My website has been updated with all the behind-the-story info for MORE THAN MOST (More Book 2). I shared most of these during the book’s release party, but now all the character interviews, playlists, related blog posts, and character sketches for the series are available in one place. And if you haven’t read it yet, don’t miss the brief conversation with Matthew that takes place before the third book in the series.
Click here to enter the giveaway. One entry per person per day during the release party.
Here are a few of the songs that remind me of Richard, Matthew, and Luke and their journey in MORE THAN MOST. If you can’t see the embedded video for each song, you can click on the song title to view it on YouTube. I tried to link to the official video when available.
Enter the Release Party Giveaway for a chance at a $25 e-gift card to All Romance eBooks and a bundle of Sloan Parker’s novels in print. You can enter the giveaway once per day for a total of seven entries per person. The giveaway ends 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
Right now I’m putting the final polish on MORE THAN MOST. (I’m so thrilled with how it’s turned out and I can’t wait to share it!) At this point in the process, I usually spend my days walking around the house reading the manuscript aloud. I look for anything that stands out: repetitive or missing words, odd phrasing in dialogue, continuity issues, moments when an emotional reaction would up the intensity of the scene, that kind of thing.
I’m also at the point where I know the story so well that I sometimes start “acting out” certain parts. Every time I read the same scene over and over, I make hand gestures and facial expressions when the characters do. I lick my lips when they do. I move when and how they do. (And let me just say, I’m so glad no one has a camera anywhere near me during this phase of the writing process.)
So I thought it might be fun to share some of the specific moments from my books where I caught myself really stepping into the role of the characters.
So in no particular order, here are my more embarrassing moments as a writer:
I squeezed my eye shut imitating Walter when Kevin punched him, and then dabbed at the “tender” skin below my eye. (HOW TO SAVE A LIFE)
I banged my fist on my desk when Luke did the same on a diner table after talking with his father. (MORE)
I limped around the house like Richard after he’d twisted his ankle. (MORE THAN MOST)
I went to scoop up little Jessica and carry her through the house like Lincoln did when Nancy’s place was on fire. (BREATHE)
I shoved open the (non-existent) bathroom stall door and stormed across the room when Lincoln found out who the man was that he’d kissed. (BREATHE)
I squinted as the wind whipped around Evan when he was trapped in the blizzard, even though I was writing that book in the middle of summer. (TAKE ME HOME)
I raised my arm to shuffle Mateo into his apartment just as Grady did when he finally located him. (I SWEAR TO YOU)
I picked up the pace when Mark raced after Scott when Scott freaked out and ran out of Mark’s apartment after they’d tried to spend their first night together. (MORE THAN JUST A GOOD BOOK)
I puffed out my cheeks when Sean stuffed his mouth with two dinner rolls when he’d first met Gavin. (SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN)
And perhaps the MOST embarrassing:
I reached for my dick (of which I do not have) when Walter told Kevin to touch himself. And I did it again every single time I read that scene. (HOW TO SAVE A LIFE)
Now that’s dedication, right? Or a really, REALLY nutty writer, I’m not sure which.
I’ll just say I’m very passionate about my work and leave it at that.
Today’s winner of the I SWEAR TO YOU Release Party Giveaway is: Kelsey O. Congratulations!
I SWEAR TO YOU is now available at Amazon!
Here are some behind-the-story tidbits from my writing of Grady and Mateo’s story:
In the original premise I pitched to my publisher, Mateo and Grady’s roles were reversed. As the story unfolded, it became clear Mateo should be the one who had no one in his life after he thought he’d lost Grady, and Grady should be the more reluctant one when it came to the two of them first being together.
In an early draft, the first kiss between Mateo and Grady happened at a frat party in a bedroom upstairs. I wanted them to stop thinking and give into everything they were feeling, ultimately having sex in that bedroom at the frat house. But as I started working on that scene, I decided I wanted them to be at the lake and to not go “all the way.” That one decision was the moment everything started to fall in place for this story.
Much of this story’s first draft was written by hand in restaurants and a local coffee shop.
I Swear to You was probably one of the most linear stories I’ve ever written, meaning I started at the beginning and basically worked my way toward the end. I did have outline notes for some of the later chapters, but I wasn’t quite sure what the final scene would look like until I got farther into the story. Usually I know how each story ends very early on in the process, sometimes going so far as to write the ending before 3/4 of the book is drafted.
I had several ideas in mind for what Mateo had witnessed in his past, and until I wrote the scene in the bathroom where he tells Grady the truth, I wasn’t certain which version I was going to use.
Remember, if you haven’t done so yet, enter my release party giveaway for a chance at one of this week’s giveaways of a $10 e-gift card to All Romance eBooks. If you’ve already entered, you’ll be included in all of this week’s giveaways until you win a prize or the party ends. You only need to enter once. Good luck!
The “Behind the Stories” pages on my website have been updated for several of my books with a sample of research links for each story, new related blog posts, a short playlist for SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN, pictures of my organization-crazy scene board for HOW TO SAVE A LIFE, and a few tidbits about the writing of BREATHE, including why I smashed the toy car pictured above. You can check out all the new info at the links below:
When writing I often utilize my imagination, but I also will pull from my own experiences and the details I can recall about certain places I’ve been or people I’ve met. For Take Me Home I was able to use my experience of traveling across the United States on a passenger train.
But I also do a fair bit of research for each of my stories. I used to dread research, but I’ve learned to embrace it and see it as an opportunity for two reasons: 1) to learn something new about whatever I’m researching and 2) to expand my understanding of the world and the characters in which I’m writing about in a particular story.
I’m a visual person. I find pictures and videos helpful to really get into the story. Even if my description ends up nowhere close to the visual, the images create a spark of ideas in my mind that keeps the description from being stale and typical (at least typical for my writing and my usual vocabulary). Through my writing research I’ve learned about places, occupations, animals, symbolism, and more I might never have had a reason to delve into otherwise.
During my research phase of writing Take Me Home, I saved links and images and descriptions in one document for inspiration as I wrote. So I thought I’d share a preview of Take Me Home using only a sampling of the pictures from my research notes. Under each photo is a link where I found the photo and the credit if it’s available.
**Please note: Some may consider the following minor spoilers for the story, but the pictures give away only a few more specifics than the blurb and merely illustrate the story’s premise.