The area where I grew up, and where I still live, is a beautiful rural landscape full of small town charm. The perfect setting for romantic suspense. In my opinion, at least. A desire to share my central New England home led to choosing the setting and time period for my fourth novel. She’s Mine is a contemporary romantic suspense showcasing central Massachusetts and the wonderfully friendly and sometimes quirky people who live here. But it isn’t a true story, or even based on real-life, so how’d I come up with the plot? Glad you asked.
First, I started with a young woman, Caitlin Harrington, who had decided early in life to never get married. She didn’t even date until recently. Now she’s being stalked. I needed a back story to explain why she wouldn’t want to marry, or even date. So I gave Caitlin parents who went through a horrible divorce . . . and then abandoned her with her grandmother. That ought to give her issues! Her mother continues to make bad choices regarding men; her father has remarried and moved on. To top it off, her beloved grandmother has recently died and Caitlin lost her job. The story opens with her moving back into her grandparents’ house to take a new teaching job.
Since it’s romantic suspense, I also needed a hero for the story. Enter Sean Taggart. He seems to have a perfect life: owns a successful campground, coaches little league, serves on the local fire department. He’s well-respected in the community. But he’s alone. Someday he’d like to have a marriage as wonderful as his parents’. If only he could find a woman who didn’t try to change him into her ideal. Sean is in charge of Sean’s life, not anyone else! Then he meets Caitlin. She’s beautiful and aloof. And possibly has a few loose screws. After all, she does get “locked” in an unlocked basement. Something spooked her at the local fair but she won’t say what.
Now we’ve got a heroine and a hero. Time for the villain! He’s stalking Caitlin so you think you know who he is, right? Yeah, the guy she dated just before moving – Adam. But when the police investigate, turns out Adam doesn’t exist. Who is he really? Sean is determined to save Caitlin from this menace. Can they figure out who Adam is before it’s too late?
The real fun, for me, was peppering the story with local stuff. And having friends and neighbors recognize it! The restaurant where Sean takes Caitlin is named after a family friend (Claudia) who actually once owned a diner here in town. The location of Sean’s 3x-great-grandmother’s house is real, except there’s no house there. The local fair in the story – the Asparagus & Flower Heritage Festival – is real and happens the third week of May every year, since 2002. Caitlin’s house, Sean’s campground, swimming at the lake, walking to the nearby beaver pond . . .all things based on my view of central New England. I’m looking forward to showcasing more in the sequel, too, along with a good romantic suspense of course.
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