When I wrote my first book, my cousin posted this random thing on Facebook about radiative transfer. It stuck in my head apparently, because one of my characters brought it up later. Very random thing totally unrelated to the book.
Out of that grew “the challenge.” Before I start a new book, I let my cousin know, and he sends me something that MUST go into the new book. Previous challenges from him: someone making kombucha, the word “graupel,” a kid rocking out on a cardboard guitar, a Fata Morgana (look it up… it’s cool).
When I started Smokescreen—in which my hero and heroine are literally on the run in winter in upstate New York—he said, “A guy who mows his grass with a manual push mower.”
So… I had them stop at a safe house run by a former operative who tells Ashley some of his backstory. Those scenes made the book so much richer. The guy, Tate, thinks best when he mows the grass, so at one point, he’s out in the back yard mowing the melted snow while he tries to help Ashley and Ethan figure out who’s trying to kill them.
It worked. It made Tate interesting. So he showed up again in Compromised Identity. Readers started asking for his story, because he really was kind of intriguing. Mysterious, wounded… I liked him. A lot.
Breach of Trust is Tate’s story. I dedicated the book to my cousin because, without that crazy lawnmower, there would be no Tate who, incidentally, may be one of my favorite characters ever.
In case you’re wondering, the challenge for Compromised Identity was the hardest yet. A firefighter, dressed in a penguin costume, who’s broken down on the side of the road after teaching children about fire safety. Yep. There was a backstory to this challenge. And I was supposed to work this into a suspense about terrorists and murder? Talk about a tough one! It worked though. And, like all of our “challenges,” it forced me to make one character more multi-dimensional and to add some layers. I think you’ll like the way it all works together.
Jodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her romantic suspense, Crossfire, won a 2015 RT Reviewers Choice Award and her contemporary romance, Quilted by Christmas, won a 2014 Selah. She is convinced a trip to the beach, a cup of coffee, and a book can cure all. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband and daughter. Visit her at jodiebailey.com and learn more about Breach of Trust at http://jodiebailey.com/book/breach-of-trust/.