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This morning I’d like to welcome Rue Allyn to Susana’s Parlour. Rue is another member of our local writers’ group, the Maumee Valley Romance Writers of America. (Which, I’d like to add, is an incredibly supportive group of writers who are beginning to make their mark in the publishing world.)
When does a book begin?
The answer to this question depends on how you take it and who you are. Are you an author, editor, reviewer? Do you contemplate the best moment in a character’s adventure for your story to open? Do you ponder which decade, year, month, day, etc. is the best setting for your story? Are you a reader, interested in the biography of the main characters—how old they are when their story starts, what “backstory” events might have formed them? Or are you a bibliophile (book lover) interested in the evolution of the book? Each of these interests and more are covered in the general question, “When does a book begin?” Today, I’m interested in the last perspective, that of a bibliophile and will draw on my March 18, 2013 western historical romance, One Moment’s Pleasure, for examples.
I could say, with some validity, that One Moment’s Pleasure’s existence began, May 10, 1869—the day the silver and gold spikes were driven into the rails at Promontory Point Utah, completing the first transcontinental railway in the USA. Without that historical event and those leading up to it, none of the fictional events in One Moment’s Pleasure could have taken place as they did. My story, the story that I wanted to tell, would not exist.
I could also argue that the forced or arranged marriage trope is the inciting element for One Moment’s Pleasure’s. I’ve always enjoyed forced marriage stories—especially when they end HEA—and have always wanted to write one. Once I began to think about writing such a tale, I wanted to turn the trope on its head (which I think I did) and make it fresh. The result wasn’t just One Moment’s Pleasure but three books: the entire Wildfire Love series of which One Moment’s Pleasure is the first. But the idea for the first book sprang from that forced marriage trope. How old is the trope? Well, forced and arranged marriages are as old as marriage itself (a subject of much debate between scholars much more sophisticated than I). Assuming that the history of marriage as an institution extends to pre-biblical times, I’d say my little western historical romance began a very long time ago.
I could produce other options for when One Moment’s Pleasure began—the day I had the first idea for a forced marriage story, the day I started research, the day I actually began drafting, etc. Please leave a comment and let me know when you think a book begins.
If you’re curious about the inciting incident of One Moment’s Pleasure, here’s the opening date and line:
Oakland Point California, July 1870
Weaving her way through the crowds thronging the Oakland Long Wharf railway terminal, Edith Marietta Alden of the Boston Aldens finally attracted the attention of a lanky Chinese man with a large wooden pushcart.
Want more? I include a blurb below, or you may follow the links below to find an excerpt and more information.
One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister. Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.
Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.
About the Author
Author of historical, contemporary, and erotic romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. She is deliriously married to her sweetheart of many years and loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real life adventures. Learn more about Rue at http://RueAllyn.com
Watch for One Moment’s Pleasure, coming March 18, 2013, from Crimson Romance publishing. Better yet, Pre-order now through Rue Allyn’s Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/RueAllyn.
I can’t wait for this book, Rue. Huge congratulations!!! I tweeted.
Thank you so much Ella. I greatly value your support.
The premise of the book is certainly thought provoking. Unusual and attention getting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and thanks for your hard work on this story.
Annette. Your comment makes me smile. I do like to provoke thought. I also know that Dutch and Edith’s story kept me fascinated through many revisions. I hope you enjoy.
What a brave Edith to go into a bordello at that time. Interesting background for the hero and book premise.
Thank you Jess. I like a little role reversal in my books. We often have an historical heroine who has overcome a gutter background, but very rarely a hero.
Forgot to leave my email address
strive4bst(At) yahoo(Dot) com
Interesting post! Thanks for sharing.
You’re very welcome.
Great post, sounds like a great book.
thompsonem3 at aol dot com