"The heat and passion is about to explode..."
Building a series is exciting business; places, characters, quirks. They all need to be addressed in the world-building.
Every character in Alpha Security had at LEAST two name changes in the course of writing Heated Pursuit...except for Rafe. Rafe, from day one, had always been Rafe. Penny, the heroine, the poor soul, had undergone no less than six changes. IDENTITY CRISIS. ;-)
HEATED PURSUIT takes place in the Honduran jungle. WHY, you ask, of all places? And that's because as I was plotting this book—on THE hottest week in Virginia's history—our A/C broke (GASP!) Being stuck home in the sweltering heat, with two small children to wrangle, I may as well been traversing the wilds of a Honduran jungle.
When I needed a backdrop for HOLDING FIRE, the first place I thought of was my own home ground of Pennsylvania.
Elle is the daughter of a United States senator, and for her entire life, she's always done the expected thing. She followed the rules put before her, and didn't question. She was a good girl. When it came down to writing Elle, I asked myself, "What would happen when a good girl started her teenage rebellion seventeen late?" My answer, "A one-night stand."
And I went one step further...by turning the Girl-Wants-A-Relationship and Boy-Is-Allergic-To-Commitment trope and FLIPPED IT UPSIDE DOWN. (GASP!) It was fun writing both Elle and Trey, especially giving my strong alpha hero a slightly gooey center.
HARD JUSTICE has you diving a little deeper into Vince and Charlie, and while I love all the characters that I write, Charlie will forever have a special place in my heart. When I sat down to create her, I automatically had an image of pink-dyed hair and tattoos, a snarky attitude...and I thought it would be a hoot to pair up the hard exterior with a smooth British accent. (It also could've been the Downton Abbey episodes I'd been binging at the time).
I knew that the only Alpha I could pair Charlie with was Vince. His grumpy, stand-offish and by-the-book mentality would create fireworks with the very vocal Charlie...and make for some interesting times both in and out of the bedroom.
But I also wanted to show the vulnerable side of Charlie, the side she doesn't let anyone see. And that meant throwing her back into her past and forcing her to rely on someone other than herself to pull her back out.