Welcome author Marie Higgins to the blog today. So glad to have her stopping by to talk about Memorable Stories. She’ll be giving away a PDF copy of WAITING FOR YOU to one lucky commenter.
When I first started reading romance, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Judith McNaught, LaVyrle Spencer, and Jude Deveraux were my favorites. Even to this day (20 years later) I can remember every book I read. When I first started writing myself, I wanted to write a memorable story just like my favorite authors. I wanted readers to remember my stories 20 years from now. But as I write, that thought never crosses my mind because all I know is that I’m writing a story that I love. So how do I know if my stories are memorable?
I decided to ask readers what they think makes a story memorable, and I’m going to see with my latest release, a ghost story/time-travel romance, Waiting For You, if I have accomplished what readers are looking for. I’ll leave examples of my story to see if I have reached this goal.
When a beautiful woman claiming to be a ghost from 1912 appears in Nick Marshal’s new office and begs for help in solving her murder, he’s intrigued enough to consider her plea. A scandal that rocked Hollywood almost destroyed his law practice, so taking on a client who insists she’s dead seems a good way to refresh his career. The more history he uncovers, the deeper he falls for the ghost. Abigail Carlisle believes Nick is her heart’s true desire, but how can happily ever after happen when she’s already dead?
- One of the repeating answers I received from readers on www.wattpad.com and Facebook was about character development. Readers want to be able to feel everything the main characters are feeling and experiencing what they are going through. In other words…readers want to walk in your character’s shoes and become them.
Abigail rubbed her eyes—still swollen and chapped from crying. Stretching her arms above her head, she hoped to release the kinks in her body. Her headache would disappear soon enough, she was sure.
Blinking her eyes again, she tried to focus on the room, but in the darkness she couldn’t see much except the outline of the window located on her left side. Night had somehow crept upon her while she’d slept, and she had no clue to the time.
From the far corner of the room, the floorboard creaked. She jerked her head in that direction. The beat of her heart pounded out a different rhythm now. Eeriness crawled over her like a swarm of ants, and she rubbed the goose pimples rising on her arms.
“Who is there?” she asked in a strained voice.
Holding her breath, she waited for someone to answer, but the room remained silent. Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she wasn’t the only one in the room.
She trained her ears to listen closer, and after a few seconds, she detected someone else breathing heavily. Just like Abigail.
“Someone is there, I know it. Please tell me what you want.”
The floor creaked again as footsteps came closer. Abigail narrowed her eyes, but only saw the shadowy outline of a person raising their hand, pointing something at her. Before she could think of what to do, a flash of fire pierced the murky darkness. Hot, searing pain erupted into her forehead. Her head snapped back. The burn spread throughout her skull, ripping it apart. Darkness fogged her vision as she collapsed on the desk, her hand dangling at her side. She was cold, so numb. The last thing she recalled was the pungent odor of gunpowder stinging her nose as darkness completely claimed her.
- Some readers answered by saying that if a book makes them feel like they are in that time-period, the book is memorable.
The overpowering odors of ink and tobacco assailed Nick’s nostrils, stirring him to awareness. Mumbling voices and the rapid metallic clicking brought him alert, and he struggled to focus on the sounds. His head throbbed with such pressure he was sure his eyeballs would burst from their sockets. What had happened to him? The last thing he remembered was…
Suddenly, the memories assailed him. Abby. The necklace. The woman he loved was gone.
With a groan, Nick grabbed his head and rolled onto his side, curling into a fetal position. He wanted to scream to all who would listen, to ask them to help him find Abby. How could he live without her?
Voices outside the room grew louder as did the heavy footsteps. The ground shook from the person’s steps and sounded as if they stopped near his head.
Nick forced his eyes open, but his vision was unclear. After blinking several times, he could finally recognize his surroundings. His desk looked different. He blinked again. This was not the expensive furniture he’d purchased a few months previously. He glanced across the room to the window. This was not the window he’d been looking out the past several weeks, either.
He scrambled to a sitting position and realized he’d been lying by the door. He held his head to keep it from exploding, and his body ached from the effort. A vintage chair sat behind his desk, with three more in front. The light fixtures, curtains, and the throw rugs were also an outdated style.
