Cassie comes with a bit of emotional baggage. As a teenager, she was a "cutter," someone who cuts herself to feel pain for various past hurts. Through counseling and family intervention, she has overcome this urge for several years. She's gotten her associates in business and her certification as a beautician. And, when provoked, she can become a pistol. This is how I pictured Cassie.
Quinn is a more emotionally damaged hero than I've ever written before. I wanted him to be a badass who covered his pain with a smartass sense of humor. A complex man, who doesn't believe in love and yet takes in a stray kitten he's named Furball. My problem? At times, I wanted to change him into a nicer man--and then he wouldn't let me sleep. I'd be awake early in the mornings, wondering how I'd gotten off track and where.
So, I'd go back to Chapter One to reread, trying to hunt for the spot where I'd gone off-track with Quinn. I had to do this three times, finding the slip-up in chapters eight, twelve and fifteen. Every fine-toothed examination of the manuscript so far had me asking, over and over, WHY I wanted to try to write deeper emotion. I had no clue if any of my readers would cry over Quinn and Cassie's story, but I was certainly shedding tears trying to write the darn thing.
Did I succeed? I won't know until my editor at HarperImpulse reads it and makes her decision. But I do know one thing: My brains are like scrambled eggs. I'm forgetful. I can barely write a cohesive sentence or form a complete thought. I'm sleeping more, taking a nap every day and trying to reenergize mentally. In short, I'm going through what every author goes through after finishing a book. Non-writers have no clue what this process takes from us. On the other hand...I have an obsessive need to work on my next story.
Calvin is trying his best to keep me from writing for a few days. He wants me to heal for a week or more. Movies, shopping, choosing new flooring for our kitchen and picking out some plants. Even so...my mind keeps straying to the Highlands of Scotland for book two of my Highlander's Beloved Series.