I posted recently about the first book in a series I'm currently writing. The series, The Ward Sisters, centers around three sisters, Emily, Annie and Charlie, as well as their closest friends. I thought I'd give you an idea of the stories in the series and the characters in them. Nothing too revealing - you'll have to read the books to really know all these people who have been living in my head for a while, now - just a sense of what is to come. This post is long, so you might want to digest in chunks. Just sayin'. The blog is intended to give people insight into my writing, but it's also a place for me to er, talk to myself, so to speak. Enjoy.
So far the series is:
Back to December (Ward Sisters #1)
Only One (Ward Sisters #2)
Right Here Waiting (Ward Sisters #3)
This Year's Love (Ward Sisters #4)
Just Realized (Ward Sisters #5)
Think of Me (Ward Sisters #6)
Untitled (Ward Sisters #7)
Book one, Back to December, is done and is in edits right now. I posted an excerpt from that - the meet cute between our heroine and her hero. That story centers around oldest sister, Emily, a writer for an arts publication, and the life-altering experience she has in the year of her youngest sister's engagement. In Back to December, you'll meet movie star Deac Roberts - aka Rob Deacon. Rob has his own extensive network of people in his life, and the story of how he meets and falls for Emily will greatly impact not only the two of them, but many of the people in their lives. Rob, as I've said in a previous post, might as well be Henry Cavill, because, well, he basically is. *swoon* I haven't been a fangirl of anyone for a good long time. When you realize the pretend boyfriend you've been writing about for the last year or two could actually exist in the form of one extremely hot guy in a blue supersuit, you turn into a total fangirl of said guy in the hero costume. Or at least I do. Charlie and Meg would be proud (read Back to December when it's available and you'll get that joke). Emily isn't, so far, any one specific person in my head unless you take Kate Beckinsale in Pearl Harbor, give her Selene's blue contacts in Underworld and then give her Taylor Swift's former corkscrew curls (see Teardrops on My Guitar video for reference) and Lea Michele's nose. That comes close.
Book two, Only One, is complete and waiting to be edited. This story focuses on Rob's best friend, Liam Neely, who is also a bodyguard on Rob's team. Liam has a lot of baggage and it doesn't make him the ideal guy for a romance, as he'll tell you. When he takes on the task of being Emily's bodyguard shortly after she meets Rob, it changes his life both for the worst and for the better. Only One also lets us get to know Rob's assistant, Jenna Ackerman, who has a lot of secrets to keep. For those of you who like visuals, I see Liam as being like Dave Annable and Jenna a lot like Emily VanCamp. Anyone who was a fan of Brothers and Sisters will recall the two of them as a couple on that show, so if you Google them together, you'll find pictures of the two of them. And if you're a fan of Revenge, Jenna shares some similarities with Emily VanCamp's alter ego, Emily Thorne (and maybe a few with bff Nolan).
In book three, Right Here Waiting, you'll get to know Emily Ward's best friend, therapist Meghan Miles. We meet her briefly in Back to December. She's the snarky, sassy, fun counterpart to straight shooter Emily. Or is she? Meg's story challenges the way she has always seen both herself and her friendship with Emily. This story is my current writing focus and is actually one of my favorites to write so far. Mostly because I love the hero, Lieutenant Neil Murphy, a sniper in the US Army. I hadn't planned to write his POV, but he jumped in and had to be heard. Now I find I love hearing his sexy voice. Neil is best friends with Charlie Ward's husband, Dan. I didn't write Meg to be Katie Holmes, but Tom Cruise's former missus could probably do a kick ass job of playing Meghan Miles, both in looks and by virtue of roles she's played in the past. Neil could easily be the lovely Alan Ritchson, who will soon be known for his role as Gloss in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Again, wasn't ever into him before, but now that I see him when I write for Neil (and holy cow, I realized he auditioned for American Idol and Neil has a gorgeous singing voice), suddenly, I'm a fangirl. Not like I am for Henry Cavill, but still. More swooning. Isn't this why romance writers write, to give voice to our fantasies? Or is that just me?
