I’m often asked where I get my story ideas. Sometimes it’s a character that pops into my head with a story to tell. Other times a scene plays out in my imagination and I need to write the book to see what happens next.
For my newest book, Love Proof, (releasing June 26, 2019, available now for pre-order) I’d heard about a new series my publisher was launching — a small-town romance (any sub-genre) centred on a historic bed & breakfast in Vermont. Ideas for characters and plots ping-ponged immediately — a bookstore owner? A waitress in a café? A missing husband?
I read the series bible (established characters, occupations, and businesses, along with a map of the town, as well the synopses of the already contracted stories) and noticed a gaping hole. Where was the bakery? Zounds! Every town needs a bakery!
Since I’m a home baker who bakes to relax (and maybe procrastinate <grin>) my heroine had to be a baker with her own shop. I didn’t want her getting up at 2am in order to have breads and rolls ready by opening time. That would be problematic for romantic sleepovers. So, Fiona specializes in cupcakes and bar cookies. As we all know, a cupcake is sad without sprinkles and the name of the bakery became Love Sprinkles.
I think it would be unfair, perhaps cruel, to fill a book with descriptions of yummy treats without giving readers the chance to sample the treats, and I included a couple tried and true recipes I’ve been baking for years.
Location and occupation were the easy parts of story development. Discovering the hero and heroine’s internal struggles — what will draw them together and what will keep them apart — required more work.
I determined that they had known each other in high school (they are now in the mid-30’s) and I set the cause of their conflict back in their angst-riddled teen years. So much fun! I was not one of the popular kids and could relate with Fiona’s less-than-fond memories of not fitting in.
I’m sure we all remember that one guy in high school — captain of a sports team, class president, talented musician — on whom all the girls had a crush. That was my hero. Except Raynor has a secret — he’s lousy at relationships, and has declared a moratorium on dating.
Until he walks into Love Sprinkles and sees that the girl from high school is all grown up.
Unemployed photojournalist Raynor Elliot stops at a bakery near the famous Deerbourne Inn. Not only does he get a lead on a job but the bakery’s owner is that awkward kid he knew in high school, only now she has fabulous curves and an irreverent sense of humor. The cozy bakery, with its aroma of sugar, vanilla and spice, has more to offer than tasty cookies.
Fiona MacLeod has been plagued for years by the need to make amends for telling The Big Lie. When the lie’s victim strolls into her bakery with his icy blue stare and killer charm, she feels like she’s standing too close to a hot oven.
Between running her bakery and frosting cupcakes for the Mad River Garden Party, she’s pretty sure she’s falling in love with this infuriating, sexy man. Can Fiona dredge up the courage to confess, face the consequences, and hope for forgiveness?
“I remember those days.” She pushed the calculator to the side, too tired to worry about planning the week’s baking schedule. “Why’d you study journalism?
“Truth is important to me. I was tired of all the lies in government, at every level. I wanted to change that. Ultimately make the world a better place. Easy peasy, right?” His lips quirked and he shook his head.
“That’s why I decided to be a baker. Brighten someone’s day with a special treat.”
He scooted his chair closer and pointed at the column of numbers on the page. “You want me to do the rest?” His arm, bare to the bicep, lightly tanned, dusted with blond hair, a little lighter than on his head, rested less than an inch from her own spindly pale arm. Not spindly compared to other women, hefting bags of flour and moving trays of baked goods did take some muscle power. But spindly compared to his manly toned muscles flexing under skin that she’d bet her last jar of sprinkles was smooth and warm. She clenched her hand.
No touching allowed.
“We have cupcakes to frost.” She bounded from the chair and rushed into the kitchen.
Holy moly, the guy oozed sex. In a good way. A very good way. She pulled a clean apron off the shelf and cinched it around her waist. An extra layer of armor between her and temptation in the form of Raynor. The seeker of truth. The man whose mission in life was to expose lies. The reporter who thought liars were not decent human beings.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Proof-Deerbourne-Luanna-Stewart-ebook/dp/B07S2SBP4V
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/Love-Proof-Deerbourne-Luanna-Stewart-ebook/dp/B07S2SBP4V
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Love+Proof+Luanna&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/Love-Proof-Deerbourne-Luanna-Stewart-ebook/dp/B07S2SBP4V
About Luanna Stewart
Luanna Stewart has been creating adventures for her imaginary friends since childhood. At the tender age of twelve she discovered her grandmother’s stash of romance novels, after which all plots had to lead to a happily-ever-after.
Luanna spends her days writing sexy romantic suspense, steamy paranormal romance, and spicy historical romance. When she’s not torturing her heroes and heroines, she’s either in her kitchen baking something delicious, or protecting her garden from the chickens. She lives in Nova Scotia with her incredibly patient husband and two spoiled cats.
Social media links:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/luanna_stewart