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.
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.
Bellevere House has been featured on Ezvid Wiki video "10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories in a New Way." Click to see the video.