In a comment to the New Book post, Morgan asked the question below, and I’m moving it up here to make it easier to see the answer in case others are interested.
Hey Ellen – I have been curious, but not sure if you can answer this now. However, you had mentioned that Beautiful Bad Man was initially not your intended next book, but due to an obsession you switched plans. Did the idea for this book just “pop” into your mind and you just had to ride it out? As for your other “plan” had you started to write and then stopped or have you continued working on it? I am not meaning to be nosy, rather intrigued by your process and how this book came about 🙂 .
To answer the first question, yes, what I think of as the core idea for Beautiful Bad Man did just pop into my mind and once it was there, it overrode everything else. For me each book has a central idea and the story gets built around it. You might laugh at some of them. For Eyes it was write a romance that avoids every single romance trope you hate. For Sing it was write a romance with a hero as different from Cord Bennett as possible but still a strong guy who could charm your socks off. For Dancing it was write a Native American romance that’s actually realistic. For Bad Man it was what if the hero isn’t a genuinely decent guy like Cord and Matt?
In Sing My Name, Beau Taney mentions the fact that Matt Slade has a strong moral compass. For Bad Man my thought was what if the hero is a guy who has pretty much no moral compass but does have a connection to the heroine that keeps him halfway straight around her? I think part of the reason I got so obsessed with the idea was that I didn’t get working with a really difficult guy out of my system in Dancing. In some ways I can see where the ideas of each story lead into the next one.
As to the book that got pushed down, the truth is they all got pushed down a slot. No, I hadn’t started writing any other romance at the time this one took over. I was working on the next mystery, and I have finally got it worked out and I think lined up logically enough to finish writing. (I find mysteries much harder than romances because, well because they’re mysteries with that clue stuff and all.)
I do have the preliminary outline for the next romance done. I’m back to a decent guy, although he has his own issues and a temper. The plan, assuming I’m back on track, is finish the mystery and then do the next romance. I have a good part of the mystery written and had a lot more, which I stupidly and absolutely through my own fault and carelessness lost when a computer crashed. I let it reload Windows from scratch, even after reading the warning that it would wipe out all data on the PC. I have backups of everything on here, I thought. Well, no, I didn’t and losing so much of a story just took all the sap out of me to the point I stopped writing that story completely and here we are a year later, and I’m just back to where I’ve taken it up again, reworked the outline to what I think is a better story (and won’t have me plodding along, grinding my teeth and recreating what was already done and lost), and am ready to go.
So thanks for the interest. Hope that wasn’t way TMI.