Writing The Test of Devotion has been a one-of-a-kind experience for me. The book gestated as a western romance but failed when marketed in that direction. Something about the character relationships wasn’t working and the main flaw was the dynamic between Jenny and Viajero. Of course, for a western romance the missionary’s daughter should end up with the much-better-than-he-looks outlaw. And this wasn’t working at all.
For a long time, I abandoned the book, assuming it was a miss. (You can’t hit them all, you know.) But then, as I was carefully examining all of my work, I decided to look at Devotion again. Suddenly, the ages of the characters shot down, Arabella became a touch more likable, and Jenny was much more sympathetic towards her. And I realized why Jenny and Viajero’s romance wasn’t working. They are opposed to each other fundamentally, so a romance would be stupid. I even wrote the story in a switching POV style, one half for her and one for him, which I never do. But here it was a woven fabric of the story and not for the reason I thought at first.
Making it a YA adventure story emphasized Jenny and Viajero’s hostility to each other as a strength that adds to the story, an undercurrent barely expressed but always running through it. Will they be able to work together? It’s a great question. As a romance they were no good, but as a rescue team for irritating, but hapless Arabella. . . they just might be the reason I wrote this novel.
And there will be more updates.
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I live surrounded by cultivated fields that rapidly give way to wild flowers, wild plants, and wild life. I get most of my ideas while drifting innocuously around my house and some of those ideas get into print.
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