I’ve written and spoken before about my tendency to be a character-driven writer. For me, it’s the people, their past, their motivations and their relationships that make me want to know more.
Nowhere has this been more evident than in the book about to be released. In Always Our Love, the main characters are Jenna Sutton and Lincoln Turner. I am fairly certain that this is first of my books where both main characters were introduced in earlier books in separate series (the Crystal Cove Romances do have previously-introduced leads, but all from the same series).
Jenna Sutton was first mentioned in The Only One, as a cousin of main character Rilla Grant. I needed a babysitter for Mason’s daughter Piper, and since Rilla had just ‘found’ her absentee mother’s brother Boomer, it worked to have his daughter jump into the fray. At that point, all we knew was that Jenna was the youngest of the Sutton. I knew Boomer had all daughters, because he had bemoaned to Sam (in The Last One) the fact that he was overrun by females at home.
When I knew there would be three more books set in Burton, Georgia, I knew that Maureen Evans, sister of Flynn, would be the lead in one book, and one of my readers suggested Jenna as another. I noted her mentally, but to me, Jenna was young and pretty one-dimensional. I wasn’t sure she would work.
But as it turned out, a lot happened to Jenna Sutton between her babysitting gigs and her book. And it all had to do with Trent Wagoner.
At this point, I had Maureen as a lead for one book, I had Jenna as a lead for another but I needed one more. For some reason, Trent Wagoner kept popping into my head. I’ve written elsewhere that Trent was not my first choice of lead, but he grew on me. But what made this admitted man-whore changed his stripes?
We first heard about what happened between Trent and Jenna in Always For You, when Maureen tells Smith the story she’d heard. We got a little more insight when Trent showed up in Crystal Cove for the Christmas short Underneath My Christmas Tree, and even more during Trent’s book, Always My Own. But we never actually see Jenna until she stops in at Kiki’s bakery in the short My One and Always.
Writing from Jenna’s point of view was a huge relief after nearly a year of telling her story through others’ eyes. We’d gotten bits and pieces of Jenna–clues about her character, how she had changed since her introduction–but finally, we could see why she’d made some of the choices she did, as well as what was she was struggling with currently.
Jenna and Linc are both in recovery from different trauma. (We’ll talk about Linc next week.) Their wounds are what make them both interesting and appealing, and how they move on, both together and alone, is what makes the story.
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ALWAYS OUR LOVE