To a new book, that is. Having submitted a full manuscript to Harlequin Mills and Boon recently, I'm hoping they'll like it enough to ask for revisions. In the meantime, however, I'm in the wonderful position of being able to begin a new story with no immediate pressure of a deadline - at least not yet! And, while I never begin a book without the intention of eventual submission, I'm enjoying letting this one slowly grow. I'm definitely a half-plotter and half-pantser type of writer and I always start with a character sheet and plot synopsis, though inevitably these are never set in stone. For a writer, characters are real and, as human beings, they change and develop as the story progresses, reacting to and growing out of the emotional situations they are forced to confront, while remaining true to the people they are.
Every new book is an adventure and a journey of exploration for a writer, as much as for the characters. Keeping the emotional intensity high and the motivation clear and authentic, right from the first page, is a must. As I was writing this morning, and events were unfolding as per my loose synopsis, I found myself constantly asking 'why?' It's not enough just to put a character in a situation with another character without knowing why they are there, or even - as I had to learn today - why they'd go there in the first place if they didn't want to, with a person they didn't know or particularly like! Thank you, Kate Walker, for planting that all-important question 'why?' eternally in my vocabulary!!
Italy is the location for this story, a place I've visited twice and always intended to write about one day - and what more stimulating and enjoyable way to rediscover this beautiful country than setting it in a romance novel? As an incentive, I'm planning to revisit it in person next year, which is just about the best sort of deadline any writer could have :)
I've also started to brush up on my very rusty Italian, not only so that I can immerse myself in the culture for real next year, but also to enable my new hero to whisper some bona fide - and very sexy - words into the as-yet resistant ears of my heroine.
I wonder how long she'll hold out . . . ?