Friday, March 21, 2008

Behind the Scenes 1: Sweet Caroline

Ah, as promised. A behind the scenes look at Sweet Caroline! So, I'm a few weeks, maybe months late, but better late than never.

The beginning

Sweet Caroline started out years ago as straight up chick lit called "Cooking with Kate." I thought it would be humorous to have a woman hosting a cooking show, but be a disaster in the kitchen!

Her show would be sponsored by a cookware company - think Tim "Tool Man" Taylor and Benford tools - and find herself in some sort of "cook off" with a top male chef. Of course, he'd be the love interest and hero.

Flash forward a couple of years - The story idea had been set aside, but I needed to come up with my next book for Nelson.

I pulled up the "Kate" idea, but like the title "Sweet Caroline." This could be my non-cooking cook story.

In August of '06, Tony and I visited friends in Poughkeepsie and one of the couples went to Beaufort, SC on a fun whim and showed a video they'd made. I loved the setting and decided Beaufort would be home for my Caroline.

The synopsis I submitted to my editor, the lovely and most-intuitive Ami McConnell had Caroline co-owning a Cafe and in order to save it, she agreed to host a cooking show to raise the money.

I took a road trip to Beaufort, checked out the area, met the fabulous citizens and came home to write.

About two months into it, I realized being a cooking show host just didn't work. One, hosting the show was a story unto itself. It was too much to roll in the Cafe and have any story depth. One thing about me, I always add too much or go over the top. Like, the hero wasn't just a football player, he was Rookie of the Year, All Pro, Best Ever!

Also, hosting a cooking show in small town Beaufort didn't feel very realistic to me, though now I think I could've done it, but cooking shows have a staff, a stage, and it would be hard to set the production and crew in Beaufort.

Caroline's family was also a factor. After sinking her inheritance in the Cafe, they were upset with her. And, I couldn't figure out her love interest. Though, I think it was still going to be Mitch, a country singer.

As I wrote, her family didn't feel authentic to me, nor the way I had set up the Cafe, so I tried to rethink the angle.

That's when I had the dream...


Sharon Hayes said...

I loved reading the history of this book, I knew a little but not all this, can't wait for the next installment.

Love Mom

Katie said...

Thanks for letting us in on the background Rachel. I love your books and always enjoy reading your comments over on ACFW. I'm amassing a pile of "Rachel books" (Amazon loves me!) and am looking forward to diving in on them in the next couple of weeks.

Lynette Sowell said...

Neat. It's fun to hear how a story morphs. :)

Rel said...

Love your hooks - even in a blog post - LOL!!