Some answers… :)

A few answers…

Plot points that never made it to the story…

Probably the biggest one was something I wrote a lot about and then abandoned.

I wanted Tommy and Julie’s parents to be found alive.

I had initially thought of bringing them back into the story as being held captive all these years. I was going to have them be a part of the plot behind Nathan’s death, pawns of Janet.

This was before I had revealed Chris as a part of the attack and I ended up bringing him back from the dead instead of David and Juliana.

I never intended on making David and Juliana bad people, but I thought about them being captives for all these years. I thought about the relationship I could write with Julie and Tommy coming to terms with all that happened and how their lives were turned upside down by this event.

Ultimately, I chose to bring Chris back and that was after I made Bill an integral character in the story. My initial idea was to have Bill killed in battle with Mike and the rest of the men and if I did that, bringing Chris back wouldn’t have worked. The juxtaposition of Chris being as evil as Bill is good could only happen with Bill on the canvas.

So it happened the way you read. The one character I was asked to bring back more than anyone else was Nathan, but that isn’t going to happen…yet…or at all… :)

Anyway, I am super pleased with how the character of Chris impacted so many people. I always planned on having Chris be a bad guy; abusive both physically and emotionally, but when I brought him into Brittany’s attack, it added an element of creepiness that I felt was needed. It was something more horrible than any of them could process, and for Bill, it was a knife in his chest.

Another plot point I wrote but never used was Ron’s death. I wanted to explore more about Jack’s relationship with his father and more about their past, but there hasn’t been a lot of time for that. I also love having Ron there and being such a great grandpa to Bee and Tessa. I like that Jack and Ron have come to terms with their past and have become closer. I also think it’s important for one of them to have a strong parent present in their lives.

I also planned on identifying the person who drove the car that killed Juliana and David. That was something that never went anywhere. Drunk driver, and no other character intent.

There are also a few plot points that I wrote, but weren’t initially planned. Things that I can’t imagine not being there.

Naomi was never meant to be born. I intended for Red to lose the baby during the kidnapping when Stephanie was taken with her. I felt it was so incredibly unlikely for Red to be able to carry a baby to term; not because of the HIV, but because she had been so close to death and her platelet disorder was incredibly dangerous. It just seemed completely improbable, but Naomi has proven herself over and over and I will never underestimate her.

Tramp came from a suggestion from a pilot reader who said Tommy and Brittany needed a pet.

Megan was someone I never imagined turning out as evil as she was. I wanted her to have a crush on Tommy and almost be an irritant to Jack because she wasn’t into him. I developed her obsession as a way to bring an element of involvement to the attack on Brittany that came from modern time, and not the past. She was a stalker who took it too far and became obsessed. What she did to Tommy when she tortured him in the cabin has never been fully addressed and it needs to be.

Making Rebecca a bad guy wasn’t the initial plan. I wrote her at first to be a support to Mike, but I always imagined her being more insecure and needy than Julie. It was when I began to flesh out Mike, that I realized, along with him, that Rebecca wasn’t a good person. I think I had trouble writing him because I felt like he deserved better. I wanted him to be loved and respected for who he was and the amazing person he had always been.

That’s why Jade became an important character. She showed up in the beginning of the series in book 1, but it wasn’t until book 10 that I began to really see where she fit into the series. I think one of my most fun relationships to write has been Mike and Jade, and I am so appreciative of the positive response to their story.

I would love to answer more questions if you have them and I can’t wait for you to read “Breaking Point”!

 

 

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Getting excited!!!

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Few days away

We are only a few days away from the release of Breaking Point. I want to write a new post for all of you, but I thought I would ask your thoughts about the topic.

Would you like to read about:

Characters? And if so, who? Anything specific?

Story development?

Plot secrets? (within reason)

Plot twists that never happened?

Anything else?

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Pre order for Nook

Click on the picture to preorder for the Nook!

If there are any problems, or the preorder doesn’t go through, please let me know and I will send you another copy.

 

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Some thoughts on the end

The number one question I am asked about the Family by Choice series is “When will it be over?” Or “Is this book the last one?”

I struggle a lot with this. The self-conscious writer in me wonders if this is an indication that readers want it to end. Maybe they want to know how much longer they have to suffer with these characters. Maybe they are tired of reading and want a break. Maybe they are losing interest?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s because of the drama the characters are put through. Maybe some want closure and the understanding that one way or another, it’s over. Ending the series would certainly do that.

I also think it might be because some of you actually feel so connected to the family that the thought of losing that is worrisome. I like to think that’s true, but my arrogance is not quite that strong.

I’ll be honest. I have come close to ending the story more than once. At one point it was because I was going to kill off a main character, and I don’t mean Julie. She was never going to die.

Brittany was.

