How SPARKS Caught Fire

sparksFace05_900x600Back in the mid-90’s the editors of the old Bantam Loveswept line created something called theme months. Established Loveswept authors were given a list of theme heroes and were invited to submit a synopsis for any and all of them. Themes like Men In Uniform, Fantasy Men, and Men of Magic, to name a few. I, along with Cindy Gerard, Leanne Banks and three others had our stories chosen for Fantasy Men month. Cindy wrote about a “ghost” hero, Leanne wrote about a European prince and I wrote about a modern day Tarzan (Trouble In Paradise, if you’re curious.) We all had so much fun with that project that we submitted more synopses for other theme months.

Men of Magic sounded like a fun theme so my five page synopsis concerned a hero who had to pretend he was a psychic. There was a strong secondary plot about arson that threatened to take over the romance. The editors liked parts of this idea but wanted me to lose the arson thread, beef up the romance and add a philandering husband. Ordinarily when an editor is asking for changes and the writer wants a sale (what writer doesn’t!?) the writer usually does what is asked. This time I couldn’t. The story was firmly in my heart, at least the bare bones of it. I thanked the editors but told them I’d rather not do the changes. (They ended up publishing five more books of mine.) There would come a time when I would write that story I intended. I put the five page synopsis away. For seventeen years!

About six months ago I found those five pages in the back of my catch all file cabinet. You can see where this is going. I re-read them and before I realized what was happening a story was evolving, fleshing out and heating up into a suspense. SPARKS soon became something different than a romance novel. Sure, there’s a sexy showgirl, but there’s also a detective (with past issues he must deal with) an arsonist (with a frightening criminal past), an Atlantic City police detective (that I absolutely adore) a ditzy wife (she was pure fun to write) and a very protective sister (who turns out to surprise just about everyone, but herself even more.)

I’m so glad I waited to write this story. It’s been one of the most satisfying writing projects I’ve ever done. I hope you give it a try, and while you’re at it, consider reviewing it.

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