I feel so fortunate to welcome another amazing Crimson Romance author to Romance and Beyond. Pam B. Morris feels like a kindred spirit to me. I’ve only just started her novel, Smitten Image, but I already love the whimsical touches and the rich, sensory descriptions. Pam had me rooting for the heroine in the first scene, sweet, artistic underdog that she is, err, Lily not Pam. And there’s a promise of magic! I’m hooked. I’d love to say more, but I had to drag myself away to post this article and Smitten Image is waiting, so now I give you Pam B. Morris:
Smitten Image, my first romance, futuristic and paranormal, was a breach birth. I never planned to write romances, instead kept my focus on young adult fiction. Until I joined two friends on a road trip to the Emerald City Writers Conference and learned how to plot, using colored sticky notes, from best-selling author, Cherry Adair. Did she know me? Not from Eve! But she changed my life that morning. During the eight hour drive back to Montana, we three hyped and totally psyched writer pals, helped each other “plot” our romances.
I started with a character, Lily Barnett, a drifty artist who’d rather live in her imagination than face reality; and an idea of painted men coming to life off of canvases. Stick figures written on sticky notes with each color representing plot, setting, character, conflict and setting, I plastered strategically across a storyboard. That became my first non-pantser working outline, ever! Creating detailed character sketches of Lily and Daniel Harris, her love interest, I began writing. Needless to say, the pantser in me deviated from my storyboard about ten pages in and never looked back.
Knowing in a romance that the best scenes are with the two lead characters together and in trouble, I mined my brain for dozens of quirky possibilities where I could throw them at each other. Lily, brilliant but a walking disaster, is a conglomerate character with some traits drawn from my own artistic temperament. And fortunately, I’m androgynous enough to create a male psyche and flesh out he-motives, weaknesses and strengths. I wanted Daniel to be an atypical hero, so made him an “empath” with psychic sensitivities easily accessible. His weakness is his psychic powers, which also become his strength.
Realizing early on I needed a lot of conflict, the ‘magical’ element I began with morphed from a subplot to front and center, taking on a life of its own. Thank the muses, because the storyline followed fairly smoothly from there, with enough ups and downs to exploit, play with, expand or rewrite completely.
Like my two pregnancies, I loved every minute of writing Smitten Image. I took the creation and craft seriously and when it came to the last trimester, i.e. the editing stage, I forced myself to seriously assess what I wanted in a finished product. I spent nightmarish sessions delving into the darker aspects of my own personal issues and somehow found honesty enough to put on paper what I felt uncomfortable bringing to the light of day. But it paid off. The birth of Smitten Image, though not as wondrous and all-fulfilling as the birth of my children (neither of which were breach) satisfied an almost equally joyous need in me.
Because finally, Smitten Image broke through the portcullis of the publishing castle and entered the long dreamed of kingdom. Long live Crimson Romance! Long live Queen Lily and King Daniel!
Hurry to buy Smitten Image here: Crimson Romance
Pam B. Morris spins stories out of imagination and whimsy where she writes and paints in western Montana with her husband Brett and their two quite grown up children, surrounded by friends, family and mountainous wilderness.