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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Behind the Book

Where do ideas for books come from? How does that little idea grow into a novel?
Years ago someone told me a story about a friend of his who attended a wedding in another city. The friend sat with the rest of the congregation in the church as the bride walked up the aisle to her groom. But once she got there, she halted the wedding liturgy and turned to the congregation.
“Thank you for coming today,” she said, “but there’s not going to be a wedding. If you reach under your seats you’ll find an envelope taped there. When you open the envelope you’ll know why I won’t be marrying this man today.”
With that she walked out of the church to the stunned surprise of everyone assembled. Then there was a mad scramble to retrieve the envelopes under the pews. Inside were pictures of the groom in bed with the maid of honor, who apparently wasn’t so honorable.
I don’t know if this story is true (it sounds a bit like an urban myth to me) though my friend’s friend swore it was. But it got me thinking about wedding disasters. What if a woman was dumped at the altar? How would she feel? What would she do next? Could such an awful situation be funny? That’s how “Her Best Man” was born.
Sarah Stevens’ dream wedding turned into a nightmare. Not only did her fiancĂ© Brad turn tail and run from the church, her mother totally lost her marbles, humiliating Sarah even more. I feel sorry for poor Sarah, but I wouldn’t be doing my job as a romance writer if I didn’t make things even worse for her. (Insert evil laugh here).
How do I do that? By having her motley crew of assorted relatives make life miserable for her. Her mother’s been living with her since her parents’ divorce (Is that why Sarah agreed to marry Brad so quickly?) Then her great aunt arrives to “comfort” her; translation, gloat over her misfortune. The last straw comes when the great aunt announces that her daughter will be coming to stay with Sarah for a couple of weeks. Sarah knows this means non-stop moaning about her disastrous wedding, along with many giddy little jabs from her mean-spirited cousin. Sarah can’t take another minute. To escape, she decides to use her ticket for the Caribbean cruise meant to be her honeymoon.
Meanwhile, Brad is feeling pretty lousy about what he did to Sarah. He decides to stay in Ottawa to apologize and somehow make it up to her. Sarah’s a great girl; he was just scared about marriage when he bolted from the church. He offers his brother Will, who had been best man at the wedding, his ticket for the honeymoon cruise.  Will is a travel writer and is just getting over a bout of Delhi belly received on one of his trips. Some fun in the Caribbean sun is more appealing than the Ottawa snow.
So Sarah and Will end up on the same cruise ship, in the same cabin. Let the fireworks begin!
My hope is to make “Her Best Man” one third of a three part series in which someone gets left at the altar at the beginning of each novel. I’m working on books two and three now. Wish me luck!
To read an excerpt from “Her Best Man” or any of my other books, please check out my website at Don’t forget to enter the contest running at my website right now. I’m giving away copies of my books. For more information check out my contest page. Cheers!


Rachel Lynne said...

Hi Jana! Her Best Man sounds like a great read and I'm definitely looking up that envelope under the pew story ... wonder if it's on snopes? Can you imagine? LOL, I used to be a wedding coordinator and, oh boy can I picture the poo hitting the fan!
Best of luck with Her Best Man and a series!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Rachel,
If you were a wedding coordinator, you must have some very interesting tales to tell! I don't know if that story was true, but I always wanted to use it, or a version of it, in one of my books.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Cheers!

Kasey said...

Now that's a story! I really like how you weaved such an entertaining story from that one urban myth. Very creative and fun creating something new from a tale. Sounds like a fun read! I'll be sure to check it out! I love disaster wedding stories...not sure why but they always lift my spirits. LOL. I'm strange like that I guess.


Jana Richards said...

Hi Kasey,
There's something about a disaster wedding story, isn't there? Sort of like a train wreck; it's awful and you don't want to stare at the carnage, but you can't seem to help yourself.

I must be strange like you because I'm currently working on two more "Left at the Altar" stories. They're fun to write!


elizabeth noble said...

I've heard that story before and real or not, I love it!


Jean P said...

Never heard that story before, if it is true, that must have been something to be in the church at the time.

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Maria Zannini said...

I've heard this story for at least a year or so. Whether it's true or not, it's great comeuppance.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Elizabeth and Maria,
Since you've both heard this story before, then I was right when my first thought was that it was an urban myth. Well, urban myth or not it's a great story, and it certainly inspired me!

Thanks for commenting.

Jana Richards said...

Hi Jean,
Can you imagine being a guest at a wedding where the bride pulls a stunt like that? You wouldn't soon forget that couple!

Glad you were able to stop by.