Once again I’m bringing a character from an earlier novel into a more recent one. This time it’s Jonathan Fields.
We first meet Jonathan in The Deception as an Internet security and forensics expert who helps identify the person responsible for framing leading lady Carrie for something she did not do. As the story continues, a new and surprising connection between Jonathan and Carrie is revealed.
Jonathan was one of those characters whom I really liked. He’s smart, he’s sexy, and he’s an unlikely hero with plenty of potential for me to work with. So I brought him back in The Stalker. This time around he’s Shane’s boss, and, just like in The Deception, he helps leading lady Rachel identify an enemy out to destroy her.
Like most of my characters, Jonathan is fictitious and not based on anyone I know personally. There are, without a doubt, many real-life Jonathans out there, working quietly behind the scenes to make cyberspace safer for all of us.
I’m busy working on my upcoming novel, The Letter, and, as with my other novels, I’m having a great time getting to know this cast of characters.
The Letter is a story of things not being as they appear. Stephanie and Danny, the two leading characters, are in a happy relationship until Stephanie accidentally uncovers a love letter from Martha, a woman from Danny’s past. As the story continues, she’ll discover even more compelling yet circumstantial evidence, causing her to reach the wrong conclusion. Convinced that Danny has been cheating, she leaves, and with the start of a new job she meets Josh, who introduces her a whole new world. Unfortunately for Stephanie, Josh isn’t who he appears to be.
The Letter is turning out to be more of a classic romance, much like The Reunion. The story is set in Denver, as was The Reunion, and look for Paul, one of the featured characters in The Reunion to have a featured role in The Letter.
The Letter is inspired by a real-life event which happened to a good friend who accidentally came across a letter to her fiance from his old girlfriend. The ex girlfriend wanted him back, but she eventually moved on, and my friend and her fiance have been happily married for many years. However, this happened before email, text messaging and social media, so adapting the real incident to 21st century technology was a bit of a challenge.
Look for The Letter to be available in early 2018.
One of my cousins, who used to be an actress, once told me how she would feel her characters’ emotions as she portrayed them. She said that performing emotionally charged scenes left her feeling drained.
The same is true for me as a novel writer. With nearly every character I create, I experience their emotions as I write my scenes. Writing the dialog is usually the catalyst that drives those emotions.
I’m working on my next novel, The Letter. In one of the early chapters Stephanie and Danny, the leading characters, spend the Labor Day weekend at a bed a breakfast in Estes Park, Colorado. Writing the scene of them relaxing in their room and discussing their day hike in the woods was a pleasant experience. Danny, who’s also a photographer, has taken photos, and he’s showing them to Stephanie. After I finished the scene I felt calm and peaceful, as I too love photography, and one of my own life’s pleasures is to go out in the backcountry and take photos.
Unfortunately, not all is well with Danny and Stephanie. Danny is being hounded by Martha, a woman from his past, and I’ve been building up to a major confrontation between the two of them for sometime. This past week, I finally wrote the chapter where their conflict reaches its crescendo. I expected this scene to be fun to write. Martha really has been a pain in the butt. She most certainly has it coming, and I wanted Danny to feel vindicated. However, as I wrote the dialog I started feeling emotions I didn’t expect to feel.
Danny wants no further contact from Martha, but an obsessed Martha refuses to let him go. As the scene plays out, Danny becomes more and more frustrated with her unending state of denial, and as he struggles to get through to her he becomes more verbally harsh. I started feeling anxious as I wrote the dialog. Harsh words, even when justified, can hurt like a fist, and some of the verbiage I used brought back memories of arguments I had with of some of the jerks I dated in the past. By the time I finished I felt like I’d been sucker punched by both of them.
It was at this point that I’d planned to write Martha out of the story and have another antagonist take over, but now I think I’ll keep her around a little longer. Martha has a real knack for pissing people off, and talent like her’s really shouldn’t go to waste. While the new antagonist will be the main focus for the remainder of the story, Martha will spend some time going after those who she thinks turned Danny against her.
The Letter should be available by the spring of 2018.
