I’ve known Ann Lawrence since we both got published around the same time and ran into each other at a conference. She’s been one of my favorite authors, especially her medieval historicals, since I read that first book! I’m so excited to see her books re-released in digital formats and even more thrilled to know she’s working on a NEW medieval romance — so please meet my friend, Ann Lawrence. . . .
Before I tell you a little about what inspired my books, I have to say I’m so happy to be a guest here at Jaunty Quills! I was really worrying about what to write (I’m a champion worrier). I can write for hours as long as it’s fiction! But a blog is non-fiction and that just makes me freeze, fingers hovering over the keyboard, mind blank!Do you like to know what goes on behind the scenes of a play?
Do you like to know what inspired an author to write a story? I find I’m asked this question all the time.
Luckily, while I was pondering what to write, I received two emails from readers asking me where I got the idea for my paranormal romance, VIRTUAL HEAVEN. By the time I’d answered the emails, I’d pretty much written my JQ blog.
I could have given this blog many different titles: All the Bits of Me I Find in My Stories, How I Murdered My Sister, or Animals Can Steal the Show, but they were way too long, so I’m sticking to The Story Behind the Story.
Before I get to VIRTUAL HEAVEN, I need to tell you an anecdote. While I was writing a book, my sister rescued a greyhound. I just loved Trina, and that led to thinking about dogs and the medieval hunt. The hunt theme provided me with a metaphor for the hero’s pursuit of not only a traitor, but also the heroine. While my critique group was going over the story with me, one writer friend said, “It’s so nice you put your dad in your story.” I hadn’t even realized what I was doing!
There are many parts of my dad in Nat, Joan Swan’s father in LORD OF THE HUNT. Joan’s trying to protect her dad’s livelihood as he struggles with his failing memory as my dad was as well. My dad’s also in VIRTUAL DESIRE in that he drew the treasure map for the book. He drew lots of treasure maps for my kids, and they spent many happy hours with their granddad searching for buried treasure. Here’s one map he and my son made:
But when it comes to paranormal romances, the bits of me in the story are not so obvious. They’re there, just a bit more hidden. I taught fifth grade science when I first began writing my “virtual” series. I went to a conference on virtual reality at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute. I tried out the latest in VR equipment aimed at the gaming world. It was so realistic and fun that I just had to put it in a book, but I needed a game for VIRTUAL HEAVEN that would appeal to someone like me who loves swords and quests and warriors. I combined them all and made a “time-travel” into a fantasy game called Tolemac Wars.
All my settings exist, although I’ve “altered” them for my paranormal romances. My castles are based on my favorites in England. I’m especially fond of Rochester Castle as I was born nearly in its shadow.
So, my inspiration comes from the places and the people and the animals I love. It’s as simple as that. Here’s my latest helper/beta reader. Tiger Lily’s searching for her name. She’s also interested in the rats in the historical romance I’m working on that will be out in late fall (the one thing my hero fears). I guess I’ll have to give her a story of her own!
How about you? Do you like to know what goes on behind the scenes of a play? Do you like to know what inspired an author to write a particular story? I’m offering a free digital download of VIRTUAL HEAVEN, being reissued this month as an ebook (winner’s choice of digital format), to one lucky person who comments on my blog. Winner will be announced on Sunday, August 18, 2013.
Nothing extraordinary has ever happened to MAGGIE O’Brien until the day she plays a fantasy game for the first time. Something goes awry and Maggie finds herself in a world engulfed in war–a world of warriors and quests. When KERED comes to her rescue, Maggie can’t deny his devastating effect on her, and once she falls in love, she has only one decision to make . . . his world or hers.
Kneeling at the edge of the brook, Maggie ignored Kered’s presence and scrubbed her underwear. Just as she gave them a final rinse, he reached over and plucked them away.
“You wretch!” Maggie squealed as Kered held her panties over her head at eye level.
“What manner of garment is this?’’
“Give…me…my…underwear!” Maggie bit out.
He scratched his head. “How would such a thing keep you warm?”
“They’re not supposed to keep you warm.” Maggie tried to snag the panties, but he blocked her with his shoulder.
“What purpose do they serve?” He flipped them inside out, splayed his fingers, and peered inside the waistband.
Maggie’s pressed her hands to her face in mortification.
Kered raised his eyes in bafflement, then froze. “Maggie,” he said, and placed a hand on her shoulder, “forgive me.”
He extended her panties. She snatched them from his hand. In strained silence, they moved to the fire’s side, where she knelt and spread her underwear on a rock. She fussed with them to avoid speaking to Kered, who crouched at her side.
“I have shamed you. My only excuse is…surprise. I have never seen such a garment, but ‘tis no real justification for my behavior.”
“I forgive you,” Maggie murmured, tears glistening in her eyes. “It’s not this.” She gestured to her steaming underwear. “It’s not being trusted.”
“I trust you.” He slipped his fingers into her hair, drawing her forward, his mouth crushing down on hers.
She moaned softly. When he parted his lips, she thrust her tongue into his mouth.
“Nilrem’s knees!” Kered flung himself back on his heels, staring at her in bewilderment. “This…I…by…what?”
Maggie reached out and pressed her fingers to his lips. “Don’t you kiss like that, here on Tolemac?”
“By the sword, no!” He drew her forward until only a sheet of paper could have separated them. “It is spoken that some pleasure slaves are taught special wiles to tempt a man to betray his duties. Are you tempting me to forget my quest?”
Maggie frowned. “You think I’m deliberately tempting you from your mission?’’
“I do not know. One moment you are like sweet innocence. The next…artful.”
She began to shake in his arms. “No. No. I wouldn’t do that to you. I’m not tempting you from anything. You started it. You kissed me.”
Kered nodded. He pulled her so close she could feel his breath on her mouth. “Aye. I began this.” He lowered his head. “Again, Maggie. Taste me, again.”
Maggie froze. First his distrust, next the humiliation of having her ragged underwear inspected, and now he thought her an artful temptress, luring him from his quest. And still, he wanted a kiss.
She pushed him away and rose, shaking out her skirts. “No. I won’t be accused of tempting you from your sacred mission. I have no desire to kiss you. One kiss was quite enough for me.”