Like I talked about in my introductory post on this blog, I started seriously writing fiction by writing fanfiction. I think this is actually something that a lot of current authors can probably claim but for some reason (*cough* 50 Shades of Gray and After *cough*), authors don't often widely publicize those beginnings. For me, I feel no shame about my origins as a fanfiction writer. Before I wrote fanfiction, I didn't believe that I could really write fiction. I'd just graduated from college, and after four years of writing literary analysis, I was convinced that I just wasn't a fiction writer.
I'm forever grateful for the wonderful community of fanfiction writers and readers who helped me become confident and skillful in my own writing ability. That community is exactly how the Frequent Flyers Collection began. My good friend Angel Lawson, who I have known almost from the very beginning of our respective fanfic careers, and I were talking one night about how great it was that so many fanfic writers that we knew had branched out and grown from writing fanfiction to writing original fiction. And we thought, wouldn't it be so great if we put together a collection of authors who had all done just that?
That's how Frequent Flyers began. I knew it was semi-crazy to attempt to write a 20,000 word short story while I was trying to write Getting Lucky this summer, but the collection was something I passionately wanted to be a part of.
Ironically for a story set during winter and in the middle of a blizzard, I wrote most of Eye of the Storm while I was on vacation in Mexico in the middle of the summer.
Eye of the Storm began for me when I decided I wanted to write an alpha male. Jack from The Lucky Charm was very decidedly not alpha, and Noah from Getting Lucky isn't much of one either. I do enjoy reading alpha males (can you say Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh? Or any of Lisa Kleypas' amazing historical romances?), and I wanted to see if I could put my own unique twist on the typical alpha male trope.
Of course, Captain Grant Montgomery III ended up less of an alpha male and more of a mystery, not only to Tess, but also to almost everyone else who knows him. Tess O'Brien, my flight attendant with her Irish background and snarky humor, is such a great foil for him. Tess pushes him out of his comfort zone and gives him a bunch of reasons to show her the real Grant Montgomery III.
I knew there was no way Grant and Tess would ever have enough opportunities to either break down his walls or change her opinion of him, so I stuck them together in an untenable situation--a desperate drive through Ohio to reach the Cleveland airport, all the while on the leading edge of a blizzard-like storm.
The 20,000 word count was probably my biggest challenging writing Eye of the Storm. Let's face it. My novels are long. I like them long. I like taking my time to develop character and plot. I like writing a lot of characters and plotlines. With Eye of the Storm, I was forced to keep the lens of the narrative focused so tightly on Grant and Tess--and in the end, I think that actually made the story so much better.
T.M. Franklin, who also contributed a story to this collection, did such a beautiful job on my individual cover (as well as the great FREQUENT FLYERS cover). I really think she captured the chaos of the storm that Grant and Tess are forced to drive through, all while trying to maneuver through their own burgeoning connection.
I hope you enjoy reading about Tess and Grant as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Eye of the Storm, part of the FREQUENT FLYERS COLLECTION, will be released November 1, 2014.