessary. But it would have to wait since she could barely move her jaw beneath his heavy palm.
As they both stood stock still listening for a clue as to who had entered the room beyond, she noticed that his hand over her mouth was not the only place he touched her. He’d wrapped his other arm tightly around her waist and held her securely against him. She suspected it was to hold her in place and prevent any movement that might make noise. When he had stepped toward her, she had instinctively raised her hands. The skin of his bare chest was hot and smooth under her fingers. Rough curls tickled her palms.
If not for his hand over her mouth, the position would have felt curiously similar to an embrace.
Time seemed to slow in a dramatic fashion as she detected the heavy thud of his heart beneath her hand and the way their breathing had found a matching rhythm. Eliza took a slow breath through her nose and drew in the scent of citrus and some unfamiliar spice from his skin. It was a clean and exotic scent that tantalized Eliza’s senses, bringing sudden warmth to her skin.
She looked up at his face. His head was turned to the side as he kept his gaze on the door, and she noticed the rough stubble of hair growth on his jaw. The steady thrum of his pulse showed at the side of his throat and Eliza felt her mouth go dry. She drew a long breath through her nose to dispel the sudden wave of lightheadedness that threatened to overtake her.
What on earth was wrong with her?
REBEL MARQUESS is available from Samhain publishing and anywhere ebooks are sold.
Amy Sandas’s love of romance began one summer when she was thirteen and complained of boredom. She ended up with one of her mother’s Barbara Cartland books and an obsessive interest that expanded from there. Her affinity for writing began with sappy pre-teen poems and led to a Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.
She writes in the early mornings while her young kids are still asleep and dreams of a future when she can write all day instead of going to her “other” job. In the evenings, Amy is a full-time wife and mother who enjoys pizza, wine and dark brooding heroes … namely, her husband.
You can find Amy on her blog at http://amysandas.wordpress.com
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmySandas?ref=hl
Or Tweet her at https://twitter.com/#!/AmySandas
Posted by Nine Naughty Novelists at 4:00 AM