Monday, 21 November 2011

Back to Books...

In the same way that the UK is out of step with the rest of the world in terms of Downton Developments (sounds like a construction company) we're also a bit ahead in book scheduling, so I've been delaying posting about Part 2 of my duo until it was a bit closer to its US release date. It's still another month until In Bed With A Stranger hits the shelves on the other side of the Atlantic, but at least the first part of the story is out now, so it doesn't feel too premature to be talking about its follow up. I'll try not to give away too many spoilers!

In the post I did on Craving the Forbidden I mentioned the minor panic I had when nearing the end about writing a sequel. At that stage, deeply immersed in taking Kit and Sophie to their grand Happy Ever After, the thought of anything jeopardising or undermining it was unbearable. And I hadn't really thought about what would happen in the second book either, or what could possibly come along to rock Kit and Sophie's love for each other. When it comes to writing I'm really not a natural planner, but the prospect of having no roadmap at all felt slightly insane, even by my standards.

But then I realised that real life is like that all the time, and that if Sophie and Kit themselves had no idea of what storms that lay ahead there was no reason why I should. I also decided it wasn't a case of drawing out the conflict that had already kept them apart (any couple that keep going round in circles with the same old arguments without resolving them probably won't be getting a telegram from the Queen on their Diamond wedding anniversary) but at looking at aspects of their characters and their history that had the potential to develop into new issues entirely. The ingredients for the second story were all there in the first. Kit's (*ahem* - trying to avoid spoilers) family background, along with his unwillingness to show emotions were two areas that raised red flags for future peace and harmony, along with the chip Sophie has on her shoulder about her own upbringing, and a minor health problem that had been put into the first book for fun (and for the sake of realism!) From there, and with a desperate urge to get them out of Alnburgh and somewhere a bit warmer and more exotic, the story kind of fitted itself together .

It wasn't without its traumas though - mostly when I heard back from my editor that the ending I'd masterfully orchestrated needed completely rethinking. I love my editor and after five years of working with her I trust her completely, so once I'd finished sobbing my way through a whole box of tissues and eaten all the biscuits in the tin I thought about it and realised she was absolutely right. In my eagerness to tie up both books I'd brought back the alluringly red wine-and-Gitanes-infused Jean-Claude from the opening of book 1 to throw a spanner in the works, without pausing to notice that in doing so I'd made the conflict completely external. Duh! Schoolgirl error! Once I'd banished him back to his loft in Paris or wherever, Kit and Sophie were left to thrash it out alone.

I'm always going boringly on about writing to music, and the book started to flow much more easily once its soundtrack came together. It all began with this song, which really suited the happy/sad mood of the beginning when Kit comes home but communication between them stalls...

I also had to throw in a bit of Sting when the action moved to Marrakech (thank goodness Kit's mother hadn't decided to live in Margate) and this wonderful song, by Loreena McKennitt, which could have been written specially for one of the scenes in the book.

Other songs in the constant loop on my ipod included this one from new discovery Maria Mena, and this one, which inspired the scene on the beach. I also listened to this song a lot - mainly on youtube so I could enjoy the MV too (I thought I was hard on my heroes but it seems I have a long way to go before I'm playing with the big girls.) Finally - there's a tune that gets a mention right at the end, at Kit and Sophie's wedding. Knowing Sophie wouldn't walk down the aisle to anything traditional I thought for ages about what she would choose, and eventually decided that as she moved forward into her future with Kit, she'd want to embrace her past. So she comes into church to this tune.

I have copies of both UK and US releases cluttering up the floor of my study here and since I can't write in an untidy study I could do with getting rid of some. If you'd like one just send an email via my website contact page, containing your postal address, and I'll pick out 3 Modern winners and 3 Presents winners. I'll put all the people who entered the last giveaway and weren't lucky back into the draw too (whether they like it or not. I'm bossy that way.)


Morton S Gray said...

Hi India,
I love Loreena McKennit songs - they are so evocative and as you say good to write to. Good luck with the new titles, I hope they sell well. Mx

India said...

I hadn't really listened to much Loreena McKennit until I wrote this book Morton, but they are perfect writing songs as the language is evocative and the music quite soothing.

Hope your writing's going well, and you're ahead of the game with Christmas organisation! x

Catherine J said...

Hope I'm not too late to enter the draw. I'd love to win a book. Hotfooting it off to send an email!

India said...

Not too late at all Catherine - as always I'm way behind with admin so I haven't got round to drawing winners yet. Thanks to everyone who's entered though; my inbox is bursting, which is fabulous. I might just have to sort out a few more copies!

Trenda Plunkett said...

Hello, lovey,

Popping in to say "Craving the Forbidden" was a delicious read. Just what I needed to cheer me up, as whatever viruses have invaded my aura (Rainbow-speak, *wink*), have settled in for quite a long visit, I do believe. Hope to read "In Bed with a Stranger" tomorrow night whilst daughter is busy with Girl Scouts and son is occupied with daddy/son video game time.

Do you think Sophie would mind lending Kit to me for a bit? Gazing into those gray eyes for hours on end would cure what ails me, I'm certain. <3

Much love,

xx Trenda

India said...

Oh no Trenda - sorry to hear you're poorly. I'll get Sophie to send Kit round. If you've read the second book yet you'll know that he could do with having his mind taken off his own health problems for a while!

Hope you're feeling better really soon. xxx