I am now blinking against the light through bloodshot eyes, dragging the decrepit body around a long-neglected house buried under layers of dust and ever-growing TBR piles of books, trying to get as many things done as possible before I shut myself back in the cave to embark on the next book. I'm also giving myself a few treats and making a raid on the TBR piles as a reward for getting both books finished on time.
I love to lose myself in my characters but I always find starting a new book a scary experience. I am not a plotter. I have a vague idea where I am going, but it is my characters who take me there, often by a scenic or unexpected route! I know them and their back stories, I fling them together, and then they lead the way, often taking hold of the reins and ignoring all my attempts to control them and get them back on track again. Some are more sure of themselves than others, some more willing to discuss things, and some determined to go their own way and stuff their author's ideas, thank you very much!
The saddest part is saying goodbye - even if it is only temporarily because I might meet them again in linked books. I get so involved with them and their lives, and it takes a while to get them out of my head and ease the next cast in. Now I am at that turnaround point, sadly trying to let Seb & Gina venture out into the world without me, knowing I will catch up with them again in future Strathlochan stories, but sad to cut the apron strings. On the plus side, I get to welcome back Lauren, best friend to Chloe whose story I have already told and whose romance with the delectable Oliver will be out in the summer of 2008. Lauren's turn has come. She has a bumpy ride ahead but a scrumptious French hero called Gabriel is waiting in the wings to smooth out the choppy waters for her - if she'll let him.
Gabe & Lauren will soon be pulling me back into that cave and I will be able to lose myself in their story, hanging on to their coat-tails as they lead me on their journey through trials and tribulations, learning to love and trust, seeking their happy ending. And all the while the layers of dust and piles of books I'm yearning to read will begin to grow again.
Time flies when you are having fun - and despite the self-doubt, the times when things won't flow and the fright of staring at the blank first page, fingers poised over the keyboard, there is nothing quite like the feeling of launching out into a new ficticious world with a new cast of characters.
My current book, One Special Night, is out now in the UK and in Australia/New Zealand, available in bookshops, via Amazon or via Harlequin Mills & Boon's websites in those countries.
His Very Speical Nurse is now available via Harlequin's North American website.