There are two kinds of women who get involved with married men. Some are like Carrie, the leading lady in my earlier novel, The Deception, who are duped into believing the man is single and available. Then there is the other kind. She knows upfront that the man is married, but she chooses to get involved with him anyway.
Annette, one of the antagonists in The Betrayal, is the latter. Not only does she know, from the get-go, that Jesse is a married man, she also knows his wife, Emily. Jesse, however, is nothing if not charming and seductive. He takes full advantage of the fact that Annette has become disillusioned with her significant other, and he uses it as the catalyst to initiate their affair. In her own mind, Annette has convinced herself that not only would she be a better wife for Jesse, she’s actually doing Emily a favor by breaking them up. She knows Emily put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold to help Jesse with his career, therefore, she is, “helping” her by freeing her so she can finally pursue her dream. Emily, however, doesn’t see it that way.
Jesse soon tires of Annette. He ends the affair and tries to win Emily back, but Annette has no intention of going quietly into the night. She comes up with her own desperate scheme to get Jesse back, and the consequences will forever change the lives of everyone involved.
Annette is a purely fictitious character, and, thankfully, not inspired by anyone I’ve ever encountered. There are, unfortunately, plenty of real life Annettes out there. That’s what makes her the woman you’ll love to hate.
Rachel Bennett has a problem. A man from her past is obsessed with her.
A twenty-eight year old graphic designer, Rachel has recently returned to her hometown of Tucson, Arizona, and is attending her ten-year high school reunion. While she’s there she’s reintroduced to Shane MacLeod, a fellow classmate who she briefly met while serving on the yearbook committee. Rachel may not remember Shane, but he certainly remembers her, and as they’re busy getting reaquainted another man from Rachel’s past suddenly reappears. A former coworker, Craig Walker, has been stalking and harassing her for the past few years, and no matter how hard she tries to seek justice, the system keeps failing her.
Fortunately for Rachel, it’s all about to change. Shane is undaunted by Craig, and, with his help, things finally appear to be working in her favor. But unknown to them, Craig is about take his revenge, and Rachel’s life will never be the same.
Rachel was inspired by an acquaintance who was once hounded by a former colleague. She’s a courageous woman determined to regain control of her life, and she’s not afraid to back down from a fight.
What would a story of betrayal and adultery be without a cheating spouse? Jesse St. Claire, the unfaithful husband in The Betrayal, is perhaps my most complicated and enigmatic antagonist to date. Unlike Scott Andrews, the cheating husband in my earlier novel, The Deception, Jesse really isn’t a player. In fact, he’s never cheated before. A highly successful motivational speaker, Jesse steadfastly claims to love his wife, and, in his own strange way, he does. Or, at least he thinks he does.
Jesse has built his career on helping people take control of their lives, but his own life begins spiraling out of control when his wife, Emily, catches him in the act with Annette, his personal assistant. As Emily packs her bags and walks out the door, a determined Jesse tries to come up with a plan to win her back. Not only does he want to save his marriage, he also wants to save his career. Unfortunately for Jesse, his bad habits prove difficult to break, and his past soon comes back to haunt him, forcing him to once again betray his wife.
Jesse is a fictitious character not based on anyone I know. His inspiration comes from many stories of unfaithful men who claim to love their wives, which, for those of us who don’t cheat, is something we can never fully understand.
My editor loved Shane. She thought he was the best leading man since Alex Montoya in The Deception, and she has a point. Both will do whatever it takes to protect and defend the women they love, and both were “nerdy” kids when they were young.
Rachel and Shane went to the same high school, but had different circles of friends. Shane hung out with a couple of other nerdy kids, known as “The Math Club,” while Rachel, who was on the yearbook committee, took their club photo. And even though she didn’t notice him, he certainly noticed her, and he soon had a secret crush on her. Fast-forward to their ten year class reunion. Shane has gone from a nerdy teenager to a handsome, accomplished man, who, upon seeing her, reintroduces himself and invites her to join him at his table. Rachel accepts. The two quickly become friends, but little they know that another man from Rachel’s past intends to destroy her, and he will stop at nothing to get to her.
Like Alex, Shane is a purely fictitious character not inspired by anyone I’ve known in real life. Tis a pity indeed.
