I'm a little worried about my next book, but it's not what you might think. The problem is not with the plot. It's not the characterization or even the wow factor. In fact, my concerns aren't with the fiction at all. They're with the truth. And yes, it is stranger than – or, rather, identical to – the fiction.
It all started innocently enough. I submitted my first manuscript, DOWN IN FLAMES, to Noble for consideration on October 10, 2009. Within those pages lurked a surprise pregnancy. Perhaps I shouldn't have bestowed the gift of reproduction on my characters with such diabolical glee because four days later, on October 14, the H and I found out we were expecting baby number six. If you think that's something, think again. Believe it or not, there's more to this story.
My husband and I always planned to have five children. We did exactly that, and the morning after the birth of number five I had my tubes tied. "Tied" as in cut, tied, burned, and DONE. I had to sign the disclaimer, of course (so no child support from the doctor, LOL) but the odds of conception were itty bitty. Just not itty bitty enough. Two years after the tubal we were pregnant and our miracle baby was born a couple of weeks before DOWN IN FLAMES hit the virtual shelves.
Think that's odd? It gets better. Two months after baby number six joined our family, I had surgery to have my tubes removed. (There's still a failure rate, if you wondered.) After the surgery, my doctor shared some interesting news. My tubes didn't grow together end to end like you might expect. Instead, they fused side by side, which is incredible considering the center length was removed on the first go round. But in terms of the two surprise pregnancies – mine and my character's – I chalked it up to a coincidence. (Meanwhile, my husband requested I never again mention pregnancy in a book.)
Then the plot thickened.
My second novel, RUN TO YOU, is a romantic suspense. It's no secret the story is set on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, but what you may not know is there are two rather grisly murders which take place in very specific ways. The scene of the crime, the murder weapon, and the method of attack are identical in both killings. With the novel set pretty much in my back yard (read the true story-behind-the-story here: Real Life Romance and Murder) the setting didn't require much of an imagination. Still, I've lived here 33 years and not once have I ever heard of the attack I described happening locally. (Truth be told, I've not heard of it at all but I'm sure it's happened.)
Well, you guessed it. Eight days after I finished my pre-submission edits, the local news broke the story of a tourist who was attacked on the beach. Same weapon, same method of assault, same injury. She survived and eventually recovered – thank goodness – but the other details of the crime are almost identical.
Now I'm neck deep in murder with my new romantic suspense – guns slinging, bodies falling, the whole shebang – and there's a sense of "triple dog dare" hanging over this manuscript. Oh, I won't hold back, but I can't help but wonder. Still, there's one thing you can count on, dear readers, and that is this.
No one is going to end up pregnant.