The appeal of writing this romantic suspense was having a career woman heroine. I like the idea of mixing up the types of women I write about. I am not a business woman myself, but I know them. Writers have the advantage of being able to study others and use what they observe in their stories. Otherwise every story would be about ourselves.
So Marla Jamison was one of the appeals as she was a lawyer which meant her observations about the hero and others should be pretty good. Then I added into the mix her obliviousness to herself. Isn't it interesting how often we can look at others and be intuitive but avoid doing the same for ourselves? So I wanted that kind of heroine. I got criticized in a few reviews other places that she was whiny and obnoxious to start. Agreed-- she was. If a character starts out perfect, how do you show growth? Marla had to realize she was bringing on a lot of her own problems due to unhealthy attitudes.
So the appeal of this book was showing a woman grow. She finally opted to do that through getting professional help. I know that's not usual, but I wanted to show how people can benefit from admitting their problem and looking for someone trained to help them find its origin.
Randy is a Portland city cop, which made him an interesting character for what he was facing every day. I have felt the police are too often criticized whatever they do. I tried to present the problems they face where a split second decision can mean life or death. Also how when most of us are living peaceful lives, someone else is facing a life and death situation. I've had this awareness many times when I read about a violent happening and I remember what I was doing at that exact moment. It is life.
I set a lot of this story in Northwest Portland, a neighborhood I enjoy each time I visit. If I wanted to live in a town, I'd like it. One of my very favorite cities is Portland, Oregon. I've lived there, still get up when I can, and it's fun to write stories set there. This one though also used Tahoe and a ranch outside of Medford, Oregon. I only set books in places I know and have spent time.
The big thing though that led me to want to write this story is Marla and her need to overcome her own self-destructive behavior.
Snippet from Evening Star:
The moon rose high, providing enough light for them to walk along the edge of the lake along the sandy beach, holding hands. Randy pointed to the southwest. "See that?""The star?" she asked, more aware of the warmth of his large hand than the star to which he was pointing."It's the evening star.""Mmmm.""You don't need to tell me. You never cared much for astronomy.""Right.""Did you ever say--star light, star bright, first star I see tonight, I wish I may, I wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight?""Actually," she said with a little laugh, "I don't think I did.""Well, you missed a lot. First star of the night is important, but this one, it's special because it's not really a star at all. It's Venus. One time of the year it's the evening star. At another, you see it in the morning--the morning star. Look how bright it is, like a little sun, except it's actually reflected light.""How interesting," she said, trying to show enthusiasm. The truth was whenever anyone pointed out a constellation to her, even one so simple as the Big or Little Dipper, she was never able to see the images, could never locate the same stars again, even a few minutes later. To her the sky was filled with points of light, none of which had names, and none of which made pictures.She couldn't see his face but by his voice, she knew he was smiling. "You can chart a course by stars, figure where you are in the woods, but the evening or morning star is more than that. It's a beacon.""There is a moral to this," she guessed.He squeezed her hand. "When you look up and see something as bright as Venus, something that stands out even when the sky lightens in the morning or before it darkens at night, when you can see that, you can chart a course by it. No matter where you are. You can't do that when you look at the ground, the trees, the brush, the darkness. You look down and you lose sight of where you are or where you've been."She smiled. "Irish, are you saying I'm not looking up enough?"He put his arm around her waist. "That and a little more.""Looking up is easier for some people than others.""One day at a time, sugar."