Behind The Scenes

Her Favorite Rival

This book has been to the moon and back and taken my sanity with it a few times along the way. First up, let me confess that the original version of this storyline included a hynotist performing at the work conference the hero and heroine are attending, something which leads to the hero inadvertently being hypnotised and reverting to a child-like state in front of his boss and work colleagues and the heroine stepping in to rescue him. On paper, it seemed like a hilarious idea, and was factually based on something I witnessed myself at a conference in my former life as a journalist. In the writing, though...not so hilarious. And utterly unbelievable, contrived and uncomfortable. I knew in my gut that the storyline was wrong, but I kept writing forward, knowing that I could fix it later. And then disaster struck.

My hard drive failed. One morning, I went to check on something on my computer, and it was running very slowly, the little color wheel spinning at an excruciatingly slow rate. I saved my files, and decided to restart the machine, since it had been a while since I'd done that. And wouldn't you know it, the computer simply wouldn't reboot. At all. I got what I soon learned is called "the grey screen of death", and after googling on my older laptop and understanding what I was looking at, I began to panic. Because, of course, being me, I hadn't backed up for a while. Not since finishing the first three chapters. And I was about 15000 words away from finishing an 85000 word manuscript. Which had now disappeared into the bowels of a computer that was refusing to talk to me. 

Well, as you can imagine, there were some conniptions. This has happened to me once before, except the file disappeared, not the whole hard drive, and back then I promised myself I would never ever ever get caught short again.... And yet there I was, caught short, undeniably. My lovely man did some research, since he was still rational and coherent, and found a forensic data recovery company who claimed great success with recovering data from failed drives. I handed over my laptop, paid them a small fortune, and sat back to gnaw my nails to the knuckle. I should state that I don't think I ever really, truly believed I wouldn't get my book back. I just didn't think I could be that unlucky twice. I didn't want to believe that, anyway. And I was right. A week later, they found my book, along with everything else on my hard-drive, and I was able to start writing again. 

Except that in the down-time while I waited to find out if they could find my book or not, I did a lot of thinking about my story. I knew I'd taken a wrong path with all that crazy hypnotism stuff (was I on crack when I plotted that? We'll never know) and I knew it all had to come out. So I sat down and nutted out an alternate storyline, and suddenly the book began to really hum for me. Instead of being about a stupid plot device, it was about two people and their rivalry and trust and ambition, and it was about the delicate balance women all over the Western world are trying to strike between having a career and having relationships and having a life. And I just fell in love all over again with Audrey and Zach. 

So, it's been a bit of a journey, for both my hero and heroine and me. Not one I will be rushing to put my hand up for again. But, you know, it was an experience. And maybe one day one of my characters will have a failed hard drive and the hero or heroine can come to their rescue and it will all be recycled into another story...

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