Sabrina Jeffries - To Pleasure a Prince
For me, there's never ONE idea for a book. It's more like throwing pieces of junk silver into a crucible, melting them down, sifting out the dross, and then pouring what's left into a mold. I take a piece that interests me here, combine it with something there, and then voila, jewelry! (And occasionally ugly jewelry, but then I have to start over).
In other words, To Pleasure a Prince was composed in parts. I honestly don't remember where I got the idea for the part about Guy 1 letting Guy 2 court his sister if Guy 2 would let Guy 1 do the same. I'm sure something sparked it, but whatever it was has vanished into the mists of time (getting old does that to you).
But other parts of it I remember very well. First of all, there was the whole Royal Brotherhood thing, which was sparked by a royal bastard character in Dangerous to Love by Rexanne Becnel (my critique partner). I always wanted her to write the royal bastard's story, and she never did. So when I started thinking about having half-brothers connected by one mother with different fathers, lightning struck and suddenly I combined the two ideas into a series idea for bastard half-brothers of the Prince of Wales. Once I hit upon THAT, I combined it with the idea I'd already had for the Guy 1/Guy 2 story.
Then I started doing research on the Prince of Wales. And that's when I stumbled across the info that sparked the part about Draker's parents' relationship. I learned that a few of Prinny's mistresses had husbands who just stood by while he carried on with their wives. So I asked myself how a child of that mess would react, especially if the child happened to LIKE the guy who was acting as his father. Who would he side with? How would he feel about Prinny (his real father)? How would he feel about his mother?
And that's how I developed Draker as the outcast bastard of the bunch (royal bastards generally had it pretty good, so an outcast was not as obvious as you'd think).
THAT led to the last part, Regina's dyslexia. For purposes of conflict, I figured I'd pair Draker with the perfect society woman. But I didn't want her to be too perfect or why would she bother with him? So I decided to give her a secret handicap that made her feel vulnerable around him while at the same time helped her sympathize with his situation as an outcast. Once I decided that, it just remained for me to decide what her handicap should be. It had to be something that she could keep secret, something that no one knew much about at the time but that readers would recognize from a description. Voila, dyslexia.
So there you go. A lot of pieces/parts, and a very winding road to a plot and characters for a book. Aren't you sorry you asked?