As I begin to wind down to the conclusion of the series, I have been taking a lot of time to reflect on the characters from beginning to end. I have gone over who they were back at the creation of the family and who they are now, 17 books later.
There is an aspect to the story I have always wanted to tell and have never had a chance until now. When I originally thought out the character of Brittany, I had a very different idea of how she and Tommy would meet.
I decided her attack would happen in present time, after the initial meeting, and her recovery would introduce the love story I knew would evolve.
Obviously, that didn’t happen, and my decision to have Brittany’s attack occur years before the story began was a calculated risk. She was established as a woman who was strong and brilliant and dedicated to being the best doctor she could be. She also carried the weight of the world on her shoulders, a fact that remained buried through the heart of the series.
What I mean, is that Brittany never really dealt with the attack and what it did to her. She picked herself up and moved on, completely closing every part of her life as Barbara Rose. I wanted her to deal with her past. I wanted to merge Barbara and Brittany. I wanted her music to come back.
As the series progressed, other stories took priority. Villains were introduced and revealed and life moved on. As I come to the close of the story, I needed to allow that part of Brittany to be revealed. I needed to allow her to grieve for her past and truly, move on.
Many people who test read “If Only” thought Brittany was cold and unsympathetic. I was so torn about that because I needed them to want to know her, on a deeper level. I needed them to care about her and take this journey with me.
After many rewrites, I found a balance that enabled me to show the woman I wanted and keep her vulnerability in tact. I am not trying to say that the woman we see isn’t who she truly is, but there was always a part of her that I felt was hidden. She repressed so much of the hurt and fear she suffered and it was time, I felt, for her to truly move forward.
Book 17 is about a lot of things. We have the threat that Josh is alive, Elizabeth and Evan are in mortal danger, Brent is hiding something from Stephanie and Naomi is about to face the biggest challenge of her young life.
This brings up the most important crisis.
Tommy has always been the rock. He has been the rock for Julie and in a way, Jack. He has been the rock for Brittany and he has been Naomi’s biggest champion.
However, he is not made of stone and every person has a limit.
My Strongest Weakness is my most personal book yet. It is a fight for survival of not only life and death, but of relationships as well. Tommy and Brittany, Jack and Stephanie, Julie and Bill, Evan and Elizabeth and Mike and Jade are all going to do their best to survive, but sometimes, our best isn’t enough.
I hope you are excited to read book 17 and I hope you like the cover. It is the very first time I have shown Tommy’s face and it made me so nervous.
I’m around tonight 🙂