In THE ESSENCE, I really wanted Charlie to grow as a character, which, for me, was more about her growth in relationships, than it was about her role as queen. I love the big story—the changes in her country and what it means for her to take her place on the throne. But more than that, I love the small stories—her ties with her family and her friends, and the way those bonds evolve and are tested.
But one of the biggest challenges in writing a series is keeping the story fresh without completely abandoning the format that your readers have already fallen in love with. I don’t want my books to be “formulaic” and boring, but at the same time, I want readers to feel like they’re hanging out with an old friend when they crack open the next book in the series. It’s like walking a tightrope, trying to find that balance that will keep readers coming back for more.
And because I’m a very visual person, all of my books first come to me as images, like scenes from a movie. With THE PLEDGE, one of these images was the scene in which Charlie is running through the streets with her little sister, Angelina, after the sirens go off in the night.
With THE ESSENCE, I had images of a giant castle made of ice on an island, and a dazzling ball with women wearing brightly colored gowns, and a journey on enormous war-horses through inhospitable terrain with these immense jagged, black mountains. It was just a matter of weaving these large-scale scenes into Charlie’s story.
One of the ways I keep track of these images is my latest obsession, Pinterest. In fact, I created an entire board just for THE ESSENCE. For someone who’s visual, like me, pin boards are a great way to fuel that creative spark, and a great way to share the way I view the world I’m working on!
And get ready, you guys, because February is
kissing month Valentine's Day, which means I'm going to be talking about one of my favorite topics: Romance. I'll also be giving away some stuff. Really cool stuff.