Thursday, May 11, 2017

Winter is Coming

I’m so excited for people to finally see Winter Rain!  It was a story that took a while to write, and I always used to say that the reason for that was that my characters were a little shy.  That’s the way I think of my stories—my characters tell them to me and I write them down.  But as I found my way through the story of Winter Rain, I discovered that the sometimes difficult road it led me down had nothing to do with shyness. 

The story centers on Isabel, a gifted but shy musician and singer who is called back for a reunion with Shiloh Ridge, the band she played with six years earlier.  She is hesitant to go back, as are other band members, and through a series of flashbacks, it becomes evident as to why.

When she initially landed a gig playing with Shiloh Ridge, Isabel was almost immediately drawn to Spencer, the most rugged and talented in the band, and he to her.  They shared a moment together in which they dance slowly at a party thrown by Thomas, the band’s lead singer, and learn they have much more in common than music.  However, before their relationship can even take shape, Thomas makes a claim over her, even teasing her (maybe) by telling her he’ll hire her if she goes out with him.

This was the easy part, probably because it was the romantic part.  The ideas were coming fast and strong, like they do when we’re telling a good story we like to someone.  The building friendship and attraction between Spencer and Isabel, their first romantic meeting, was enjoyable to tell, so it wasn’t difficult.  It was fun.  I loved it, just like I loved the characters.  All good things must come to an end, however, and Isabel Spencer, and Thomas’s story was no exception.

Isabel tries to like Thomas while unbeknownst to her, he begins cheating on her with an ex-girlfriend.  Meanwhile, the friendship and attraction between her and Spencer grows.  But Thomas isn’t giving Isabel up without a fight.  His intense jealousy at Spencer’s natural musical talent makes him all the more possessive of Isabel and leads to a confrontation that renders each of them forever changed. 

This is where the story became difficult to write.  I knew something bad had happened between these three people, bad enough for them to separate without the thought of seeing one another again, but . . . what was it?  I didn’t know, and the characters weren’t telling me.

Tragic things are sometimes harder to talk about.  I can’t help thinking about a scene in the film Frankie & Johnny, when Michelle Pfeiffer is trying to tell Al Pacino about what her ex-husband did to her.  She begins, but can’t get the words out, only tears and hand gestures to imply her devastating past.  Long story short, he is patient with her, understands, and because he does, and so do the viewers. 

In the end, that’s the way I think of Isabel and Spencer.  It wasn’t that they were too shy to tell me what had happened years before, it was that it was difficult, maybe too difficult to get the words out right away and what was needed on my part was patience.  I’m glad I had it (like I had a choice! J), because once they told me what happened to tear them apart, I fully understood.  The trouble was, could time and the unburdening of painful secrets heal them enough to bring them back together? 

My hope was that they would.  As with many of my characters, I fell in love with them and if I told their story in a way that gives it justice, I feel as though my readers will, too. 

Happy reading, whether it’s my book or another!