Welcome to the book launch of One Tough Marine, my August 2010 release from Harlequin Intrigue, which just made the Borders Series Romance Bestseller List! It's my first time to ever make the list, so I'm beyond thrilled.
By the way, due to my very bad scheduling, I'm also featured in a Q & A on Mysteries and Margaritas today, so if you want to drop by and hear my answers to Kari's great questions, you know how to click the link.
Now back to the book launch!
One Tough Marine is my seventh book from Harlequin Intrigue, but it's the first one to ever deal with subject matter I once swore I'd never touch as an author.
That's right, I'm talking about secret babies.
I've never really understood the appeal of secret baby stories. I know a lot of readers must love them, because a lot of books are built around that popular hook. But I always have trouble with the motivations involved.
Why would the heroine keep something so important from the child's father? I mean, I could see why she would if the father was an abusive creep or a crime lord or something. More power to her for lying her head off. But she's invariably lying to the guy who's going to be the hero of our book. How are we supposed to root for a woman who'd keep that kind of secret from the hero?
So you can imagine my surprise when I was plotting One Tough Marine and realized that the heroine's young son belonged to the hero. See, when I first started conceiving of the story, I thought the baby was the son of the heroine's late husband, and the hero would be protecting her and the little boy because he was the late husband's best friend.
But almost as soon as I got into the meat of the story, I realized the little boy had to be the hero's son. It raised all the stakes exponentially, complicated both the internal and external conflicts, and just all around made for a better story.
But once I committed to the secret baby story, I had to work really, really hard to motivate my heroine—and hero—in ways that allowed both characters to remain honorable and rootable. To generate sympathy for the heroine, I had to give her a very good reason to keep the secret. And then, for the hero, I had to provide a sympathetic reason to have deliberately made the heroine believe he would be an unreliable or indifferent father. Whew! That was a tough assignment.
I'll be interested in seeing if people think I've accomplished the task—not just people who love secret baby stories but also people who don't.
I'll be drawing four--that's right, four--winners from the comments to receive copies of your choice of any 2 back list books I still have available (including my January and February Intrigues, the first two books in the Cooper Justice saga)--or a $10 eGift card or certificate from the online bookstore of your choice.
So get to talking! Are you a fan of a secret baby story? If so, what makes them appealing to you? And if you're a secret baby story skeptic, like I was (and mostly still am), what would a writer have to do to convince you to go along with her secret baby story?
I realized a $5 gift card wouldn't cover shipping for even one book, so I've upped the total to $10. And you get two back list books if you go that route. So even bigger prizes! Tell your friends. Tweet about it. Drop a line on Facebook. Let's get this party started!