Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Darcy's "Library"

Maven Darcy BurkeAwwww, do the Humpty Hump, do the Humpty Hump. Do me, baby! Hey, it's Hump Day! And we're strolling down memory lane, so why not reach back into the vault for a soundtrack while we're at it? I was in college when that song came out. Back when I still watched music videos. And wrote drivel...

I actually started out writing “news” reports to deliver to my great-uncle (fantastic audience, my Uncle Alec) when I was about 8 or 9 I’d guess. Silly drivel about the weather or maybe the plants in their (Uncle Alec was my grandma’s brother and he lived with my grandparents) awesome garden.

In high school I wrote maybe half of a godawful book about a heroine named Capricia (I literally just tried to type Crapicia, which says it all right there) who falls for the much-older hero. After she surrenders her virginity, nothing changes (yeah, this was before I knew squat about social mores during whatever historical period this was) and she leaves England, taking the bloodstained sheet with her. And then mails it back to him later which then gets him in trouble. Now: cringeworthy. Then: bitchen storytelling!

After that or maybe simultaenously, I tried to adapt one of my favorite romance novels, Seaflame by Valerie Vayle, into a movie. It has pirates! Political intrigue! The Sun King! I still think it could be great.

Next, I started an epic set during the American Revolutionary War with two heroes and two heroines. Actually, there might have been three of each. But maybe I planned a trilogy. Whatever I’d drafted is lost. What I do have is a list of characters and a very intricate timeline for about three generations of people.

The last project(s) I started before getting “serious” about writing (er, finishing) a romance novel in 2005 was a trilogy of books with the titles: Dawn, Twilight, and Midnight. The books are so named because each one starts in the applicable time. For example, Dawn starts with a duel at, you guessed it, dawn, and features a female spy who loses her memory (think The Long Kiss Goodnight) when she’s shot in the middle of said duel by the hero (he’s dueling with someone other than her). Twilight features his good friend, a total manslut, and Midnight is about their other friend who must gamble in order to keep his family’s finances afloat and maintain the image that they are wealthy nobility, when in fact they are near ruin. You see the theme? The fighter (duelist), the lover, and the gambler. I still plan to write the trilogy, but didn’t want them to be my “first” books. Instead, I wrote…

1) Notorious, which was originally called The White Widow. I conceptualized it as a woman who may or may not have killed her husband and wore nothing but white as a widow. This was before I realized that white was an acceptable color for mourning. Damn historical accuracy. It was while writing this book that I joined the Aspiring Romance Writers loop and met Mavens Lacey (we also knew each other a bit from the Avon chat board), Erica, and Jackie. I began to CP with Lacey almost immediately and soon realized Notorious was in dire need of conflict. So I came up with this (not) great subplot of the heroine wanting to help abused servants because her deceased husband had abused his servants. Man, that went nowhere. So then the heroine decided to go to London to look for information about her deceased reprobate father who mentored the hero (in reprobation – is that a word?). I conceived the hero and heroine of this book while watching Nip/Tuck and drooling over Dr. Christian Troy, a gorgeous manslut (hmmm, do I like mansluts?). I tried to come up with the perfect foil for him…and came up with Bree Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives. Voila, Notorious was born. And 21 months later died a slow, but necessary death and now lives with the dust bunnies (the abandoned novel equivalent of sleeping with the fishes).

2) Glorious was supposed to be book 2 of the Black Bandit trilogy (Notorious, Glorious, and Dangerous). A bandit was going to arc over three books and his identity would be revealed in Dangerous. After I scrapped Notorious, I scrapped the arcing idea and just wrote Glorious without the bandit scenario (which I saved for Her Wicked Ways, see below). Glorious is about a subvillain (I just made up this term to describe a somewhat villainous character who is not the “actual” villain) of Notorious who redeemed himself at the end of the story by blocking a bullet meant for the heroine. He learns a terrible secret while he's lying there bleeding, and embraces the obliterating effects of laudanum while recovering from his wound. The latter bit is still present and Glorious (unlike Notorious) has been well-received in contests and is a Golden Heart finalist. It also landed me my agent.

3) Her Wicked Ways is the book about the bandit! And was supposed to be about the Glorious hero’s sister. I unlinked the books because I couldn’t make the timeline work for both (stuff that happens in Glorious to the hero’s sister just didn’t jive with what I needed to happen in Her Wicked Ways). The heroine is a delightfully arrogant Society chit who’s been banished to a backwater village after getting caught in a near-compromising position. She’s packed off to rural Wiltshire where she’s made to work at an orphanage owned by the hero. But can sedate country life inhabited by a too-tempting highwayman and a surprisingly sexy bumpkin cure her of her wicked ways?

4) The Tale of Gideon is not the title of the book I just started, but it’s all I have for now. Gideon is the brother of the heroine of Her Wicked Ways and he’s about as pompous as she is. Out to prove he’s as good as his brother the heir, and find his own niche in the world, he wins a broken-down manor in a card game. Excited by the prospects of a place he can call his own, he is further intrigued by the beautiful young woman who wants the manor for its hidden archaeological treasures. The battle for the right to the spectacular find becomes a battle for dominance between two strong-minded people who won't surrender their principles...even for love.

5) Fight Club: The Romance is, again, not the title of the book I’ve plotted and will write after The Tale of Gideon. But yes, it is Regency Fight Club. The hero is Her Wicked Ways’ heroine’s eldest brother, a man whose superiority and sense of entitlement mask something passionate and perhaps violent far beneath his gilded, frosty exterior. When he finds himself attracted to the most unsuitable female imaginable and worse, when she becomes his great-aunt’s companion, he must find a way to cope. Beating his friends into pulpy oblivion seems as good a solution as any…until the reputation of his entire family—the one thing he’s required to uphold—is threatened. Will he embrace his true nature and the love that will save him or conform to the ideal for which he’s been molded?

Have I intrigued you with any of this? Are you dying to know what happened to Capricia and her bloodied sheet? (Me too, actually.)


Kelly Krysten said...

Yeah, I'd like to know what happened to Capricia. You are very creative, Maven Darcy!
Great blog!

B.E. Sanderson said...

Not so much for Capricia, but I want to know more about the others.

This looked like such a fun meme, I gave it a whirl myself. =o)

Erica Ridley said...

News reports on the plants in the garden... fascinating stuff, that. LOL. Awesome.

Sooo excited about TTOG and FC:TR!!!

Jackie Barbosa said...

Wow, FC: TR sounds seriously way awesome. Can't wait for that one.

Reading your recap of Notorious's demise still makes me wistful and nostalgic. Ah, the good old days.

Capricia. Bwahahaha!

lacey kaye said...

As you know, I love HWW! TTOG is going to be a GREAT book and RFC is the one I absolutely.can't.wait.for.

Hurry up!

Darcy Burke said...

Thanks everyone! I'm pretty stoked to write RFC. I think Jasper (the hero) will be the most tortured guy I've dreamed up yet. Yummy stuff.

And E, my grandparents' garden was seriously amazing. They were British so big garden people anyway, but my grampa poured concrete edges around the grass and painted it green. !!! And they had a second lot behind theirs that they separated with a little fence and a gate. They sort of let it be "wild" (they mowed it - lots of teeny buttercups, really pretty), plus it contained the rather large veggie garden. That area was called "Darcy Park." So of course the garden was newsworthy! ;-)

Kendra said...

Wow, you plan ahead! I was just wondering last night what my next project would be. And I came up blank. It's still a month or two away so I have time to brainstorm.

Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

OMG. That is funny stuff. I find my should be forgotten writing whenever I'm at my folks house. Thankfully, they have a fireplace.

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