At this point I’d decided that I didn’t have to stick to what actually happened because the book was going to be fiction INSPIRED by true events. Remember, I was still a novice at writing fiction so I was poised to make many mistakes. I’d begun reading articles in Writers Digest and was slowly building a respectable library related to writing fiction, but looking back I’d still say my attempts were commendable but tinged with an amateurish quality. Too many adjectives, too many rambling sentences and too many divergences that did nothing to further the story. That said, it was finally shaping up to be far better than the attempt Mort Reed shot down.
I’d decided there would be a revenge murder in this new version, Laurel would have a second chance at success if she chose to try and she would triumph in the end. Therefore coming out of the tragedy of her first marriage she would find a new love in a way she didn’t expect. Now I needed the perfect personality for that role in her life. Someone totally unlike her first husband who was the father of her child. She also would have one child, not the four the real model for Laurel had. Four children would have been too complicated for the plot that was developing. Having mulled many possibilities around in my mind, the light bulb finally went on over my head. A person I had loved who died much too early from cancer would be perfect as a model for Vince. His personality was just the contrast I needed–Italian, outspoken, devil-may-care, older but with a young appearance, personality and energy.
In some ways it was also healing for me to use him as a character in the story because it was as though I had one more chance to connect with the real person. Some of the incidents in the book, like a scene where Laurel is flying a kite, are things that we really did. One reader said it felt so real. That was because it was real. And, I decided that Vince would be a hair stylist who had opened a restaurant, just like it was in real life.
I experimented with several possibilities about how he would enter her life and was finally satisfied that it wouldn’t be something instant, but rather something that grew. Something arranged by another person. After all, with all she had been through in real life someone like my character Laurel would not trust instantly. She would be guarded and cautious.
It was also lots of fun creating the characters of Maxine and Brian Stanley, Laurel’s in-laws. Maxine was particularly fun because she is so nasty and conniving. She begs to be taken down. As for Brian, I didn’t know I would write in his redemption as a person, but he came to life for me as characters sometimes do. Brian told me many things I hadn’t planned for his character that further enhanced the plot.
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