At first, I thought my leaning toward writing “double” romances—stories where two couples both find their happy endings in one books—was purely based on math.
In 2014, I began the first draft of Love at Sunset Lake. My goal for the manuscript, based on traditionally published novels, was 80,000 words. That seemed like a lot. The longest manuscripts I’d written up until then had been in the 60,000-word range. I wasn’t quite sure where I’d come up with another 20,000 words’ worth of story, but I wanted to try.
After a bit, I remembered a mainstream contemporary romance I had read with three heroines and three stories that braided together beautifully. Maybe, maybe, I could do something like that in my imaginary Missouri small town of Abundance, except with two stories instead of three.
Several drafts and lots of editing later, I’d written Love at Sunset Lake, a book with a main romance plot line and a secondary romance that meshed with the first and also resolved by the end of the book.
The next book I wrote was Love and Harmony. Here’s a little bit about the story:
The first boy she ever kissed just walked back into her life—wreaking havoc with her plans.
For music teacher Becky Hamlin, every performance is important, a time for her choir to shine. But no performance has ever mattered as much as the upcoming benefit concert for the local food pantry. This concert is not just about music. It’s a chance to make up for her lapse in judgment last summer, not to mention a shot at her dream job.
Seth Williams, the new interim high school principal, has barely unpacked when he realizes that the gorgeous local choir director is the same girl he fell for at church camp years ago. As soon as he gets his troubled sixteen-year-old brother on the right path, Seth hopes to pursue a relationship with Becky. With her in town, he’s more determined than ever to convince the school board to make his position permanent.
But the faith Seth and Becky once shared is no longer common ground, and the logistics of her concert create a crisis in his job. Will their relationship be torn apart? Or can their renewed love, along with God’s abundant grace, allow them to overcome every obstacle?
Unlike with Love at Sunset Lake, I wasn’t aiming for 80,000 words for Love and Harmony. It’s a novella–not a short novella, but a novella. But without meaning to, as I was writing, I found myself adding a tiny thread to about Seth’s sixteen-year-old half-brother meeting a cute girl at his new school. It’s not a full romance thread. No scenes are in the point of view of either of the high school kids. Only little snippets here and there talk about their romance. By the end of the book, though, you know they’re a couple.
That’s when I had to admit it. It’s not just that I want my hero and heroine to find their happily ever after. I want everyone in my little fictional town of Abundance to find that special someone. I’ve got this longing deep inside to have everyone matched up happily and all the loose ends tied up with a bow. I do understand that for a town to be realistic, not every single character I introduce will end up paired off. But it is fiction and it is romance, so I think the percentage can definitely end up higher than that of real life!
As for real life, well, I have a son who’s 23 and a daughter who’s 19. They would definitely (most definitely) prefer that I do all my matchmaking in fiction!
What about you? Do you ever meet a minor character in a book—a character who doesn’t seem like he or she will be the featured character in a later story—and wish that they too could have a happily ever after? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Interested in reading Love and Harmony? I’m offering one reader a copy (e-book only, worldwide). If you’d like to be included in the drawing, please comment by Tuesday evening, May 28, 2019. One commenter on this post will be chosen at random, notified by email, and announced in a Sunday edition.
*Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.*