Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Destination Life : : Anne McAllister

lifes journey biggerAfter years of being asked where she gets her ideas, last year Anne was beginning to wonder.

But I don’t wonder any longer!  I have an idea! 

Actually I have lots of them.  I spent the first nearly twenty years of my publishing career writing books for a variety of lines. This was not, according to several editors, a smart thing to do. It divided my audience, they told me. Category readers would not follow me from one line to another.  I think, to some extent, this is quite true. They are editors and they know what they are talking about when it comes to the books they edit.

But . . . they are not writers (not many of them, anyway) and they don’t always know what makes a writer tick.

Or what makes this one tick.

What makes me tick are stories and people who interest me. And (mea culpa) those stories and people are not all the same sort all the time. Sometimes things that interest me are set in urban sophisticated locales. Sometimes they are in small towns or way out on the range somewhere. Sometimes the men I see as heroes live a fast lane high-powered existence and sometimes they are lower-key.  No less capable and competent, mind you. But a different sort of man.  A man like I might really meet, not just think looks cool from a distance.

So I wrote about those men in those situations.  And that took me to Harlequin Presents, Harlequin American, Harlequin Romance, Silhouette Desire and Special Edition and to a single title as well. I relished the changes – particularly once I figured out which stories suited which lines.  And I got better at doing that, for the most part, as life went on.

I was like my grandson in the picture up in the corner – looking down the road, excited by the possibilities, staring at the wide-open spaces, quite confident that I could forge my own road should the story arise.  And for twenty years I did.

For the last ten I have been writing in one line.  It’s a line I love, but it’s not everything I love.  And trying to think of only those heroes who would fit into that lifestyle was making the ideas go . . .  somewhere. I knew enough about my Savas and Antonides guys that I trusted them to make their own way in that guise. But what about all those other heroes? For a while they shut up, took a back seat, hummed to themselves or went out and moved the cattle from one range to another.

But recently they began to get impatient. They might be strong, silent types, but there is a limit to any strong silent man’s patience. And one of them has had enough!

He’s hammering in my head at the moment, demanding his story be written, his happy ending guaranteed.  And even though I tell him there are no guaranteed happy endings, he’s not convinced (stubborn, that guy!).   He says he will make his own happy ending if I only get busy and open a file and give him a book.

So . . . I’m going to do just that.

Path_forks_at_RHS_Wisley_-_geograph.org.uk_-_877372Lukas is off to the editor. I hope she likes him.  He does, too.  While he’s entertaining her, I’m going to open a file for the new guy, take the new fork in the road.

His name is Cole. He’s a cowboy.  He’s strong and silent and he has a secret that only one other person knows.  Besides him and me, that is.  He is tired of keeping this secret. He is despairing a bit, thinking he’s likely to go to his grave with it if I don’t get busy and write.

So, Cole, here we go.  There’s a fork in the road coming up – and it’s yours.  I’m just trusting you know what to do with it.

Anne is excited to begin a new book, to write a cowboy again!  Cole is a bit sceptical that she will keep her promise and let him have a book.  Lukas hopes they don’t have to revise him a lot because he likes who he is right now.  Let the fun begin!


photo credits:

1) Jacklyn Kennedy 2012

2) Basher Eyre [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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