I’m so honored to be here on Miss Ivy’s Book Nook, and visiting with you.

I’m here to talk about how my latest release, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, came about, because I’ll tell you, Anna and Rutherford were not the most forthcoming characters I’ve ever met.

As most of you know, authors are frequently asked how we come up with ideas for our books. In my case, the characters come first. Without them I have nothing. After I finished The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, the first book in my series, The Marriage Game, I wanted to write Anna and Rutherford’s story. It seemed like a natural progression. They’d both been introduced, and I already knew all was not well with their courtship. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, they were reticent to say the least, and Robert Beaumont was insisting I write his story next. Scenes started playing in my head, the same way they had with Phoebe, and Anna and Rutherford got put on the back burner, while I wrote The Temptation of Lady Serena.

The Secret Life of Miss Anna MarshWith Robert appeased, I turned my mind back to Anna and Rutherford. I always knew their story would take place, chronologically, before Serena and Robert’s. Mostly because when I was writing Serena, Anna and Rutherford were already married. That actually became a bit of a problem during the querying process, but I digress. Finally the name of the book came to me, and once I knew Anna had a secret, unbeknownst to even her good friend Phoebe, I had to discover what it was. But nothing was coming into my brain. No helpful video that I’d gotten with either of the first two books, no chatter from the characters. N.O.T.H.I.N.G

Still I was determined to ferret out the mystery, and, by this time, I knew if I got stuck that just writing anything usually helped, so that’s exactly what I did. Imagine my surprise when the first person on the page was not Anna nor Rutherford, but some man with a nefarious purpose. This was not the first time a character had popped up in a book, it’s happened in all of them so far, but this is the first time, and I hope the last, that the beginning didn’t include either hero or heroine. And that wasn’t the only surprise in store, but I’m not here to give away spoilers. Suffice it to say that with her brother’s death, her parent’s separation, and Rutherford’s failure to step up and help, leaving Anna to hold everything together, she became a force to deal with. Something Rutherford had yet to figure out.

What are your favorite stories about how a book came about?

Ella QuinnElla Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three bossy cats and a loveable great dane. Ella loves when friends connect with her.

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