Slowly, Nick stood, bracing his hand on the nearest wall until the room stopped spinning. The office door was closed, but through the frosted glass, he could see two people standing just on the other side. Carefully, he made his way across the room and approached the outside window. Parting the curtains he blinked as he looked out onto the street. Turn-of-the-century cars puttered along the road in front of the building. Men in brown suits, with stiff, white collars up to their chins with thick neck-ties, and wearing ridiculous hats on their heads, strolled down the walkway. Large, colorful feathers decorated the women’s hats, matching their long, fitted dresses. Each woman carried a parasol. They looked much like Abby had the day Nick met her.
- Another answer said that the reader liked the characters to have a good sense of humor.
Nodding, Nick pulled at his collar again. Was he panicked or just nervous? She wished she could ease his mind in some way. Being afraid of her wasn’t a good thing at this point. She must earn his trust.
He returned his gaze to her mouth. “I think it’s cute the way you suck on your bottom lip. It makes me want to nibble on it, too.”
Her heart leapt to her throat. What a bold—and improper—thing to say! So why did she like it so much? And why did her head fill with images of his lips on hers… “You are talking nonsense, Mr. Marshal.” Her voice quivered. She tapped her fingernail on the desk. The longer he stared at her lips, the faster her finger tapped. She nibbled on her lips again.
“I think I know a way for you to prove you’re not a figment of my imagination,” he said.
She stilled her hand and inhaled slowly. “Indeed? How?”
“By…um…well, you can suck on your lip to make it a raspberry color, so perhaps you could do the same to me?”
Blood rushed to her cheeks and she thought her face would ignite into flames—a feeling she hadn’t experienced since she’d died. Her heartbeat danced an unsteady rhythm, hammering like a runaway train. Yet, the idea wasn’t that far-fetched.
His eyes twinkled as if improper thoughts swam in his head, also. Indeed, he was a rogue of the first order.
“You…you want me to…suck on your lip?”
Nick pushed away from his desk and stood. She rose with him until they were face to face. He pulled the shirt collar away from his neck again, exposing more skin. Oh heavens!
“As much as the thought of kissing you sounds enjoyable,” he said, “I was thinking about something entirely different.” He pointed to his neck and chuckled. “Go for it, honey. Give me a hickey. This ought to be interesting.”
- But the overall answer I received was about the plot. Is it intriguing with twists and turns?
“Although I was twenty-five, I hadn’t wed. My uncle said I wasn’t mature enough and that I was a spendthrift. He said my father had spoiled me and because of that I wouldn’t know how to handle his estate. My uncle insisted he was the only person who could help me. He also stated that if I didn’t make him my guardian, he would contest the will and see that I didn’t get anything.”
Nick leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. “He wouldn’t have been able to do that. I know the law quite well.”
She shook her head. “Times were different back then, Mr. Marshal. If my uncle proved that I was not in the right frame of mind, he would have been able to take my inheritance from me.”
“All right, continue.”
“So I had screamed at him to leave. I promised he wouldn’t get a penny of my father’s wealth. Anyway, on the day of my death, my uncle returned and was more forceful. I could tell he’d been drinking, so I had one of my father’s employees escort my uncle out of the building and take him directly to the police. After they left, I cried until I fell asleep. None of my father’s employees tried to wake me. They left me alone to mourn and to be near my memories, I suppose. When I stirred to awareness, the room was dark. I had no idea what time of the night it was.”
She wrung her hands against her stomach. “Someone was in the room, but it was too dark to see. I asked who was there, but no one answered. I heard the clicking of a pistol. The last thing I remember was the pungent odor of the bullet’s powder as a fierce pain exploded in my head.” Her gloved fingers touched her temple. “After that, I remember standing beside my grave while people cried and threw flowers on my casket. Mr. Marshall, the only way I can pass over and go to heaven is if you help me find my killer.”
I’m really hoping that my story, Waiting For You, is the kind of story that’s memorable. But I can’t tell you this. Read my story, and you be the judge…
Now I want you to tell me…what makes a memorable story for you? Comment with your name and email addy and you’ll be entered to win a PDF copy of my story!
Check out the book trailer – http://youtu.be/wePZT2ywRVc
Buy link for Waiting For You – http://amzn.com/B00EQQMACU
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Higgins is a best-selling, multi-published author of sweet romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who make your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com
Find her on Facebook – facebook.com/marie.higgins.7543
And Twitter – @MarieHigginsXOX