Not too long ago, I was talking to my oldest daughter about the romance books I’ve written. I don’t remember the exact conversation or what I had said but her response was, “Most of your books start with someone traveling somewhere.” I stopped dead in my mental tracks and did an inventory. She was right. Somewhere in the first few chapters of many of my books the hero or heroine travel or arrive somewhere they are unfamiliar with.
I begin books when I see a character in my head doing something and I wonder why they are doing what they are doing or how they got to the situation in the first place. In Train Station Bride, I saw Julia Crawford reading a letter she’d received from a man she’d corresponded with and agreed to marry. Not many chapters into TSB, Julia boards a train to her new life. Julia’s arrival in a South Dakota town in the midst of the Founder’s Day Festivities plays havoc with her long planned intentions.
When I wrote some of these romances like TSB, I was in the midst of a personal life upheaval that included moving away from the only house I’d ever lived in to a town I knew little about on the other side of the state. Looking back it is obvious that whatever emotions I was feeling at the time came out in the books I was writing. I got my HEA, though, and so do my fictional heroines!
Excerpt! Julia Crawford arrives in the South Dakota town where the shopkeeper she’s been corresponding with lives.
Julia stood on the step of the train and looked at the vast crowd of people. Her departure from her lifetime home was the least of her problems at this moment. How would she ever find Mr. Snelling in this crush?
The conductor shouted in her ear that her trunks and bags were being deposited on the boardwalk, one car down. Julia thanked him and hurried to find her things. It was difficult, working her way through the throng especially being at best shoulder height with some of the shorter men and women. She found her leather strapped trunk and her other bags and planted herself beside them, looking through the mob for a fiftyish, balding, thin man. It was impossible. She couldn’t see further than a lapel. She stood on tiptoe with no better results. Julia had to get a better view but didn’t want to leave her luggage to find a higher vantage point.
Julia stared down at her trunk. Glory hallelujah. Her trunk. She would stand on it and have a clear view of all the faces milling about. Her mother and sister would have a fit if they knew what she was thinking of doing. Better though to imagine their censure than find herself east bound if she couldn’t find Mr. Snelling. She had no doubt her father would be sending someone to escort her home. Julia had to be married when that day arrived.
* * * *
Jake Shelling inched his way through the crowd, Pastor Phillips in tow. He had forgotten completely about the Founder’s Day Celebration. Town was packed with every farmer, rancher and their families for miles around. He wondered if his sister was keeping her family home because of his new bride coming to town. If so, his niece and nephew would have a thing or two to say to their Uncle Jake about missing the biggest party of the year. He didn’t need to crane his neck much to look for his bride-to-be. He towered over most of the crowd. And he figured Miss Crawper would be easy to spot. A woman near six foot tall. He guessed she’d be blonde. Hadn’t he read somewhere that most folks from those Norwegian countries were blonde? Jake straightened up as he saw upswept blonde hair under a yellow hat. He grabbed the Pastor’s arm and yanked him through the crowd.