I say this now because much of what has evolved into the 15 books has been a work in progress, like life, with twists and turns and sometimes a flat out stop. I know we read to escape the sadness and struggles of life. I know I write for that reason as well. I know we want to be transported to far off places and read about how life could be

I also know that I write real people, not fantasy. I write real situations, where life is hard and sad and at times, unbearable. It’s how I see things sometimes. It’s not right or wrong, it simply is.

I also know that there are moments of absolute perfection. There are days that live with you forever and they are the memories that pull us through the dark and scary moments. The joy and the love and the passion sustain us through the pain and loss.

I began this series as therapy. I went through a terrible loss in my life and out of that loss, Family by Choice was born. Writing these characters has been life changing for me. Being able to tell a story that people read and enjoy is beyond my wildest dreams. To see it on the big screen would be a crowning achievement. I know these characters better than I know myself, and maybe more so because each of them is a part of me. I might not want to admit it, but there is even a little of Janet and Chris inside of me- Josh too.

I think I still need to write. I feel like these characters are people and therefore their story continues. I don’t know that I believe in a simple “And they lived happily ever after” but I also realize all things come to an end, and perhaps their time is up.

I think what’s hardest for me is letting go of something that has been my comfort zone for so long. When I’m lying in bed and the thundering silence gets to me, I think of Tommy and Brittany and I brainstorm their story.  What are their fears and what do they lay up at night thinking about? When I sit in my classroom and see a struggling teenager, I picture Julie and what her life might have looked like going through what she did. I have students who have lost parents. I see Julie in their faces and I see her struggle through them.

I wake up and have tingling and numbness in my hands and I put that into Stephanie. I let some of my fears and struggles with having MS come out through her and I show the support that I wish was out there for everyone through Jack and how he loves her. I don’t dwell on my disease and I try to make sure she doesn’t either, but we aren’t perfect, and sometimes it comes out in ways it shouldn’t.

I look at Bill and I see so many people who really had shitty upbringings. I see the kids in my class who I know go home to places that are hard and sad and abusive and yet they come back every day and try to see the good in everyone. I see Bill in their faces and I hope they one day know that their lives are not determined by their situations. The choices we make dictate the lives we lead, and although those choices are hard, they are there. I hope I am able to instill that in them. They are not only the product of their environment. They are the product of their heart.

I think of Mike and I see someone who has been destroyed by a life he thought he should lead. I see everyone who goes along with something because they feel like they may never do any better. It’s harder to walk away and admit you made a mistake than it is to stay in a terrible situation. It’s even harder when you harbor so much guilt over circumstances out of your control. I write Mike to know that we always have a choice, and it’s never too late to find happiness.

I write Jade because she is all of us. She is the insecure teen who was teased. She is the beautiful woman who never sees her worth. She is the abandoned child who blames herself. She is never good enough, thin enough, smart enough, pretty enough or worth enough. How wonderful it has been to write her story and watch her blossom into a confident and amazing woman. She gives me hope. She inspires me. She is someone I aspire to be.

The children. I never meant to write the children. I don’t think I’m very good at it and I worry I am using every cliché in the book. I hesitated to bring them into the story, but now that I have, I can’t think of the couples without them.

Sabrina and Tessa are a mini Jack and Stephanie. David and Josie are feisty and independent children, just like their parents, but they are loving and kind people. Bee flirts, but she knows who has her back. I see David and Bee as going on many adventures over the years, causing both sets of parents to grow a few more grey hairs. Will they end up together? Who knows. I need to see more of who they are before I can even guess. One thing I know for sure- they will be there for each other, always.

Tessa is a unique character for me. She started off as a boy, the baby Stephanie lost after she was shot. I didn’t intend to give them another child, but somehow, Tessa came to be. She is just like her mother and resembles her namesake, too. She is sensitive and private and fiercely loyal to those she loves, much like her mother and Uncle Tommy. She has struggled with a few things but does so with a smile and a kiss. She is going to help keep her sister in line, but I see the rebellious years for Tessa that nobody will see coming. I can’t wait.

Josie is a mini Julie. She is struggling to find where she belongs. She is clingy and much of that comes from the loss she feels that she can’t understand. Being one of a set of triplets that were never born is something that will always be with Josie, but not in a way she can verbalize. She will be a little more connected, a little more attached and little more needy. It’s something Julie and Bill will embrace and handle together.

Naomi is the character I have the most trouble writing. I think I want her to be strong and independent, but I also want her to be a representation of Tommy and Brittany. She has been an unlikely character from the beginning, her medical issues defying all logic. She has also been the best of her parents and she has given them both a renewed idea of what their life should look like. She is truly a miracle and miracles should be cherished for as long as we have them.

Tramp- what can I say- he is my dog and his love and commitment to his family and to Naomi is a testament to how important I feel animals are to us. My family wouldn’t be complete without our own “Tramp”.

