Before we get to the specifics of this book, Mary has some thoughts to share on why she wrote this book.
People ask writers where they get their ideas and why they write certain books. If you asked me why I wrote Protective Instincts, the book before Protecting Melissa, I’d tell you the characters spoke to me and insisted I write their story. I did and had to do rewrites because my style was too flowery and more historical than contemporary. The story was contemporary, so I worked on my style and made changes. I sent it out over and over again until I decided that the editors weren’t really reading the book. After all, how could they reject my wonderful story? What has this to do with Protecting Melissa? I’m getting there. I decided to change the characters’ names and the town and the beginning and send it to the same publishers. Piece of cake!
It wasn’t a piece of cake! I gave the old hero a new name and the old heroine one, too. I did searches and swapped the names. I didn’t see the new characters as people, just the old characters with new names. Okay, I changed the ages, too, just in case the editors had files on stories they had rejected. At that point Gabe, the new hero, balked. He announced he was his own person and gave me his history and conflict to prove it. I wrote what he said, because who am I to ignore a character who talks to me? Melissa, the new heroine, spoke up and let me know her story was entirely different from the old heroine’s. For those of you whose characters talk to you, that’s huge. Ignore them at your own peril! They can make other characters mutiny and leave a writer in trouble.
Each story has a teacher, a parent with a student in her class, a Mustang, and a heroine in peril. Both heroines resist the attraction to the hero for different reasons. Beyond that I had to write a new story almost from scratch! Oh, and scenes I cut from the first story fit perfectly in Protecting Melissa.
I write steamy Woman’s Fiction, Paranormal Romance, and Romantic Suspense.
I like to think of a situation and figure who would have the biggest problem in that situation. I toss the characters most likely to have a conflict in that situation and with each other into that situation and watch what happens.
NOTE FROM STARLA KAYE: I loved reading Mary’s reasoning for writing this particular story and how her characters rebelled. Needless to say, I’ve been there in that position as well. Non-writers don’t understand the problems authors have sometimes with working with characters, who are actually more like real people than fictional ones. Readers, we aren’t crazy…not really.
BLURB – Protecting Melissa
Melissa isn’t looking for a man in her life. Not after her husband’s murder revealed he swindled local businessmen and slept with half the married women in town. She wants to forget the past, forget about men for now, and focus on teacher.
When Gabe comes to school to learn why his son is staying after school and missing football practice, Melissa is reminded that youthful crushes die hard, and hers hasn’t died at all. Gabe still ignites feels the old spark. She’s torn. Her professional ethics warn her away from her student’s father, while her heart draws her closer.
Meanwhile, Melissa doesn’t know that her husband’s killer is still after his stolen money—and is sure she’ll know where it is. One night, returning to her car after a high school basketball game, Melissa finds all of her tires slashed and realizes her husband was not only a crook and cheat, but that he’s left her in serious danger.
Luckily, Gabe is available to give her a ride home that night. Melissa’s racing mind is put at ease by his presence, which only makes her feel more confused about him. Though she doesn’t ever want to depend on a man again, she’s glad for his strong shoulder to lean on for a few minutes. The rest of him isn’t bad, either.
Gabe isn’t looking for anyone either, not since his wife’s death. But as a former member of an elite military organization, he knows four slashed tires mean more than a high school prank, and his protective urge kicks in. He remembers when Melissa was just a kid following him around—but she’s no kid any more. He finds himself wanting more from her than he should.
As menace grows around Melissa and Gabe their relationship deepens, despite their efforts to fight it. Gabe can’t just walk away now, because his instincts tell him she’s in more danger than she realizes. And he’s right.
BUY LINK: Amazon
I’m a story-holic. Yep, I have loved to read since the first grade. I have been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. The stories I made up for the other children and the details I created for their “play like” or “let’s pretend” games. Sometimes the details were so real they scared me
I taught language arts for 15 years, perfect for my BA in English. My M.Ed in Counseling served me well during my years as a school counselor and as a teacher later.
Now I tutor, teach writers, and edit. My inner English teacher loves the editing part. My daughter doesn’t read my books (something about TMI.)
Editing for other authors allows me to contribute to preparing great stories for publication. Keeping an author’s voice, rhythm, and style intact is important.
Writers shouldn’t be able to tell where my suggestions begin, because I use their words.
I have self-published 5 novels and 2 novellas and have 3 novels with publishers and short stories in 5 anthologies.