Friday, December 12, 2008

This Is How The Story Goes - Lauren Dane

All of my books begin with a wisp of an idea. Sometimes it's a song, or I have a dream, or I see something that jogs my creativity for a story idea. The book formerly known as Battlefront, now UNDERCOVER, is no different. It all started with a picture of Dominic Purcell.

I’d had a flash of a scene where a hardassed warrior woman punches out an ex-lover when she’s put under his command, living in my head for a while. And then I was reading my husband’s copy of Best Life magazine and I saw that picture and I said, “There he is.”

Essentially I had my hero, or one of them and the scene where he and Sera, my heroine, are reunited after being apart for ten years. He’s big and muscled, bald with markings of his rank and station in life on his skull. Basically, it wasn’t hard for me to write the scenes where he dominates her because he embodies a very dominant man and I only needed to fill in his personality.

Counter to that harsh, jagged-edged masculinity is Brandt, the other hero. Where Ash is arrogant and outwardly dominant, Brandt is the kind of man who wears tailored clothing over his tightly muscled form. Where Ash is bald and marked so publically, Brandt’s black hair hangs past his butt. He’s smooth and his dominance comes from the inside.

These two men form bookends to Sera, who is conflicted. And Sera, she’s only like Sera. Tall, thin, whip-smart and battle-hard. But she’s also beautiful in her own way and the longer she’s with these men, the more beautiful she feels. Her heart was broken by Ash. Ash, who was forced into a political marriage but despite being forced, it still left her alone. She’s had to rebuild herself into a woman who doesn’t need anyone. She’s the one who is needed. She is the one who leads, but despite her feelings of rage toward Ash, she loves him still. She’s put into a situation leaving her open to creating a relationship with Brandt and pretty soon, they’re all in a tangle of their own making, exacerbated by outside forces.

So I built the story, layer by layer. I wanted a futuristic setting because I liked building the world with its strict class layers and political intrigue. At the same time, I didn’t want to create a world with so many terms and names to attempt to be “futuristic” that I alienated and confused readers either. So a shoe is a shoe. A bra is a bra. Time is a bit different but the explanation is fairly simple. There’s a line to walk, just like with paranormals where the suspension of belief has to be carried off. But it’s also why I absolutely love to write paranormals and futuristics. It’s my world! I can do anything I want. There’s responsibility to make it a believable place, but it’s mine.

I had a great time writing the book. I loved each of the main characters, loved their flaws and their strengths too. When my agent read the proposal she wrote me back and said, “This is the one. I can feel it.”

She was right. As she often is, LOL. It took about five months to hear back but then it all happened very fast. My little scrap of a scene with the heroine punching out the hero combined with that picture of Dominic Purcell turned into nearly 100,000 words.

Sometimes a story is with you a long time. It takes years to sell it or it gets sold but doesn’t come out for a while after that. My novella Stripped in the Vegas anthology took four or five months total from being asked if I was interested in writing something, writing it and pitching and selling it. But then it took about a year and a half after we sold it to get it released! Undercover had been in my head in the form of that little scene, for about a year before I saw that picture. And now it’s here.

I hope you all enjoy it!



Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Your post was great along with the pic and cover, WOW!

Lauren Dane said...

Thank you, Marilyn. I know, he's just so pretty to look at - all rough edges, such a Capital M MAN!

Pat Cochran said...

Lovely fellow, that Dominic Purcell!

I've not read any of your books, so
this seems like a good one to start

Pat Cochran

Lauren Dane said...

Pat - if you decide to pick it up, I hope you enjoy it!

Gina said...

Great pic for boosting creativity. I liked him when I first saw Him in John Doe, it ran a short season though. Look forward to the book

Lauren Dane said...

Gina - don't I know it! Some faces are so inspirational, he just works for me!!

Helen said...


I always love hearing about new books and this one sounds really good it has been added to the must get list

Have Fun

cheryl c said...

Very interesting to hear this background info about your writing process!

Lauren Dane said...

Helen - thank you for stopping in to say hello!

Cheri - thank you!

Michele L. said...

Hi Lauren,

I enjoyed reading how your books come to fruition. I am always intrigued how authors get their idea, put them together to form a book, and then have it published. I would love to be able to do that! Alas, I am not a talented writer, sigh...

Have a fabulous Christmas!
Michele L.