What Ifs and Weddings
One of my favorite ways to come up with story ideas is to think of a situation and ask myself, “What if?”
That’s how I came up with the idea for my latest release, Always a Groomsman. I started off with the idea of a man going to his brother’s wedding expecting to meet the bride’s twin sister, only to find out the bride’s twin was actually a man. I thought the mix-up could have some interesting results.
At that point, a lot of authors would try to plot out a story. Not me. I began with one idea and the title, which I came up with by turning the “always a bridesmaid” cliché on its head. Then I decided to write the story as a serial, a bit at a time. I’m an unrepentant pantser, but writing a serial was unstructured even for me.
Each new installment of the story was almost as much of a surprise to me as it was to the people reading it. My main characters turned out to be a photographer (who had experience with Bridezillas and other wedding dangers) and a pediatric nurse with the unisex name of Casey (hence the mix-up). Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the story. After a few months of updating the story every two weeks, real life issues pulled me away from the serial. With all the other things I had on my plate at the time, I never returned to the project. I thought it might end up in my WIP graveyard, which is what I call the file full of unfinished stories I have on my computer.
Fortunately, Loose Id put out a call for wedding stories. Not just any wedding story, however: these had to have some kind of situation in which a wedding was in danger of not happening. With that inspiration in mind, I took my unfinished idea and began to flesh it out. Instead of just a cute little one-trick pony sort of idea, Always a Groomsman became a tale with real conflict. The light tone remained, as did the twin mix-up I even managed to make the misunderstanding more embarrassing for Skyler, the photographer, by giving him and Casey a prior meeting. The heart of the story is the same, but I’d like to think it’s much fuller and deeper now.
Photographer Skyler Spencer comes to Key West for his brother’s wedding expecting to take some pictures, act as best man, and maybe spend a little time getting to know his brother’s fiancee and her twin sister. Then he learns that not only is the twin a man rather than a woman, but it’s a man he’s met before–under less than appropriate circumstances.
Casey Baker doesn’t expect the guy he once had a memorable encounter in a club bathroom with to turn up as his brother-in-law to be, but he’s able to deal with the surprise. Dealing with the strong attraction they feel for each other is a lot more difficult, but Casey figures a short, hot fling will take care of that. Too bad he’s not good at staying detached, and Skyler’s not good at commitment.
When Mother Nature and the past combine to put the wedding in jeopardy, Skyler and Casey have more than just their own confused feelings to deal with. Will the weekend end with two sets of broken hearts?
By day, Cassandra is a (relatively) mild-mannered middle school teacher. She spends her days teaching grammar, grading papers, and trying to get sixth graders to read.
At night, she lets the characters in her head out to play as she writes stories of men falling in love. Unfortunately for her husband, neither of Cassandra’s personas enjoys doing housework.
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