What if the jilted groom isn’t a jerk? What if he’s the good guy?
By Deborah Garland
My jilted groom, Gregory Mallory in Must Have Faith almost never existed in the first place. Let me explain.
It all goes back to the first Darling Cove novel, Must Love Fashion. After I’d been horribly rejected by my own agent for the book that inspired Must Love Fashion, I refused to let the characters go. I knew I had to tell Gwen and Andrew’s love story. I also knew I needed to make some changes. The original novel was part of a planned series that even I wasn’t excited about. In the original novel, Gwen only had a sister. When I dumped the idea of the original series, I turned my attention back to Gwen and her family. Her father was already Martin Mallory and she’d lost her mother at a young age. I was also running out of time.
I’m a member of the Long Island Romance Writers group and an editor was our guest speaker that month. She planned to give us tips on how to pitch a romance series. We were also told to have pitches available for her to ‘critique.’
The morning of the meeting, I grabbed my notebook and began to scribble ideas for the new series. Including titles and characters and plots (loglines). That. Morning. I’d had Must Love Fashion and wanted the titles to match. I titled Gwen’s sister Skye’s book, Must Be Crazy and had a loose idea for the plot. I knew I needed a brother. (In retrospect, I should have made more brothers).
My mind was whirring away. A brother. What is his name? That’s always the hardest part. The name had to be sexy. And classic. I wish I had a fantastic story about where I got ‘Gregory’ from. I don’t. It just came to me. Then I had to figure out a storyline about a man I’d just met and didn’t even know that well. Remember, I had a pitch that morning.
The old stand-by trope “runaway bride’ is always a safe bet, but to be honest, I never cared for those stories. The brides were always running away from a jerk. (Took you that long to figure out, he’s a jerk?) This I remember… The idea… What if the jilted groom isn’t a jerk? What if he’s the good guy?
The clock was ticking. I had the storyline. I needed a runaway bride. Whoever she was, she was coming back to town. (The Runaway Bride is Back) It all came together. Faith. Must Have Faith.
Originally, Must Have Faith was supposed to come after Must Be Crazy. In fact, I’d already written a few scenes. But while re-writing Must Love Fashion, Greg just got all up in my grill. Heroes do that. Even my critique partner said she wanted to date him! By the time, Must Love Fashion was done, I knew I had to write Greg and Faith’s story next. Readers wanted Greg too: “I am wondering if Greg gets his story or happily ever after. Hopefully so!”, “I really hope there is another book about Gwen’s brother’s life because I see some drama there.”, “I’m anxiously waiting for the second book in this series, which I hope is about Gwen’s brother, Gregory. That poor man is in desperate need of some loving!”
Gotta give the people what they want.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Garland is a former computer and sports journalist, turned romance and women’s fiction author. She likes to write about love and the struggles of complicated relationships. Her heroines are strong, and the heroes fall hard for them. She lives on the North Shore of Long Island with her husband and when she’s not writing, she’s either in the gym, or reading, cuddled up with their two pugs, Zoe and Harley.