If you liked, The Deception, you’ll like The Stalker as well. Along with similar leading men and a supporting character who appears in both books, both leading women have enemies who intend to destroy them at all costs.
Sometimes the people we think we can trust the most are the very people who’ll betray us. As I mentioned in an earlier post,The Betrayalis also agood cop vs bad cop story. Kyle Madden, the leading man, is a good cop who risks his both career and his life to save Emily, the leading lady. However his partner, Beau Fowler, is also his nemesis.
A thirty-year police veteran, Beau has been a good cop who’s caught his fair share of bad guys, but during that time he’s also been passed up for promotions, oftentimes by younger officers he helped train. Now his luck appears to be changing. He’s been called to investigate a suspicious death at the home of a well-known motivational speaker. It’s the high profile case he’s been waiting for. All he has to do is get a conviction and he’s sure to get his long overdue promotion–even if it means framing an innocent woman. In Beau’s mind, people sometimes have the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Beau Fowler is a purely fictitious character, who, sadly, is inspired by the occasional bad cop out there who inflicts harm innocent citizens. Fortunately such officers are rare, as most are like Kyle; good people who put their lives on the line each and everyday.
I decided I would make Emily St. Claire, my leading lady in The Betrayal, a loving, devoted wife. Emily is happily married to Jesse, her college sweetheart, and she put her dream of becoming a concert pianist on hold, at least for a time, taking a job as an office manager so Jesse could launch his own career. And now that he’s become successful, it’s Emily’s turn to pursue her dream.
Unfortunately, Emily’s world is about to be turned upside down. She’ll get the shock of her life when she discovers Jesse has been unfaithful to her. Emily, however, is nothing if not resilient. She returns home to her father, and her piano, determined to follow her dreams, with or without Jesse. But as she begins to follow her dream, her life will take another unexpected turn. An unforeseen tragedy will lead her to Kyle, a man who’ll love her unconditionally, but before Kyle can pursue her, he has to save her from another enemy, determined to destroy her.
I wanted Emily to be the polar opposite of Maggie Andrews, the betrayed wife in The Deception. Both women have been deeply hurt by their husband’s infidelity, but Maggie chooses to take her wrath out on Carrie, her husband’s mistress, even with the knowledge that Carrie was completely unaware that Scott was married and had already ended the relationship. Maggie is a bitter, unhappy woman, who uses her husband’s affair as an excuse to destroy another person’s life because she believes doing so will somehow make her feel vindicated.
Emily, on the other hand, tries her best to handle her husband’s infidelity with grace and dignity, but another man will soon take advantage of her vulnerability, causing her to make a decision she will later regret, and that others will use against her.
While Emily is a fictitious character, the inspiration for her story came from two different friends. One was a man I dated many years ago who had caught his ex-wife in the act. The other was a friend who never forgot the day her father came home and caught her mother being unfaithful. Adultery doesn’t just harm the spouse who was cheated on. It affects others as well, and both The Betrayal, and The Deception, are stories about the long term consequences of infidelity.
If I had to list the most evil of the villains I’ve created so far, Denise Sanderson would certainly be at the top of the list, especially since she’s the last person readers would expect to be so evil.
Denise is a young nurse who seems to be genuinely compassionate and caring, but Denise has a darker side. When she was in nursing school, she frequented a bar called O’Malley’s Grill, and soon fell in love with one of the bartenders–Jeremy Palmer. Jeremy, however, didn’t feel the same about her, and when she tried to make their relationship more than friends he turned her down. Jeremy soon moved on and forgot about her, but Denise neither forgave, nor forgot, his rejection.
Jeremy and Denise would meet again, but under different circumstances. Denise, now a nurse, has been assigned to care for Cassie, Jeremy’s wife, who’s been seriously injured in a car crash. She quickly befriends both Cassie and Jeremy, and while Jeremy can’t quite place her, she seems familiar nonetheless. He feels he can trust her, but Denise will use his trust to unleash her revenge, and Jeremy’s life will never be the same.
Denise is a fictitious character, but she also represents a deep-seeded fear many of us may have. What if the people we trust to take care of us during our most vulnerable times really don’t have our best interests in mind?