The idea for Return Engagement bounced around in my head for a great many years. You see, I always wanted to be a writer. My childhood playmate was my cousin who was a great artist. I envied her ability, but I always thought that if I had my choice I’d rather be a writer. Oh, the thrill of putting words on paper! The joy of creating my own private reality and peopling that world with characters of my own imagination!
But I never did anything about it even though the characters were crystal clear in my mind and the plot was fairly well developed. My husband encouraged me. “Try it,” he urged. “You can do it.” Well, you know how it is when you’re a young mother with children who need to be transported from activity to activity. On top of that I’m a teacher who has to spend time grading papers and planning lessons.
So, what motivated me to bring my dream to life? I have to give credit to my son. He’s my inspiration because he’s the reason I started writing in the first place. He came home one day and dumped a thick manuscript in my lap. “I wrote a book,” he said. “You can read it.”
Words can never express a mother’s astonishment and pride. At that moment, I was slightly in awe of this child that I had raised. “I make up stories in my head to amuse myself,” he told me. “I decided I might as well write them down.”
Wow! I had always done the same thing. I decided on the spot to write a book myself, but when I sat down in front of my computer screen, I didn’t have any idea how to begin. There were so many ways I could start the book! It finally occurred to me that it didn’t matter. If my words didn’t sound right, there was always the delete or backspace keys. From that moment on, I’ve been hooked on writing.
Don’t think that Return Engagement is my first book, though. It isn’t. My first book A New Leaf won the Timeless Love contest sponsored by Oak Tree Press, and they published it. It was a good story, but I wish I had the chance to rewrite it. I could make it so much better today. Why did I wait to write Return Engagement? Too scared. I wanted it to be perfect, and I wasn’t sure I could do it justice. I’d been writing for several years before I attempted it.
Now back to Return Engagement… Creating my characters was no problem at all. I’d thought about them for years. Everyone has his or her own personal hero, and Richard Lovinggood, the hero of Return Engagement, has all the qualities I’ve learned to admire in a hero. What qualities? Let’s see.
First, I want a hero with a little fire to him, a man who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Second, he has to be loyal and faithful because I’d never be willing to share. Third, I want a man with a little romance in his soul, a guy who isn’t afraid to bring you some flowers for no reason, call you to ask how your day is going, or hold your hand while you walk on the beach. Fourth, and I know this is silly, I really do love a nice pair of shoulders!
And then there was my heroine. I like women who aren’t afraid to follow their dreams no matter where those dreams may take them, and that’s just what my heroine does. She always thought with her head not her heart, but when she meets Mr. Right it’s her heart that engages, not her head.
With my two main characters created, I fleshed out the story, giving family and background for my hero and heroine. And then I had to write the book.
I wish I’d kept the original draft of Return Engagement. It would make you laugh to see how bad it was. I rewrote that book until I could practically quote it in my sleep, but each time I revised it, it was better. After several years of work, I submitted the book to Whiskey Creek Press and held my breath for several months until I heard back from them. I swear it took me ten minutes to get up the nerve to open the email, and then I jumped up and down for ten minutes when they accepted the book. Having this particular dream come true was every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be.
Here’s a blurb about Return Engagement.
Elizabeth Lane has heard the call of the four most seductive words in the entire English language: what might have been. Would you risk everything you hold dear to find out what might have been? That’s the choice which Elizabeth has to make.
Elizabeth is lucky, for she has it all, money, fame, a satisfying career and a devoted fiancé. Her humble beginnings are all but obscured, but she isn’t the kind of woman Senator Henry Lovinggood wants for his son, Richard. Senator Lovinggood plans to make Richard the President of the United States; he’ll need a woman from a wealthy, powerful family by his side. Ten years ago he broke Richard and Elizabeth up, but this time it won’t be so easy, for Elizabeth wants to know what might have been. This time she’ll fight back, a struggle which ultimately leads to kidnapping and attempted murder and alienates her from the man of her dreams.
If you’d like to read an excerpt from the book, you can do so at my web site at http://www.elainecantrell.com. The book is available at http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=819&zenid=0388abcec27444081ac3750d1c5c3fae
Thanks, Kim, for having me here at Book Madness.