It s interesting me to me how many people at my readings and signings ask the question: ‘How did you get to writing this book? Who was the inspiration behind it?”
Well, there really wasn’t any real inspiration. The original story of ‘Whispers in her Heart’ was written so long ago, details have been forgotten. But recently I came across some old records (I am a fiend for keeping records and dates) that helped jar loose some memories of how it all began.
“Whispers’ as we know it today began in February 1993. Titled ‘After the Smoke Clears’ from a line between characters at roughly page 119. I had been married a couple years and been writing for many more. Being married, I thought that writing romances was what one did. We read Harlequin and Silhouette books, read True Confession Magazine and wrote love stories. Right? I was pretty young back in ’93.
So I wrote the love story. Boy and girl formula. They fought terribly. The racing concept came from two places. One–I used to love cross stitching and had a catalogue with a pretty design of an Indian warrior shooting his arrow into the sky. The title of the work was called ‘Hunter in the Sky’. I twisted them around and thought Sky Hunter would be a lovely name for a horse. Thus the character of Sky Hunter was born. Two–I loved the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley, (Still have the collection in a bookshelf in my study) The racing scenes in Whispers were borne from the many racing scenes in the Black Stallion series.
After writing this great love story, which took a good chunk of 1993, I submitted it to Harlequin. They turned me down in less than a month. Not a good sign. Tried a couple agents with similar luck. So into a drawer it went for years–1994 until 2011. In early 2011 I pulled it out. Reading it through, I initially thought to pitch it in the trash. No wonder it was turned down, I thought. All the two main characters did was fight non stop. Lots of sparks, but no cuddly kindling. Just wildfires. Nothing like my marriage or like those around me.
Thumbing through it, though, I kept thinking it could be reworked. I scribbled notes on the pages, drew big slashes and other proofreading marks. I would rework it, get to know the characters better and add the supernatural elements that were completely missing from the first manuscript.
Renamed ‘Whispers in the Night’, in late 2011, it was finally finished. To what I called acceptable. I liked it. The characters were finally in love. I sent it off in November 2011 to two agents and a publishing house. All three said nice but not for them. Thanks but no thanks. At least these refusals were taking longer to get then the first record breaking 4 week one in 1993.
So in late November 2011, I sent a query to Black Lyon Publishing. In January 2012 they wrote back asking to see the first three chapters. In March 2012 they asked to see the rest of the manuscript. In a couple weeks they wrote back, saying they were interesting in it if I were willing to make some minor changes and they listed a couple suggestions. Two weeks later–April 30th–I sent the revisions back. And waited. On pins and needles.
July 20, 2012 I received the offer to buy Whispers and the contract from Black Lyon. I took the weekend to think it over. There was to be a title change, scenes changed or removed. Could I live with all that? A whole new world was about to open. Was I ready for it?
Monday I returned the signed contract. The rest is history.