You might be sitting there wondering what the title of this post has to do with writing The Serendipitous Adventures of Maddison Case (note to self: choose shorter titles in future, they’re easier to type!) and you’d be correct in doing so. After all, everywhere you go in the writing world you’ll find people telling you that, whatever you do, make sure it’s real. Do the research. Read everything you can on the subject. Make it believable.
When I wrote Yours, Mine, & Forever, I never calculated how much time I spent researching adoption. I still don’t know, don’t care, and aren’t going to try to figure it out. What I do know is that I spent hours combing through adoption laws by state, comparing one state to the next, looking for a loophole, and so on. I printed off lists and marked up papers and did everything I could to make sure I knew what I was talking about. All so I could mention it in passing. The idea though was me knowing what I was talking about.
It’s not that different for The Serendipitous Adventures of Maddison Case. I need to know what I’m talking about. But at the same time, all the planning and plotting and mental strain of getting Christmas Rose published meant that I didn’t have the energy or desire to really dig deep. I didn’t want to get bogged down by details. At the time, I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors. She writes the best romantic suspense ever. Hers are the “keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat” kind of stories. The kind that take a lot of research to get all the details right. I’ve read as many of hers as I can get my hands on and have a growing collection on my shelf, they’re that good. They’re chock full of action, adventure, suspense, and romance, with great characters and believable storylines.
I love the genre. So when I figured out I wanted to write something different that came to mind, but I didn’t have the mental energy to go through the level of research that kind of book deserved. I wanted to do something for fun. Something that would help me rediscover the joy of writing. So I did something I probably shouldn’t have done, and threw out the book and decided to try it anyway, but I’d do it my way.
And so, The Serendipitous Adventures of Maddison Case was born. I started with an idea… Two people, sitting in the dark, unable to see each other’s faces, who strike up a conversation.
(please excuse any mistakes, this is raw material)
“There’s always one or two.”
Maddie flinched. She couldn’t help it. She knew he was sitting on the top rail on the other side of the gate, but he wasn’t supposed to talk. She wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to do, but for some reason she had this idea in her head that they’d sit in silence until the rodeo grounds finally settled down for the night and then they’d each go their own way. Obviously, she’d figured wrong.
When I can, I come up with names off the top of my head. I’m coming up with the rest as I write. Sometimes the chapters fall into place and I’m able to hammer them out one after the other. Other times, like right now, it’s been weeks since I wrote the last chapter (there’s a reason for that, but I’m not spoiling the surprise just yet). I thought it would be too silly and lacking in too many details for anyone to want to read it, but my beta readers are eager to see what happens next. I’m glad they’re enjoying it, I hope anyone who reads it will enjoy it, but most of all, I’m glad I’m enjoying it.
Because it’s fun. There are a lot of lighthearted moments scattered throughout. Like this…
One of Luke’s hands caught the back of her neck, pulling her back into a one-handed hug. The other flipped the switch to his ear piece thingamajig. “Heading out. Watch my back.” There was a momentary pause, then he muttered something indiscernible, and flipped the switch again. “You didn’t do anything, Maddie.” And then with a hint of laughter he added, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
Despite the pounding in her ears that felt like a massive headache coming on, Maddie smiled. “Famous last words, Cowboy.” And then as he draped his arm around her shoulders and started walking, she added, “You’re back to all that huggery stuff again.”
Luke’s arm didn’t so much as flinch. “You do know huggery isn’t a word, right?”
Maddie wasn’t going to let that stop her. “It is now.”
It might not be the kind of book for everyone, but that’s okay. It’s the kind of book I wanted to write at the time, and the kind of book I’ll keep working on until it’s all done.
And I’ll stop here for today. Tomorrow (if I remember) I’ll talk about the characters you’ll meet in the book. I was surprised to hear who people liked the best (hint: it’s not Maddie or Luke). Don’t forget, if you haven’t signed up already, the April Showers promo over at CelebrateLit is still going on.