I guess what I’m saying is that I live these characters every day, and even if I stop writing their story, it won’t stop me from seeing them in all I do. Is book 15 the last one? No. Is book 16? Perhaps. There are things that still need to happen. Jade and Elizabeth are pregnant. Mike and Jade are in trouble. The final chapter in Brittany’s saga needs to be closed. The last of the bad guys need to be punished.

And sometimes, despite all we do, life happens the way it was meant to. Sometimes good- sometimes bad.

I can’t thank you all enough for reading my novels and I hope you continue. I would also love some feedback.

Do you have specific questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? I’m always around.

-Robin (me) and Moochie or “Tramp”

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Preorder for Kindle

Click the book cover to preorder Breaking Point for your Kindle. Nook link coming soon!

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Breaking Point Release Day

Saturday November 22 will be the release day for Breaking Point! Preorder information coming soon.

 

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Fun party today!

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Click the above link and sign on to facebook to chat with me for an hour today! I will be taking over from 3-4 pm EST.

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To answer some of the comments from the previous entry…

Here is the scene when Tommy first revealed the letter. It is from book 2 If Only

___________________________________________________________

Tommy looked up at her and smiled. “I just found something in my bag that I didn’t know was there. I had packed this bag for the trip because my other suitcase was at the hospital in my office. I don’t think I have used this bag in years. I was looking for something and I found this,” he held out the piece of paper he was holding. “My mom wrote this note to my dad. He kept it with him all the time and after their accident, well, he wanted me to keep it,” he wiped his eyes and smiled. “Sorry, I don’t know why this is getting to me right now.”

She sat down next to him. “Can I see it?” she asked him softly.

He looked at her and handed it over. She fingered the crinkled sheet and read the words.

My dearest David,

As I sit here and watch you as you are on the phone with your mom and you are trying to chase Tommy around the room and Julie is hanging off your leg, I am reminded how much I love you and our life. I know things have been stressful lately and that you worry about how we will get by financially, but as I watch you, my heart swells with the love and the faith that I have in us. I know you may think it’s kind of hokey, but I am reminded of the song Tommy makes us sing to each other and I think it speaks to what we are. Do you remember how it goes? When the rain is blowing in your face. And the whole world is on your case. I will offer you a warm embrace to make you feel my love. When evening shadow and the stars appear. And there is no one to dry your tears. I could hold you for a million years. To make you feel my love. Just know how much I love you, today and for always.

My love,
Julianna

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A piece of my heart

This passage is something very near and dear to my heart. It hasn’t been published yet and I’m not exactly sure if and when it will be, but I really wanted to share it with you.

I have written a lot of Tommy’s back story in scenes I haven’t published. Conversations between him and his mom and his dad and many of the moments directly after the accident when he spoke with Julie. Some of it has been simply for me to try and connect more to who he is and what motivates him. Some of it has been because I needed to hear from his parents to know what they were truly like.

Mostly, it’s because I miss my own father and writing Tommy and his dad helps me to get through some tough times. The scene below is one I am particularly proud of, and I think it will appear somewhere in the final book, but I’m not sure where.

There are a few weeks left before Breaking Point goes live, but until then, please enjoy this glimpse into Tommy, and as always, I would love some feedback.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Tommy walked towards the room and it was like he was living in a fog. How was he here, just walking like this, like he was okay? His mother was dead.

Dead.

There was a car accident and she was killed on impact.

What did that mean?

How did it happen?

Was she in pain?

How did she die, exactly. Was she impaled or crushed? Did she know what was happening?

He had to identify the body.

“Tommy? You okay?” Jack watched him as he stopped walking. “I mean I know you aren’t okay, but,” he sighed.

Tommy looked at him.

“Thank you for being here,” he said softly. “I need to go see my dad.”

Jack swallowed his tears.

“I know. I’ll walk with you.”

They made their way down the hall to the room where the doctors and nurses were talking and whispering. They all stopped when they saw the two 18 year old boys.

“Mr. Williams?” one of the doctors walked up and looked at Jack.

“I’m Tom. Mr. Williams is my dad,” Tommy said quietly.

The doctor nodded.

“Your dad is extremely critical. He suffered massive internal injuries, and I’m sorry, but there’s nothing more we can do. I don’t expect him to survive much longer.”

“Can’t you operate? Can’t you stop the bleeding?” Jack asked.

The doctor sighed and shook his head.

“There is too much damage. I’m so sorry. Is there anyone else we can call for you?”

Tommy shook his head.

“Can I see him?”

“Of course,” the doctor moved and Tommy turned and looked at Jack.

“Will you wait for me?”

Jack wiped his eyes.

“I’m not moving from this spot.”

Tommy nodded and took a deep breath before he walked into the room.