Book four, This Year's Love, goes back to the sisters and focuses on middle sister, oncology nurse Annie Ward. She has a big chip on her shoulder from a lifetime of playing second banana to her older sister and always feeling like the fifth wheel in the group that consists of Annie, her two sisters and their two best friends. In Back to December, she plays a role as one antagonist for her sister. This Year's Love will both tell her side of that story and will also take her on a journey of her own, which will help define her role in her family going forward. You'll also get to know Josh Ricker better. He's Emily's park ranger ex-boyfriend and as this story will illustrate, she didn't really know him that well. Annie looks a lot like Emily, though in her mind she's the less pretty version. Annie is maybe a more direct version of Kate Beckinsale with deeper blue eyes than Selene, more wave in her hair than curls. Josh always looks a lot like Chris Pratt to me, but a combination of his laid-back, blonder, surfer look in Everwood combined with his physique from his turn in Zero Dark Thirty. Josh is big and brawny but he's also big hearted and looks the way he does naturally. No sane woman would say he wasn't handsome, but he's no Henry Cavill, er, Deac Roberts. They are vanilla and chocolate - which do you prefer? Okay, I like both but if I had to choose, it's Henry, er, chocolate all the way.
Book five, Just Realized, starts two years after Emily's story and involves Realtor Nina Jacobs, best friend to youngest Ward sister, Charlie. Nina plays a key role in Liam's story and trust me when I say that you'll want to know what happens next for her once you read Only One. Nina meets Neil's other best friend, Sargent Owen Nichols and from the get go, she completely misjudges him. She also takes the time to get to know Rob's new bodyguard, a guy named Noah Adams you'll meet at the end of Only One. Nina is trying to take charge of her life and in the meantime, misses the boat on some pretty important things along the way. Nina is a classic, voluptuous pinup girl with auburn hair and a lot more brains than you'd guess if you judged a book by its cover. She's more Marilyn Monroe than Christina Hendricks. I've yet to find a red-haired actress out there who I think is perfectly Nina. Owen and Noah are two very different men vying for her affection - Owen is more like Michelangelo's David or say, Channing Tatum. Like Nina, he's a lot deeper than he looks. Noah is less alpha looking but he's more of a calculating, introspective alpha than he is a beta. Noah was on his way to being an Olympic caliber swimmer in college, and he's still got the body to prove it. Like Liam, he's handsome but not necessarily pretty. Find me a green-eyed guy on the US Men's Olympic Swim Team who looks similar to Dave Annable and you're close.
The last story that's already partially written (I mentioned that I write through my writer's block, didn't I?), book six, is Think of Me, where you'll get to know Noah better and you'll also get to know Liam's sister, socialite Catherine (aka Mary Cate) Donati. As Liam will tell you, his sister is gorgeous and therefore, barely looks like she's his sibling, let alone his twin. I guess everyone has their own idea of what a gorgeous woman is, but with her brown hair and brown eyes, Mary Cate is beautiful in the way that almost all men and even most women would agree is attractive. She's smart and sassy and holding on to a lot of regrets. Many of which are related to Noah Adams. In this story, Noah's past collides with his present in some very unexpected ways.
For now, plans for the final book in the series are vague at best. The story will be about Charlie Ward and her husband, Dan Williams. I know where it's going, and while there are hints in every story up until this one, not a word of their story has been directly written, yet. No title, no synopsis. I can tell you that Charlie, in my mind (since she's a part of Emily's story as well as the others), is physically a Kate Hudson kind of gal - petite, blond, small busted, thin. She's smart - like her husband, she's an engineer - and she's fun. She also has a closet obsession with celebrity culture and spent many years drooling over movie star Deac Roberts. Yes, the man her sister meets in Back to December. Dan's a matter-of-fact sort of guy, straightforward to the point of being blunt, especially with his friends. He's smart and sharp. He's been loyal to Neil Murphy since they were 3 and has been in love with Charlie since high school. He's handsome, but as Charlie likes to point out, he's nowhere near as sexy as Rob Deacon or even his best friend, Neil. He's an everyman sort of guy, like James Marsden or John Kraskinski - in the right role, he's the lead, but he's usually the second banana.
There is always the possibility that, in the process of writing any of the stories that are not yet complete, someone will jump off the canvas and demand their story be written. For now, I'm seeing the series ending with Charlie for several reasons. The first, and probably the most important, is that the story arc I envisioned for the series makes most sense if it ends with Charlie. Plus, it's silly, but I have always liked the number 7. Doesn't mean we can't go beyond that, but at the moment, I'm thinking we'll end with lucky #7 and wrap up the series at the end of Charlies's story.
At which point, I'll move either forward or back - meaning new stories or go back to ones that are partially or mostly complete - because there are many other irons already in the fire. I wasn't kidding when I said you'd be surprised at what (or who) lives inside my imagination. It's a big group.