With Rules in Revenge daily chapters hitting the wild, let me take you in for a little sneak peek behind what went into this book and why it’s only available on the Harlequin.com website.
First, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have this book out! It was a painstaking process to finally get Bennett’s story right because it took me four separate tries for me to figure him out. And the book isn’t even that big.
What helped was fleshing him out in Rules in Rescue first, then he could finally move on to get his own happily ever after.
So *rubs hands together* let’s dive in to behind the scenes of the making of Rules in Revenge.
Where I Got the Inspiration
If you’ve already checked out Rules in Revenge’s Pinterest board, then you’ll see Bennett Spencer is modeled after hunky Bones federal agent David Boreanaz, and his leading lady –Autumn—resembles Kristen Bell. Bennett is just as protective as Special Agent Seely Booth, and Autumn… Well, I like to think of her as a mix between Veronica Mars and Eleanor from The Good Place.
Given I only had 10,000 words for these two to have a happily ever after, I knew my hero and heroine had to have met before the story started, and their past one night stand was born. I love the reunited lovers trope to explore each others’ emotional issues and pasts before trusting one other again. There’s always a tension between them they want to ignore but danger is closing in and driving them together at the same time. Add in the fact he blames her for his sister’s disappearance, and the sparks start flying and so did the words.
But it wasn’t always like this.
The Struggle was Real
Like I said above, it took me four tries to get this story right, and that meant starting—and deleting—four separate plot lines, changing out my heroine’s occupation a dozen times, setting the book on the back burner to focus on other projects, and then forcing myself to put my fingers to the keyboard.
In some cases, I got as far as 25% drafted before I decided the plot wasn’t working. In other cases, just a few paragraphs. One of those was a serial killer antagonist, but in the end, I felt a romantic suspense short wasn’t the right place for that kind of story.
Some of those deleted plot lines will actually take place in future books for my Intrigues, so they weren’t completely useless, but it took me over two years to finally feel the story I had in mind for Bennett was right. Yep. Two years. For a 10,000-word story.
A large part of my creative process is listening to my gut. I can plot all I want, write out every detail that’s going to happen in the book, but when I’m actually getting the words down, I listen to my body in order for it to tell me which direction the book and the character development needs to go. And none of those deleted plot lines made the cut.
Why the Book is Only on Harlequin.com
Last year, I started a movement in my own business and personal growth that I was going to challenge myself, my writing, and my creativity in as many different ways as possible. I’d already signed two contracts with Harlequin Intrigue, but I wanted to try something I’d never done before.
Authors are usually approached to write the free shorts on the website, but after talking to one of my closest writer friends as she was working on one of her own, she advised me to submit a proposal for one.
I thought this would be the perfect baby step to start writing out of my comfort zone (even though I’m still writing romantic suspense, writing these shorts is a whole other talent), and so I submitted the outline for Rules in Revenge. Within a couple of months, I signed the contract and was given the go-ahead to write the book, and here we are.
Other Fun facts about the book
- Autumn Staver’s name was chosen by a “name that character” contest in my Addicted to Danger Facebook group
- I wrote the book so fast once I got the plot line right (8 days) that I didn’t have time to create a playlist to write to. I wrote in silence alongside the growls from my stomach.
- Harlequin has very strict guidelines on how long the chapters need to be for their free reads and put a lot of focus on the end hook of each one. Cutting down each chapter to only 500 words was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (not including my latest proposal I just sent my agent <— that was the hardest).
Want to know more about this fun little short? I’m open for questions! Also, be sure to catch daily chapters of the book starting July 8, 2019 on the Harlequin website.