The machines beeped and there were nurses around, looking like they were doing something, but Tommy didn’t know what. He noticed all of them looking at him with pity and he didn’t like that. Who were they to judge him?

He walked slowly to the bed and looked at his father. His eyes were closed and he appeared to be sleeping. His eye was bruised and his arms were cut and bloody. There were bloody pieces of gauze around and the nurse cleaned up and moved a chair closer for him to sit

Tommy sat down and swallowed before he reached to take his dad’s hand. He hesitated and put his hand back in his lap.

“Dad?” he said and his voice cracked. “It’s Tommy.”

His dad’s green eyes opened and Tommy felt his heart race.

“Son?” David asked softly.

Tommy tried to smile.

“Hi dad,” he said.

“Your mother? Juliana? Is she here?” David asked weakly.

Tommy wondered if he could die and still be sitting here. He felt like something within him was gone.

“She didn’t make it,” he said brokenly. “But I think you’re going to be just fine.”

David was quiet for a minute and struggled to focus.

“I’m so sorry. You and Julie don’t deserve this. I’m so sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Tommy said and finally took his father’s hand in his. “You can hold on and it will all be okay.”

“I need you to listen to me,” David said and held Tommy’s gaze.

“No, it’s okay. I’ll let you rest,” Tommy didn’t think he could handle this.

“I don’t have much time left. I can feel it. I need you to listen to me,” David said seriously.

“No, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to be fine,” Tommy began to cry.

“Thomas, look at me,” he said firmly.

Tommy did and his dad smiled.

“You are a man now and your mother and I are so proud of you. You are kind and intelligent and you have made me proud every day of my life. The moment you were born was the greatest of my life because I knew what my purpose was. I became a man the day I fell in love with your mother, but I became a father the first time I held you in my arms. When Julie was born, your mother and I were complete and she is a feisty, beautiful, powerful young lady. She is going to look to you for help and guidance, and I know you can do it,” he took a few shallow breaths and Tommy worried when he was quiet for too long.

“Dad?” he cried.

David opened his eyes and Tommy exhaled.

“You need to make sure she is raised with love and family. I know it isn’t fair and it’s so much to ask, but she’s one of us and she deserves to be with you. She worships you, son, and as much as it is annoying to you, it’s the greatest blessing. She is just like your mom and that’s a gift that needs to be cherished.”

“Dad, please,” Tommy said. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to be a man. I need you.”

David squeezed his son’s hand.

“Yes you do. Look in your heart. If it feels right, then it’s right. Julie will need you to be strong for her. She will need you to believe in her and support her. She will struggle with a lot of things, but if you raise her with love and family, what she will give back to you is immeasurable. I know that, because I feel it every time I look at you.”

Tommy watched as his dad tried to move, but couldn’t.

“My shirt pocket. Can you find it?”

Tommy saw his clothes cut up on the floor and he grabbed the paper from the pocket.

“That’s a letter your mother gave me when you were much younger. Hold onto it and read it when you want. It is full of love and hope and just ‘us’. Always know what it means to be from this family. Always know you come from love. Always know I love you.”

Tommy put the note in his pocket and wiped his eyes. He could see his father fading right in front of him. He knew he needed to make this okay for him.

“Dad,” he said. “I love you. You have been the best dad and I will do everything I can to make you and mom proud,” he tried to hold it together and continue. “You don’t have to worry about us. We will be okay. I will do whatever it takes to care for Julie. We will make it. It’s okay.”

David nodded slightly and looked at his son.

“I am so proud of you. I will be with you always. I will watch you become all you ever wanted and I will be there when you settle down and get married. I am counting on you to tease every boy Julie dates and make sure the one she chooses is worthy of her love. But most of all, son, I just want you to be happy. I want you to have children and know the joy that your mother and I have. We will be there, in the face of your children. We are always with you. My son. You are simply my hero,” David looked at him and slowly closed his eyes.

Tommy sat there as the machine stopped and the flat line rang. He didn’t move until one of the nurses walked over and handed him the envelope from his parent’s personal effects.

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

He held the envelope and nodded before he stood up and walked out.

Jack looked up as Tommy came out and he could see the change in his best friend. If there was a way to see a change, physically, Jack could. Tommy looked older, and yet he looked like a lost child.

“He’s dead,” Tommy said almost robotically. “I need to ID my mom.”

Jack shook his head.

“I’ll do it.”

Tommy looked at him and sighed.

“Maybe you could just go with me?”

Jack nodded and they walked down the hall to where his mom was. They walked into the room and identified the body. Jack stood back while Tommy took a minute and stood by his mom. They walked out and Jack led him to the chairs.

“I need to tell Julie,” Tommy said as the Chaplain came over.

Jack nodded and they politely declined any help. Jack helped Tommy up and they walked out of the hospital and into their new life.

 

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