So it's Charles Dickens's 200th birthday today... And as he's one of the writers who inspired me to become a writer I celebrated in style by sending off the epilogue to Nate and Tess's story this afternoon.
After my editor's very positive feedback, I'm hoping that the news will be good when she reads the revised manuscript with the epilogue attached.
But I have to be totally honest with you and say this wasn't the easiest book to write. Accidental pregnancy stories have always fascinated me not just because of the instant ramping up of the conflict, but because of all those obvious questions which it's sometimes easier in romance (and especially the sort of lush romantic fantasy that I write) to shy away from because, well, they're not very romantic. Such as, if the heroine's accidentally pregnant, wouldn't she consider having a termination? And wouldn't the hero be likely to question whether he is the father, especially if he's only made love with this woman once, and hardly knows her? And if two people are thrown together because of an accidental pregnancy, wouldn't that make them more cautious about committing to a long-term relationship rather than less cautious? Wouldn't the shock of having a major life change like parenthood thrust upon them make them want to avoid any other emotion complications? I wanted to have my couple wrestle with those very real questions in a believable way while at the same time keeping them sympathetic, giving the romance that fun flirty edge that Riva demands and having them eventually fall in love.
Well folks, it wasn't easy. And once I'd started writing, I realised exactly how not easy a set-up it was. Because apart from trying to give my hero and heroine that contemporary edge, I'd also given them one heck of a lot to resolve in 50K words. Not just their own unique internal conflict, but also enough external conflict to fell two much lesser mortals. Luckily for me, Nate and Tess came through in the end - after having to give me several stern talkings-to during the course of writing the book - and I'm very pleased with the story now. But I won't lie to you, I had several moments when I wanted to kill them both (not to mention the baby, to my eternal shame!).
And for all those peeps considering the 'accidental pregnancy' trope as an easy way to ramp up your couple's conflict.... All I can say is... It ain't! Now I know why Dickens never used it... Smart man.