When I told my mother I was going to write books when I grew up, I didnâ€™t think
of sitting at a desk. I never once thought of holding a pen, using a computer,
agonizing over plots, and wondering about characters.
Hey, I was to be excused. I was five years old at the time.
All I knew was that I was going to create books. I often carried around a book
like a prop -- I was particularly fond of Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
because it was blue and dusty and heavy.
How I was going to produce these books was a mystery. I just knew I was. I was
so certain of it that I often sat on the front steps with my book on my lap,
announcing to anyone who walked by that I was going to be a writer. Until, of
course, my mother would find me, scoop me up and say: "Karen, what am I going to
do with you?" She sent me off to more productive pursuits like sand painting or
Today, I write books, but the how of it still escapes me. Writing seems to be a
cross between perseverance and magic. Sometimes, I feel like a lion tamer with
a whip, forcing those snarling words into place. Sometimes, I stare at the
screen, helpless and more than a little wistful.
One of my finished manuscripts rarely resembles the original plot because so
many more layers, characters, and issues have been added over time. The
manuscript takes on a life of its own.
However it happens, it feels like magic, and being part of the process is
sometimes fun, sometimes terrifying.
Let me tell you about the process involved in A Highland Duchess.
A Highland Duchess is
the second in the Tulloch SgĂ thĂˇn (Gaelic for mirror) trilogy. The story
of the mirror begins with Sold to a Laird and will
end with the last book, A Borrowed Scot in March, 2011. Each book can stand
alone, but what links them is the story of the mirror and how it passes from
woman to woman.
A Highland Duchess is
the story of a widowed duchess who didnâ€™t want a thing to do with men, marriage,
or love. Unfortunately, Fate intervened and she fell in love. However, she was
then forced to marry a total stranger.
When I first envisioned Emma, I didn't realize how battered she'd been by what
had happened to her over the course of the previous five years. But I soon
learned that she was a survivor, someone who wanted to be anyone but the Duchess
Emma, for some, might be a heroine without a backbone, and that might be an easy
conclusion to reach when viewing her from a 21st century perspective. However, a
woman, even a duchess, wasnâ€™t accorded many rights in the 19th century. A man
had total control over a woman's fortune. A husband could force his wife to do
anything he wanted and could spend her inheritance on anything, even a mistress.
He could divorce her easily for adultery, but the process was considerably more
difficult for a wife to do the same thing.
Emma had spent the entirety of her mourning period desperately trying not to
capture anyone's attention. She wanted to be ignored by society, since they'd
spent the last five years speculating about her, her husband, and the horrendous
entertainments held at the palatial Chavensworth.
The first book, Sold to a
Laird, showed one side of the estate. Emma's experience was totally
different. She hated everything about Chavensworth, and when she had to go there
to fetch the Tulloch mirror, it was one of the hardest acts she'd ever had to
After Emma is forced to marry, she discovers that not only is her husband a
drunkard and verbally abusive, but he's cousin to Ian McNair, the man she loves.
Frankly, she wonders if things can get any worse. Unfortunately, for her, they
However, Emma does develop a sense of rage over how sheâ€™s been treated. She
acquires the strength to fight back, just when she needs it most.
Emma began as an idea, but as the book developed, she felt more like a real
person, a woman of courage and determination, with a heart ready for love.
That, to me, is the magic of writing.
11 comments posted.
Obviously,your writing was a little magic with some complexity thrown in. You had your story line in your head, yet you had to research History to make it accurate and believable. In school I was encouraged to write. My Mother discouraged me. I wish my heart had been as strong as yours was. It was always my first love. I can see the passion in your words.
(Peggy Roberson 6:50am August 10, 2010)
I love the way you develope your characters and can't wait to read Emma's story. We all have challenges we must face in life and each of us face them from different perspectives. I admire how you bring that aspect of all of our lives to your characters.
(Jeanne Miro 9:26am August 10, 2010)
I am so glad that you and other authors think this way since we wouldn't have anything to read if you didn't.
(Diane Sadler 10:20am August 10, 2010)
I used to imagine that I had married a real, honest to God, cowboy and had moved out West where I sat outside under the huge blue sky and wrote all day - then I remembered I couldn't write - no matter how much I wanted to be able to!
(Kelli Jo Calvert 4:28pm August 10, 2010)
My mother used to tell me that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well...the first time!! Obviously, she knew it would be extremely difficult for creative people like you to produce quality 'reads' for the rest of us. thank you for making the effort.
(Susan Driskill 4:32pm August 10, 2010)
I am amazed at how creative people like you are! I enjoy your books keep them coming
(Vickie Hightower 9:05pm August 10, 2010)
I sm always amazed by the different plots that romance authors come up with. My hat's off to all of you!
(Gladys Paradowski 9:15pm August 10, 2010)
Persevering,you knew all along about the need and desire to write. The craft only works when you immerse yourself in it. Not so much magic, but sometimes the words seem to fly from your fingers and write themselves and evolve.
(Alyson Widen 9:22pm August 10, 2010)
I love talking to authors about their different ways of writing, and talking with them. I love to read but can't write to see my life!
dancealert at aol dot com
(Brenda Rupp 10:37pm August 10, 2010)