“A book with a cowboy on the cover. Historical.”
That’s what the editor wanted. Did I have such a story, she wanted to know.
No. Well, not really. But I could.
After all, I’m a writer. I could come up with an idea, couldn’t I?
Let’s see. Set it in Colorado. In the 1880s. Do some online research. What happened in Colorado in that time? A drought in the southwestern part of the state. For several years prior, in fact. Gold mining. Silver mining.
Wait a minute. Cowboys care about water. And silver mining? Who knew.
So I was off and running on these two topics. Until I ran out of information. And knew this was the story I wanted to write.
But who was my heroine? I wanted feisty. Sparks. Problems. Romantic tension. Danger.
Bring in somebody totally unsuited for either lifestyle. She couldn’t cook. Didn’t know how to ride a horse or rope a calf. Hadn’t a clue how difficult and dangerous silver mining could be.
But why was she there? And where was this idea about a mock marriage coming from? How to initiate that?
Before you knew it, I had the plot for Double Jeopardy. The tagline is: Mining, murder—and a mock marriage? I sent it to my agent who sent it to the publisher.
Who promptly sent it to another imprint under the same company because she felt it would be a better fit. And guess what? No cowboy on the cover after all!
But they captured the essence of Becky, my feisty yet spunky heroine.
Seems a fine trade-off.
About Donna Schlachter:
Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com