In our continuing series on where authors get their ideas, today we feature award-winning author Judythe Morgan. As an Air Force daughter then an Army wife, Judythe has seen a lot of the world. She’s been an antiques dealer, teacher, former mayor's wife, and sometimes-church pianist with some unique experiences to blend into her stories. Learn more about Judythe and her books at her website.
The Unusual Birth of a Story…
When Love Blooms, Andrew Fitzpatrick and Darcy Clark’s story, came to life for a story contest.
A very unusual contest.
Submissions had to follow a provided synopsis and hero/heroine specifics. The hero was to be between twenty-five and thirty-five years old, a teacher with a stubble beard, and one of eight children—specifically four brothers and three sisters. The heroine had to be between twenty-two and thirty-two, an only child, and a landscape architect.
There were also certain plot requirements.
Being a pantster, I wasn’t sure about that part. Coming up with storylines is rarely a problem for me. I play “what if?” and listen to my characters. Following an outline, on the other hand, offered a challenge I felt would build my writing skills. So, I entered the contest.
Alas, I didn't win. I wasn’t all that disappointed, though. It wasn’t the way I usually create stories. I was busy on a new project. I stuffed the contest manuscript away.
Fast forward a few years, and my critique group asked about the old manuscript. Like me, they’d liked Andy and Darcy. They encouraged me to do a rewrite, this time listening to how the characters wanted their story told.
When I pulled it out, I discovered Andy and Darcy had been waiting for me.
I know if you’re not a fiction writer, that sounds more than a little strange, but when writing (or reading), story characters do become real people to me.
You'll notice from the cover I kept Andy's beard. He remained a teacher, the special education teacher he wanted to be. Darcy stayed a landscape designer in her family’s garden shop. The story plot became theirs. This time there’s a touch of mystery.
An interesting thing happened during the rewrite process, the seven brothers and sisters began chattering in my head wanted me to tell their stories. That gave birth to The Fitzpatrick Family series about the eight siblings. Each novella is a standalone with brothers and sisters popping in and out of each other’s story.
Book 1, When Love Blooms, is Andy and Darcy's story. In Book 2, twin sisters, Rebecca and Sarah Fitzpatrick, find their soul mates in When Love Returns, a story of second chance love. Brothers Joshua Fitzpatrick (an Army sniper), Samuel Fitzpatrick (a missionary), and, baby sister Faith (a lawyer) will share their stories over the next three novellas.
When Love Blooms
After a hit-and-run accident leaves her mother confined to a special care facility, Darcy Clark abandons her dream of an art career to focus on the family’s struggling landscape business.
At-risk students from her old high school become the labor force on a city park project, and their teacher, Andy Fitzpatrick shows up to supervise his students. The chemistry between Darcy and Andy is instant.
But will a secret link between Andy and her mother’s accident kill the attraction before love can bloom?